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Inclusive Publishing Seasonal Survey 2018

Silhouette of a tree with colored clipart icons on the branches. The icons denote different types of survey and assesment images which are purely decorativeAs we rapidly approach the end of 2018, it’s the perfect time for us all to reflect on the progress we have made as a global industry in our work towards publications that can be enjoyed by all readers. Our short survey should only take a few minutes to complete and will allow us to share a snapshot of the community in the new year, as well as make progress towards identifying gaps in the current solutions, be they informational, technical, training provision or reference.

The survey can be accessed here —it is intended for publishing organizations. If you are not actively publishing content in digital formats we thank you for visiting, but ask that you do not complete this survey – we look forward to hearing your views another time and always welcome comments and suggestions though our Contact Form.

We very much value your contribution, and respect your privacy. No identifiable information you submit about yourself or your organization will ever be published or shared in any way.

Thank you once again for your participation. We look forward to sharing a general summary of responses on the Inclusive Publishing website in the new year.

OZeWAI 2018 Conference Highlights

ozewai logoThe OZeWAI 2018 conference, hosted by the ABC in Sydney, has now ended and a great time was had by all. The three-day event is held every year as Australia’s dedicated national conference for digital access specialists and is renowned for its great community atmosphere and presentations with this year being no exception. Here’s some of my personal highlights from the three days.

The keynote was delivered remotely by Nic Steen out from Knowbility titled No Rights, No Responsibility. The speaker made the point that it is important to ensure that people with disability are included in the digital access processes and that training is critical in making sure that effective digital access is achieved.  

Another great presentation was Here comes WCAG 2.1! by Amanda Mace from Web Key IT and Julie Grundy from Intopia. There was some great discussion across the new WCAG 2.1 Success Criteria, explaining the importance of things like reflow and ensuring that content on mobile devices needs to work effectively for people that may not be able to move their device to activate various sensors. With this year marking the WCAG 2.1 release it was a great introduction as to how the new extensions build on the legacy WCAG 2.0 requirements.   

Scott Hillier on the podiumJust before the lunch break on the first day it was my turn to present, discussing the W3C work on inaccessible CAPTCHA. In the presentation I talked about how traditional CAPTCHAs such as the use of text on bitmapped images and audio-based CAPTCHAs are not only inaccessible but also not secure. I also provided an update on the advice our group has been putting together as part of the CAPTCHA advisory note. It was great to have a chance to share the information.

 

Another session that I really enjoyed was Andrew Downie’s presentation titled The Graphics Divide – When the alt Attribute does not Suffice. I’m frequently asked in workshops as to what is best practice when using alternative text, and Andrew illustrated the point well using popular landmarks and providing relevant text descriptions. The key takeaway from his talk is that it’s relatively easy to use alternative text for WCAG compliance, but that doesn’t mean it’s accessible.

Greg Alchin on the podiumA presenter I always enjoy is Greg Alchin, and he did a great job in discussing the importance of ePub. In a PDF-obsessed world, Greg made the point well that there are a lot of tools and readers available to make the most of the ePub format which is essentially web pages compiled into a document format. While there’s still no WYSIWYG editor that works well for the ePub format and this was a point acknowledged as a current restriction, it’s encouraging to hear that there are plans for it to be included in the Office suite in the future which will go a long way to addressing this issue. Greg’s presentation is available on YouTube.

On the second day I featured in a second presentation hosted by Sean Murphy from Cisco Systems whereby we discussed the accessibility implications of Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. When Sean invited me to join him, he said it’d be great to structure it like a fireside chat, so we had an agreement whereby he would bring the questions, and I would bring the fire. As such, I had my laptop next to me playing a YouTube video of ‘HD fireplace with crackle’ while we discussed the implications. Sean made several great points about how the quality of data will heavily determine the effectiveness of our AI perceptions and how issues such as security still have a long way to go. I also talked about my Curtin research as it related to the IoT needs of students in tertiary education.

The last presentation that really had an impact on me was Making Chatbots Accessible by Ross Mullen. Until this presentation I had always assumed that chat boxes were largely a no-go zone for accessibility, but Ross explained that if an effort is made then both conversational support and accessibility can be achieved.

In addition to the presentations it was also great to catch up with lots of familiar faces at the breaks and conference dinners. I also really enjoyed making new friends and meeting many of the Alumni from the Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility course.

Special thanks to the OZeWAI committee for putting on such a great conference. If you were unable to get to OZeWAI, you and watch all the session recordings which are now available on YouTube.

This post has been cross-posted with the permission of the author, Dr Scott Hollier, Digital Access Specialist, Author and Lecturer. The original posting of this article is available via Scott’s consultancy website.

Images have been reproduced from the OZeWAI twitter account.

The Big 5 US Higher Ed Publishers are Going All-In on Accessibility

AHG conference logo with conference details listed underneath the image of a mountain

I had the pleasure of organizing a session at the 21st Accessing Higher Ground conference in Denver in mid-November—a conference that is attended by a lot of folks from Disability Services Offices (DSOs) from across the US—to help those folks realize how much the big higher education publishers are doing to make their resources accessible, with a focus on accessible EPUBs.

“Born Accessible” is getting closer to the new normal!

The publishers on my panel were from Cengage, Macmillan Learning, McGraw-Hill Education, Pearson and Wiley, and they all had compelling stories to tell. While I don’t have space here to get into everything they had to say (the consolidated presentation is available here), the message was clear: they are not just working hard on accessibility, they’re getting it done. All of them are producing new resources as accessible EPUBs that align with the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 specification.

That means alt text—good alt text, done with an understanding of the nuances required to get it right—and in many cases extended descriptions of complex graphics as well. All of them are ensuring proper structuring and navigation. For resources that include media, most are providing closed captioning and transcripts. And those with math are providing MathML. They’re even working hard to get their tables right!

Cengage Learning logoBut it’s more than just the products themselves. The corporate cultures need to be accessibility aware. Cengage, for example, is putting a major focus on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), including a significant staffing commitment: a Director of Universal Design and Accessible Technologies is already on board, and an Accessibility/UDL Specialist and an Accessibility/UDL Coordinator are soon to be named.

Macmillan learning logo

Macmillan Learning’s presentation was all about the people and the processes, with a realization that just providing specs and expecting vendors to get it right is not sufficient. They have established a wealth of initiatives to foster knowledge of accessibility throughout their organization, with training and workshops that include vendors, creating a judgment free space to encourage motivation, participating in industry events and organizations, building a testing center in-house, and establishing an Advisory Board and Student Focus Groups to involve their constituents.

McGraw Hill Education logo

McGraw-Hill provided an in-depth look at the specifics, detailing both alternative text and extended descriptions not just for alignment but as captions and transcripts for audio and video content, enforcing contrast specs in their designs, use of MathML, using language tags at the page and phrase levels, and even tackling proper structuring of tables.

Pearson logoPearson stressed their end-to-end commitment to accessibility for both their content and platforms, all based on WCAG 2.0 AA conformance and alignment with EPUB Accessibility 1.0. They are putting a special priority on making these accessible resources easy for students to obtain and use, through initiatives like their partnership with VitalSource to establish the Pearson Accessibility Store, all resources of which are guaranteed to be accessible, and partnerships with Kurzweil and T-Base to integrate well with those key technologies.

Wiley logoWiley is doing all these good things too. (They came last due to alphabetical order.) They are addressing accessibility not just for going-forward content, but for legacy content as well, and expanding into other business areas outside of higher ed. Because of the diversity and technical nature of much of their content, they are working on discipline-specific alt text guidelines. And like several of the other speakers, they mentioned that they are working with Benetech on their Global Certified Accessible program, expecting to be certified this summer.

The message was clear: these folks are working hard on accessibility, and many of their products and platforms are much more accessible than students and DSOs realize. They’re doing this by aligning with standards and taking advantage of the right resources, like Ace by DAISY and the Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base. “Born Accessible” is getting closer to the new normal!

This event report was kindly submitted by Bill Kasdorf, Principal, Kasdorf & Associates

CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, 2019

March 11th to 15th, 2019

The CSUN Assistive Technology Conference will be held in March this year and it promises to be as exceptional as ever. More than 5,000 people gathered last year to explore new technologies designed to assist people with disabilities.​ Registration will commence on January 8, 2019 and we will update this page with details on relevant sessions at the conference as they become available.

Date

March 11-15, 2019

Venue

Anaheim, California

Learn More

For further information and registration details visit the CSUN Conference website

ebookcraft 2019

March 18th to 19th, 2019

ebookcraft is a two-day conference dedicated to ebook production—if you’re looking for a mix of practical tips and forward-thinking inspiration, you won’t want to miss it.The main conference day for ebookcraft 2019 will be held on Tuesday, March 19 with workshops on Monday, March 18. for the #eprdctn crowd for whom this conference is designed.

Early bird pricing is available until January 25, 2019 and newsletter updates are also available. Check back here for program highlights for the inclusive publishing community, as they are released by the organizers.

Date

March 18-19, 2019

Venue

Toronto, Canada

Learn More

To access registration and conference details visit the ebookcraft website.

EPUBCheck Development Update

EPUBCheck plays a significant role within the ebook production process, checking EPUB files against the specification to ensure they validate. As the EPUB specification has evolved over time it is important that the tools we use to create and validate EPUB files are kept up to date. Many retailers require EPUB files to have been validated by EPUBCheck. However, in its current state, EPUBCheck cannot properly validate many EPUBs that meet the most up to date standards.

To address this the Publishing Business Group at W3C put out a request for proposals to update EPUBCheck, and following a competitive selection process the DAISY Consortium has been selected to perform the update to:

  • Bring EPUBCheck in sync with the dynamically evolving core web specs of HTML, CSS, and SVG and also with the current version of EPUB 3
  • Fully support the EPUB Accessibility Guidelines, making sure that your products are usable for everyone
  • Add new features, such as HTML validation (in coordination with the W3C validation services) and a better check of media overlays
  • Offer better service to the publishing industry with a faster response to bug reports and feature request.

This work is being funded through donations from organizations which use the EPUBCheck tool, and while there are different sponsorship levels, any amount of donation is welcome to help support this effort to update and overhaul EPUBCheck. Full details are available at the Publishing@W3C fundraising page.

We look forward to bringing you updates as this exciting work evolves.

Workshop Report: The Production of Natively Accessible Books

logo for the french publishers associationThis post was kindly submitted by Luc Audrain, Head of Digitalization at Hachette Livre and co-chair of the W3C Publishing Business Group.

Inside the Syndicat National de l’Édition (SNE), the French publishers’ association, a technical group “Norms & Standards*” has been formed to work on standardization for the digital world, bringing together publishers, booksellers, the BnF and the Electre and Dilicom companies, to reflect on the implementation of standards which are shared by all.

The group organizes practical workshops aimed at informing SNE members about standardization and monitoring technical developments. In France, EPUB accessibility is taken very seriously by the publishing industry and for the second year running the annual workshop of the N&S group has focused on this subject.

Lead by Luc Audrain, the N&S group held it’s workshop on Thursday 5th of July to provide SNE members further in-depth knowledge of EPUB accessibility.

This year, the group showed that with existing production and validation tools, it is indeed possible to achieve a high level of mainstream accessibility in simple books like novels.

The audience had the opportunity to discover :

  • on which international standards EPUB accessibility is based and which major organizations are involved, like the DAISY Consortium
  • how to practically encode accessibility in EPUB content, following the EPUB Accessibility Techniques 1.0 document
  • How to use Ace by DAISY to avoid evident errors through a live demo
  • How Indesign EPUB3 export can be used and how much work afterwards is necessary to bring the file to pass Ace
  • what training and financial support might be available

Demo of Ace by DAISY showing a perfect score for a file exported from InDesign

This slide shows the perfect technical validity from Ace (Accessibility Checker for EPUB) for this EPUB3 file exported from InDesign. All the steps described in the presentation are also available on the SNE website (in French) at the Norms & Standards page together with group documentation from the day’s event.

 

As a reminder, the N&S workshop from last year was covered by DAISY in their newsletter:

http://www.daisy.org/planet-2017-06#a1

*Members come from publishing houses and also from the national library (BNF), the Ministry of Culture, booksellers, books in print database, and include a blind EDRLab employee Fernando Pinto da Silva.

Help Improve Reading Experiences for Everyone

Can you Help Change the World?

The accessibility of digital reading experiences has improved dramatically over recent years, but it is still incredibly difficult to identify a reading experience (app or hardware) which you know will work with the latest EPUB 3 publications, and with specific combinations of assistive technology to provide a fully accessible reading experience.

On EPUBtest, an initiative created by DAISY, IDPF and BISG, we are taking the guess work out of selecting a reading experience by applying a clear and consistent testing procedure to different reading solutions. This directly results in valuable feedback for developers, so they can identify where they might need to focus their efforts, as well as clear information for consumers and procurement specialists which allows informed purchasing decisions.

There are lots of different solutions and assistive technology combinations we would like to test, so we’re looking for your help.

If you are able to help with testing we have lots more information for you at the link below. We would also love your help in spreading the word, and inviting more people to learn more about the testing process.

Together we really can change the world!

Find out more at:

https://inclusivepublishing.org/tre

The DAISY Consortium Releases Ace, the Free EPUB Accessibility Checking Tool

Ace LogoThe DAISY Consortium is delighted to announce the launch of Ace by DAISY, the ground-breaking free and open source accessibility checking tool for ebooks created in the widely adopted EPUB format.

Ace by DAISY equips the publishing industry with a tool which can test their ebooks against internationally recognized standards for accessibility. Designed to assist content providers at any stage in their workflow, Ace by DAISY will make it easier to produce higher quaity, more accessible EPUB content files.

“Ace by DAISY is a significant step forwards, developed in partnership with the industry. It will help publishers achieve the shared goal of publication which can be enjoyed by everyone, irrespective of disability.” Richard Orme, CEO, The DAISY Consortium

This is the perfect time to encourage your technology teams to engage with this important new tool by integrating Ace within your workflows so that you can build accessibility requirements and testing into your product development at various stages.

Read the full Ace press release from The DAISY Consortium and visit the Ace by DAISY page for further information on getting started.

Inspiring Words from Industry Leaders: Interview with Luc Audrain, Hachette Livre

Inclusive Publishing has embarked on a series of interviews with industry leaders and their approach to accessibility. Luc Audrain, Head of Digitilization at Hachette Livre, has been a driving force within the publishing industry, both in France and internationally, on the subject of accessibility. Headshot of Luc Audrain, Head of Digitalization at Hachette Livre and subject of this interview

Nothing has been more valuable for me during these last two years than being in touch with visually impaired people and understanding their skills in managing mails, sms, ebooks, etc.

Why is inclusive publishing important to you and/or your organization?

Market Expansion: visually impaired people are suffering from a “book famine”. They are eager to be included in the mainstream reading experience and when a natively accessible ebook catalogue becomes available, I’m sure they are more than ready to lend or buy these titles

Regulations: at a national and European level, rules are being set to enforce the accessibility of products and services. We are taking these rules seriously and are preparing ourselves in advance.

Good Practices: structuring information is a must to implement accessibility within ebooks. We know, by experience, that the foundation of good practice in an editorial workflow is necessary for any kind of reuse of high quality content.

Do you have a top tip for others new to accessibility?

Structure your content!

What do you wish you knew about accessibility 5 or 10 years ago?

I wish I had had the opportunity to understand how blind people read and write digital text in their day-to-day life!

Nothing has been more valuable for me during these last two years than being in touch with visually impaired people and understanding their skills in managing mails, sms, ebooks, etc.

What do you think will be the biggest game changer for inclusive publishing in the next few years?

Technology and standards are mature: Web accessibility is well described and EPUB3 production is increasing. From the French publishers side, the subject has been grasped and a significant move has already been made to publish simple monochrome titles as natively accessible ebooks.

Be prepared to see accessible categories in ebook stores in 2018.

For those still on the fence, why should they consider accessibility?

Using the EPUB3 format and accessibility guidelines available from the IDPF and the DAISY Consortium, it is quite possible for simple books to achieve a good level of accessibility. Establishing good content structuring practices within editorial workflows helps to implement accessibility in EPUB3 files, and, in that case only, it is inexpensive.

Can you sum up your attitude towards inclusive publishing in one sentence?

Inclusive publishing sums up all the digital support I have brought to publishing teams throughout the years of my career.