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Word Document Accessibility 101 (W)

Word Document Accessibility 101 opening slideIn our series of free weekly webinars March 10th, 2021, saw a practical workshop-style session focused on the accessibility of word documents. In our webinar series we’ve looked closely at how to convert accessible word documents to the EPUB file format but not in-depth at the word documents themselves. This session does just this.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Erin Williams, Microsoft
  • Kirsi Ylanne, CELIA
  • Prashant Verma, The DAISY Consortium

Session Overview

Why Accessibility?

Erin Williams, Program Manager at Microsoft, explained why it is so important for our “connected” society to be as inclusive as possible so that technology can ensure that everyone is able to connect. We must design for accessibility for everyone.

Once you start thinking inclusively, it becomes second nature

Microsoft Accessibility and Word

Microsoft’s mission is to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”. This integrated approach is applied throughout the organization – the culture, the systems, products and plans for the future – as they seek how to better serve their customers, MS Word has built-in accessibility features to support and encourage accessibility. The techniques described in this webinar apply to Windows, MacOS and Online versions of Word.

Demo of Accessibility Barriers and Solutions

Kirsi Ylanne and Prashant Verma described 3 significant barriers to accessibility that are encountered and gave detailed examples of just how challenging these can be to document access:

  1. Text content as an Image: If text is displayed as an image it cannot be read aloud or via a braille display
  2. No Heading Structure: Without any built-in structure a document becomes un-navigable
  3. Missing Image Descriptions: Without alt text or image descriptions a screen reader cannot describe images, tables and other graphic content.

Word Document Structure

Kirsi talked us through 3 areas that are crucial for word document accessibility:

  1. Applying Heading Styles: via the navigation pane. Do not rely on the visual layout of your document to denote headings as a screen reader will be looking under the hood of the document in order to inform the reader.
  2. Lists: Make sure you use the proper bullet point or numbered list features
  3. Avoid using the textbox feature and place a border around a paragraph if you need to

Graphics, Tables and Content Considerations

Graphics

To further improve the accessibility of a word document Kirsi showed us how to:

  • Make sure that images are placed inline so that screen readers can access the alt text
  • Add alternative descriptions, thinking about the purpose of the image. Don’t repeat text, rather focus on the information that the image is conveying in a given context. Watch the demo here for how to insert your alt text within the word document.
  • Decorative Images. You can mark an image as decorative if it doesn’t contain any relevant information.

Tables

Prashant showed us how to make sure tables are accessible, reminding us to:

  • Keep tables as simple as possible so that screen readers can decipher them
  • Use tables for tabular data, not lists
  • Mark row headings correctly so that they can be identified by screen readers  – Prashant shows us how to do this

Other Content Considerations

Prashant referred to the following issues also which must be considered in terms of document accessibility:

  • Headers and footers. Assistive technology sometimes has difficulty detecting content here so it’s good practice not to include important information or make sure it is repeated in the main body of the content. This material can also be lost when the file is converted into another file type.
  • The document language should be identified so that screen readers can voice words appropriately.
  • Footnotes and endnotes should be included using the MSWord features provided. Manual insertion of these results in an inaccessible document.
  • Display text for links should clearly state what it is that is being linked to so that assistive technology can read out a meaningful link to the reader, rather than a URL or a generic term that isn’t clearly describing the link.

Testing for Accessibility

Kirsi gave a demo of how to run the accessibility checker that is available within MSWord (under the Review tab). The results of the checker highlight errors and warnings that should be worked through.  One very common error is missing alt text and by highlighting these errors the focus of the document will guide the user to its location.

Conclusions

  • Making your document accessible also benefits other documents you generate from it
  • Accessibility techniques help you to be more efficient
  • Usability is better for all your readers (and is very often a legal requirement)

It is well worth spending the time watching the video recording of this webinar which includes practical how-to demos of everything mentioned here.

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

Webinar: Exploring the Accessible Mobile Reading Revolution

March 24th, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us work, learn, and engage in leisure activities. People have chosen, and in some cases have been forced to use the only technology available to them, reading on mobile devices. But for readers with print disabilities, are these mobile devices suitable replacements for an accessible desktop experience?

This webinar will:

  • examine the features and limitations of accessible reading on popular mobile apps
  • discuss technology developments that are impacting on accessible mobile learning
  • explore what this means for the future of accessible reading

Date

March 24th, 2021

Venue

Online via Zoom

Learn More

For speaker details and to register for free please visit our event registration page.

Implementing Extended Descriptions in Digital Publications, Best Practices and Practical Advice (W)

Implementing Extended Descriptions webinar title slideIn our series of free weekly webinars February 24th saw a session focused on extended descriptions which followed on nicely from our series on The Art and Science of Image Description. Our speakers were able to give practical advice on what works for them and what is coming up – lots to think about and takeaway!

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • George Kerscher, The DAISY Consortium
  • Charles La Pierre, Benetech
  • Evan Yamanishi, W.W. Norton and Co

Session Overview

When Alt Text is Not Enough

There are many occasions when the alt text option doesn’t provide enough scope and the addition of an extended description is a necessary inclusion in order to properly convey the meaning of an image or complex graphic. George Kerscher explained to us how extended descriptions can add value to this type of content and add clarity and meaning in a given context.

3 Techniques for Delivery

Comprehensive Description Following the Image

This type of delivery would appear immediately after the image, inline. As it cannot be skipped, these descriptions can interrupt the flow of the page for the reader.

Summary and Expandable Details

This type of description remains hidden until expanded by the reader, revealing the details. It is easy to move past without reading if not required. Unfortunately, some reading apps do not support the “details” element.

Linked Description

This type of description can be accessed by following a link to the end of the book where the image is reproduced and the full extended description can be accessed. Ideally the link will take you back to where you came from originally (a feature that has just been refined) although some assistive technology doesn’t quite get you to the right spot!

George shared with us his own personal preferences. Generally he likes the Summary and Details approach but the linked approach is growing on him! Traditionally his screen reader would take him back to the start rather than where the link was but these “deep linking” issues are improving and he is becoming a fan.

Demos in HTML and EPUB

Charles La Pierre gave a comprehensive demonstration of the various techniques for handling extended descriptions using the browser, Vital Source’s Bookshelf, Apple Books and Thorium. Quite a difference and well worth watching these in the attached video!

Publisher Perspective

Evan Yamanishi spoke to us about how to optimize the use of extended descriptions to enhance the reader’s experience through personalization and progressive enhancement. It is important to give the reader an option to choose how content is displayed to best suit them and the same technique could be used for extended descriptions. At W.W. Norton they prepare and ship content with standard mark up and javascript so that items may be enhanced if the reading system allows. This satisfies most systems but he did note that the underlying semantics of how the markup is prepared has to be standardized. This is vital.

Why Extended Descriptions are Required

George reminded us of conformance requirements in:

  • WCAG
  • EPUB Accessibility Specification 1.1 where it will be a requirement
  • European Accessibility Act which comes into play in 2025

Publishers are indeed using extended descriptions as part of their econtent materials and it has been wonderful to see this happening.

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

The Art and Science of Describing Images Part Three (W)

Art of Science of Describing Images part 3 title slide
In our series of free webinars February 10th saw the 3rd session focusing on image description: in the series entitled, The Art and Science of Describing Images. This webinar focused on 3 specific types of complex images with speakers Huw Alexander and Valerie Morrison showing us all how they approach these seemingly daunting areas.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Valerie Morrison—Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation at Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Huw Alexander—textBOX Digital

Session Overview

Huw Alexander opened this session by giving us a brief resume of what the webinar will cover. Continuing on from Part Two of this series this session will focus on 3 specific types of complex image: Artwork, Anatomy and Assessment.

Artwork

As with all images, Valerie advocates beginning with an overview of the artwork piece, the title together with a brief resume of the main components. For a more complex description it is imperative to consider the context for which you need the description. This may include:

  • The painting style
  • The color and composition
  • The style of the figures
  • Allegorical messaging
  • Influences
  • Historical notes

To include all of these notes within your alt text image description would be far too much and if there is a need for lengthy content here then it is better to write an extended description.

Huw explained “Sector Description” – by breaking down a painting into sections you can take the reader on a journey. This can be done in a number of ways: linear, clock face style, compass etc. Using this approach helps to create an immersive experience for the reader.

Valerie and Huw used some excellent examples to demonstrate how effective these techniques can be when describing complex images.

Anatomy

Making sure that you convey the relevant and precise elements of an anatomical image is likely to be an exacting process. Valerie made the point that you have to think very carefully about what to include in your description, because simply labelling all the parts often isn’t good enough. It doesn’t take into consideration the context in which the image is being used and it is far more useful to consider the following:

  • The name of the structure itself
  • The shape
  • The location
  • Proximity

Huw’s sectoring approach works very well with anatomical images, deciding what needs to be retained and considering the visual impact of the image itself.

Assessment

Images that are used in assessments, quizzes and tests can be extremely hard to recreate in description form and Valerie suggested that assessors consider an egalitarian approach here. By thinking of alternative ways to test knowledge you may be far more successful in creating a useful testing scenario. The example used was a geography question on the silhouettes of countries and the following might work equally well:

  • Questions about the size and shapes of countries
  • An essay question
  • Tactile graphics

All of these would test knowledge in various ways and offer an alternative to the silhouette question!

 

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

The Art and Science of Describing Images Part Two (W)

Art and Science of Describing Images Part Two opening slideIn our series of free weekly webinars December 2nd saw a session focused on image description: part two in the series entitled, The Art and Science of Describing Images. This webinar focused on more complex images than Part One, with speakers Huw Alexander and Valerie Morrison digging deeper into how we approach alt text and long description.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Valerie Morrison—Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation at Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Huw Alexander—textBOX Digital

Session Overview

Huw Alexander opened this session giving us a brief resume of what the webinar will cover. The world has become driven by content especially in the digital space and, now more than ever, that content needs to be as accessible as possible. Over the last 10 years we have seen educational materials shift to a much more visual form of conveying information and society has followed suit. We need to be able to deliver this information so that it is accessible to everyone.

Valerie Morrison and Huw then took us through a series of complex image types, giving us an overview of how they tackle describing them and sharing with us their top tips for success. Valerie admitted that she still finds many types of images daunting, even with her years of experience but if you have the right approach you can break it down and keep it simple for the reader. Below are some of the main points for each image type which can be found in greater detail in the slide deck, together with some excellent examples.

Maps and Choropleths

Maps

  • Always begin with a general overview giving a description of what the map is about
  • If there’s an inset table this might be a good  place to start
  • Only describe items which are contextually important to the map
  • Lists are useful in describing maps
  • Don’t worry about colors (unless it’s a choropleth) or symbols which often don’t carry significance

Choropleths

These type of maps display quantitive values for distinct spatial regions using color. Consequently, they require a slightly different approach:

  • Reference the title, the structure, the text key which may point to colors to measure the data, the scale and the trend analysis
  • A political choropleth may also need dates, emphasis and context, places of interest, edge boundaries and a  scale ratio

Timelines

  • Create one general overview sentence
  • Describe the range of the timeline
  • List some of the details

Bar Charts

  • Begin with the title and what the x and y axis denote
  • Describe how the chart has been arranged and why. Sometimes bar charts are arranged to create a visual impact and this might require highlighting
  • Describe each bar in regular, predictable ways

Supply and Demand Curves

  • Begin again with the title and an x and y overview, remembering that this is just a graph!
  • Describe the slopes and where they intersect
  • Keep it simple. It’s easy to get lost in the “word salad” with this type of image

Complex Infographics

  • Overview sentence should contain information on the basic parts of the infographic, the timeline and the illustrations it contains
  • Work from the general to the specific, filling in the details as needed
  • Make sure your description references: the title, the structure of the graphic, the information contained within each section, descriptions of the relevant images only, numbered list elements
  • Do not describe decorative images

Tables

  • Sometimes the tables are arranged specifically for sighted readers and you should sort the information out into more of a table to help readers process the amount of data.
  • Complex STEM Infographics are very hard to parse and it’s much easier if you can convert them into tables with specific columns. An example of how making images available in multiple modalities can help reach more learners eg. a dyslexic reader would benefit from this specific approach.
  • Consider adding structural alt text to your tables. This gives the reader an head start in understanding how the table is organized and allows them to create a mental map before they process the information that it contains.

Before taking questions, Huw ended the session by reminding us:

You are trying to recreate the image and it’s impact for the reader. To do this you need to unravel the complexity it may involve and create a level playing field for all users.

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

Free Webinar: The Art and Science of Describing Images – Part 2

December 2nd, 2020

The DAISY Consortium is delighted to announce the return of this series of free weekly webinars on accessible publishing and reading. We started this series earlier this year in response to the multiple challenges being faced by conferences around the world due to Coronavirus, as well as feedback from the wider DAISY community expressing interest in online training resources.

This session continues our popular theme of webinars providing guidance and examples for effectively describing graphical information. In this webinar we start to explore some of the more complex image types including:

  • Maps and geographic information
  • Tabular data
  • Charts
  • Timelines
  • Infographics

The recording of the first webinar in the describing images series is also freely available.

Date

December 2nd, 2020

Venue

Online (via Zoom)

Learn More

Register for this webinar

Free Webinar: Leveraging InDesign for Accessible EPUB Creation

May 20th, 2020

The DAISY Consortium has announced the launch of a series of free weekly webinars on accessible publishing and reading in response to the multiple challenges being faced by conferences around the world due to Coronavirus, as well as feedback from the wider DAISY community expressing interest in online training resources.

If InDesign is part of your book production toolchain, then this webinar is for you. In it you will learn a set of tips and tricks for tricking InDesign into giving you cleaner, more accessible reflowable EPUB output. Some are simple typesetting tips to keep print and digital aligned, others are deeper ways to get more semantic HTML.

Date

May 20, 2020

Venue

Online via Zoom or via the DAISY YouTube channel afterwards

Learn More

Sign up for the May 20th webinar

For information on the whole DAISY webinar series on offer you can register your interest on the Webinar Information Page

All About Ebooks – 4 Week Webinar Series

April 19th, 2018
Kevin Callahan of BNGO Books (www.BNGObooks.com) is an ebook developer, writer and speaker based in New York City. He will be presenting 4 one hour sessions on accessible ebooks via The Editorial Freelancer Association. Full information can be found at the EFA website including details on how to register. The first session is on April 19th, 2018

Accessible Publishing Webinar: What You Need to Know to Get Accessibility Right

April 4th, 2018

Most publishers now realize how important it is to make their publications accessible. The question is no longer the “why,” but the “how.” This webinar, organized by Apex Covantage, is designed to show you how. Join Bill Kasdorf, noted authority on accessibility and publishing workflows, for practical advice that will get you on the right track to making your publications “born accessible.”

Date

April 4, 2018 at 2pm ET

Venue

Online

Learn More

Information is available at the Apex Covantage website including details on how to register for this free event

Webinar on Digital Equality: The Importance of Accessibility in Your Publishing Strategy

February 28th, 2018

Compelled by clear ethical reasons and compliance requirements, most publishers are working to make content fully accessible. Creating content that is “born accessible” also opens up new opportunities for publishers to expand the reach of content and connect with new audiences and markets.

In this free webinar from napco media, you’ll learn:

  • How properly structured and tagged content improves discoverability and is the foundation for accessibility
  • What Section 508 and WCAG compliance means for publishers and their digital content
  • Practical tips to build accessibility into publishing workflows
  • How well structured content and metadata improves rendering for multiple formats and platforms, including HTML5 and EPUB3

Date:

February 28th, 2018

Time:

2pm ET, 11am PT

Learn More:

Further details on speakers and how to attend are available on the webinar registration page.