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Inspiring Words from Industry Leaders: Interview with Dr Alicia Wise

Dr Alicia Wise, subject of this interviewInclusive Publishing has embarked on a series of interviews with industry leaders and their approach to accessibility. Dr Alicia Wise has been active in championing accessibility and inclusive publishing for nearly 20 years in roles crossing academia and publishing.  These include Jisc, Publishers Licensing Society, Publishers Association, Accessible Books Consortium, and most recently Elsevier.

There are many organisations who are available to help publishers on their accessibility journeys.  …..it is better for all if our industry works to shared standards for inclusive publishing.

Why is inclusive publishing important to you and to publishing organisations? 

I’m motivated by my incredible brother who has dyslexia, and really struggles to read printed text.  Despite this he is a successful artist and businessman, and as he loves story-telling he’s currently working on an illustrated children’s book.  For publishing organisations, inclusive publishing is important because it expands your potential market and offers the potential to delight and engage a wider audience.

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

Perfection is the enemy of the good.  Don’t feel you need to make all your books perfectly accessible in one step.  Get started on the journey, and keep this end goal in sight.

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

I wish I had understood how very difficult it can be to engage supply chain partners, and particularly book retailers, in adopting accessible web practices.  If more were to do so, accessible books would be more easily discoverable by people who would like to buy them.

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

More publishers using the EPUB format for their digital publishing, and more publishers including information about the accessibility features of their products in their marketing materials.

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

Do you sell any books to organisations – businesses, libraries, schools, universities? If so, you’ll increasingly find requirements for book accessibility in tender documents so it is smart business to get on the front foot by embracing inclusive publishing.  Do you sell books to millennials? Well, you are in luck: many of the features and functions that will make your books more accessible will make your books more usable by these customers.

How have good inclusive publishing practices influenced the majority of readers?

By making digital texts more usable for all.

Why should companies consider publishing a policy on inclusive publishing?

This is a gentle way to get started and can be a really terrific way to engage employees: discuss and plan steps you’ll take as an organisation to be more diverse and inclusive in your publishing practices.

Do you have any final thoughts on accessibility or inclusive publishing practices you would like to share?

There are many organisations who are available to help publishers on their accessibility journeys.  Inclusive Publishing is linked with all of these, and is a terrific source of insight on best practice.  Please don’t feel you need to reinvent the wheel – in fact it is better for all if our industry works to shared standards for inclusive publishing.

November 2017: W3C Publishing Summit

November 9th to 10th, 2017

The web is the universal publishing platform. Register for the inaugural W3C Publishing Summit and learn how web technologies are shaping publishing today, tomorrow, and beyond.

This summit will show how web technologies are making publishing more accessible, more global, and more efficient and effective. You’ll learn about things you should be doing now to improve your products and processes; developments coming soon that you need to be aware of; and what is coming next in web publications, EPUB, mobile, and the overall Web Platform that can support your workflows on everything from today’s browsers, tablets and smartphones to tomorrow’s environments.

There will be a specific focus on accessibility within the session “Accessibility in Publishing and W3C” presented by Romain Deltour, George Kerscher and Avneesh Singh from the DAISY Consortium and Judy Brewer from W3C.

The W3C Publishing Summit will be co-located with W3C’s main annual meeting, TPAC, so attendees will have the opportunity to network with Web developers and technical experts, including access to a solutions showcase demo area.

Date: November 9-10, 2017

Venue: Hyatt Regency, San Fransisco Airport

Learn more: visit the W3C Publishing Summit site for further information and registration details

The Future of Accessible Publishing: EPUB 3

The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) has launched its re-branded “ABC Global Book Service” (formerly TIGAR Service) that enables libraries for the blind in different countries to exchange books in accessible formats. At the same time, ABC also encourages the production of “born accessible” books.

Accessible EPUB 3 is the “gold standard” in the publishing industry for the production of accessible digital books as publishers can:

  • use the accessibility features of the EPUB 3 standard for the production of digital publications;
  • include descriptions of the accessibility features of their products in the information they provide to retailers and others in the book supply chain.

If its accessibility features are used correctly, EPUB 3 allows for the creation of an electronic file that can be used to produce accessible digital books in various formats, for example:

  • an audio book with a synthesized voice (text-to-speech);
  • embossed braille; or
  • electronic braille (braille read on a computer or a portable device).

More information is available on the ABC website.