Tag Archive for: webinar

Lessons Learned in the Journey to Accessible Publishing (W)

Lessons Learned in the Journey to Accessible Publishing title slide

In our series of free weekly webinars November 23rd saw a session focused on the lessons that have been learned by speakers from 4 different areas of the publishing industry. This was the perfect way to round off this current season of webinars and an excellent chance to reflect on some of the challenges that have been encountered

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  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Anne Bergman, Federation of European Publishers
  • Cristina Mussinelli, The LIA Foundation
  • Simon Mellins, Penguin Random-House
  • Wendy Reid, Kobo Rakuten

Session Overview

Ann Bergman was our first speaker, reminding us about the work of the FEP during the development, planning and eventual implementation of the European Accessibility Act. This has involved years of preparation for our industry and is the result of over 20 years of engagement at EU level. The EAA, which comes into force in 2025 will have a global impact as it covers ebooks, ereaders and eretailers. The good news is that EPUB has been deemed to fulfill the specifications of the directive, but there are challenges that still remain: backlist concerns, the liability of retailers and DRM, to name but a few! Ann’s advice to everyone thinking about accessible publishing was an important lesson:

“Accessibility is about making the books we publish better, satisfying the needs of all customers and broadening readership”

Cristina Mussinelli and the LIA Foundation have a wealth of advice learned from years of advocating for accessible publishing in Italy and Europe. Lessons include:

  • Collaborations – building bridges with all the stakeholders in the industry is key
  • Accessibility needs to be treated as a strategic resource and the corporate culture should reflect this
  • Implement a roadmap within your organization
  • Training is absolutely key as accessibility can get quite technical

Simon Mellins gave us a snapshot of lessons learned from a larger publishing organization of which the 2 biggest are:

  • Metadata and the challenge of implementing accessibility metadata for such a large volume of content and the backlist remains a huge challenge. PRH have found that metadata templating is practical for trade titles but the challenge remains to get the retailers support display.
  • Image description remains the hardest accessibility challenge for most publishers and there is no one solution that works for everyone. Simon gave us a number of strategies to cope with the challenges and these slides are full of helpful detail on this

Finally a reminder about future-proofing and how accessibility enhances content for everyone’s enjoyment. “A properly structured EPUB file with detailed semantic tagging and metadata is the best way to archive books for future generations.”

Wendy Reid gave us the retailers perspective by highlighting lessons learned at Kobo Rakuten.

  • Communications are key to success, working with publishers on accessibility requirements
  • Implementation of accessibility can be complex in retail
  • User needs and perspectives must be taken into consideration at every stage. Testing early and testing often can result in changes of approach, making sure that readers with print disabilities are included in the feedback process.

Listen to the recording to hear more about the challenges and lessons learned discussed by our 4 speakers.

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Accessible Reading Systems: Requirements and Examples of Good Practice (W)

Accessible Reading Systems opening slideIn our series of free weekly webinars October 26th saw a session focused on accessible reading systems, hosted by DAISY’s George Kerscher. In his intro George reminded us that “people want to be able to read with their eyes, ears and fingers and its the reading system that enables this.” A crucial link in the publishing and content ecosystem, the accessibility of a given reading system greatly impacts the reading experience.

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  • George Kerscher, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Prashant Verma, The DAISY Consortium
  • Lars Wallin, Colibrio
  • Laurent Le Meur, EDRLab

Session Overview

The session began with an overview of the webinar, beginning with a reminder of the:

Fundamentals for Accessible Reading

Laurent Le Meur asked why this is so important right now and top of his list of answers is the advent of the European Accessibility Act in 2025 which the whole world is preparing for. By this time, every product and service created or sold into Europe must be accessible and this includes reading systems which are within the scope of the new legislation.

The fundamental requirements of an accessible reading system include:

  • the ability to make visual adjustments
  • screen reader support
  • keyboard navigation (when available)
  • text to speech

Laurent’s presentation includes demonstrations of these basic items, including a closer look at Thorium, developed by EDRLab. EDRLab’s unique experience of developing the Thorium reading system is something we can all learn from. The specific challenges that developing an accessible reading system of this calibre include:

  • the development team themselves must have a thorough understanding of accessibility
  • the development framework is often inaccessible itself
  • the budget to develop accessible reading systems needs to be high
  • testing is complex
  • all kinds of complex content needs to be accommodated in a variety of formats.

Advanced Document Interaction

Lars Wallin focused on requirements needed to give a good reading experience when dealing with complex, structured documents such as learning materials or academic papers. These include:

  • Focus management – if reading systems have not been developed with assistive technology in mind, they will not have the level of integrated accessibility that is needed. Focus management is at the core of a successful reading system.
  • Landmark navigation is extremely important in structured documents
  • Highlights, bookmarks and notes
  • Contextual actions and information (especially important for blind readers)
  • Text search
  • Visual aids

Testing and Benchmarking

Prashant Verma reminded that in order to achieve an accessible reading experience, both the content and the reading system need to conform to standards and best practices. By rigorous testing we can ensure that reading systems are accessible. To be successful, the reading system should have:

  • an accessible user interface that can accommodate different input methods and that supports a variety of commonly used assistive technology
  • support for EPUB accessibility features such as table of contents, image alt text etc

The DAISY Consortium has developed epubtest.org in order to evaluate the accessibility of EPUB content via reading systems. Testing is conducted by a panel of experts, assistive technology users and readers with lived experience. Reading systems are tested in a variety of ways and the results enable developers to make improvements to the accessibility of their products. The published results also enable institutional purchasers to make informed decisions.

Prashant went into the detail of the epubtest.org evaluation systems and how the scoring is allocated. Results are displayed on epubtest.org and an overview is published on inclusive publishing as a quick reference tool, summarizing the pros and cons of the systems that have undergone testing.

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Accessible Publishing Support (W)

Title slide for the Accessible Publishing Support webinarIn our series of free weekly webinars September 28th saw a session focused on Accessible Publishing Support which gave a round-up of training, tools and resources available to publishers and content creators. There are many resources available worldwide and this webinar highlighted some of the most used tools and guidance followed by an in-depth look at what is happening in two countries, Italy and The Netherlands.

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  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium
  • Elisa Molinari, The LIA Foundation
  • Hans Beerens, Dedicon

Session Overview

Richard Orme opened this week’s webinar with a general overview of training, tools and resources. We’ve listed these below but the webinar video gives you a lot more information.


  • DAISY webinar series – 35 hours of material on a broad range of topics
  • Online courses which include, W3C learning, EPUB Accessibility Using InDesign, POET image description tool, Inclusive Publishing in Practice & the Accessible Publishing Learning Network
  • Conferences and Seminars – international bookfairs, publishing events
  • Bespoke training


A variety of tools are in use to validate and check the accessibility of content. These include DAISY’s suite of tools – Ace, SMART (Richard gave a demo) and EPUBCheck (which is maintained by DAISY)


There are many resources available to publishers who wish to keep up to date with the latest developments in the accessibility space. These include this website, the Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base, epubtest and stakeholder platforms within your own country.

A full list of items mentioned in the webinar can be found at the end of this report.

The Italian Job

Elisa Molinari began her presentation by giving an overview of the work of the LIA Foundation, reminding us of all they have achieved since 2011 when they delivered the first concrete example of the born-accessible principle.

The LIA catalog now features an astounding 30k ebooks from 76 publishers and imprints.

Moving forward LIA still focus on how to make accessibility work via events, certification, consultancy and tailor-made training for their publishers. Having everyone on-board with a shared goal is something that the LIA Foundation urges all publishers to focus on and they have prepared list of tools and resources for all areas of the workflow together with a white paper entitled; “Ebooks For All: Towards an Accessible Digital Publishing Ecosystem”. This was produced with the onset of the European Accessibility Act in mind.

The Dutch Oven

Hans Beerens followed with an overview of how accessible publishing is treated in The Netherlands. From a round table meeting of relevant stakeholders some invaluable resources have emerged giving publishers a set of quick start guides to get them started on their accessibility journey and provide them with some quick wins. This working group have also conducted a number of workshops and training programs together with the national website which hosts all of these resources.

Most recently, a project run in collaboration with German and French colleagues has resulted in the training site Inclusive Publishing in Practice which Hans gave us an overview of. Available in 4 languages this site offers 75 learning units over 4 learning pathways – covering a multitude of areas to assist publishers in the creation of accessible content.

It was terrific to be able to see how many resources are available to our industry. Although not exhaustive, the range of resources listed and discussed in this webinar, provides a solid base for continued learning.

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Resources mentioned in the webinar:




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Accessible Publishing: The Fundamentals (W)

Accessible Publishing Fundamentals title slideSeptember 14th 2022 saw the first in a new season of free DAISY webinars with a session focused on Accessible Publishing: The Fundamentals. Accessible publishing is gaining increasing attention, with many new people approaching the topic, often driven by legislation like the EU Accessibility Act. This webinar went back to the fundamentals, highlighting how people with print disabilities can access digital publications, the importance of adopting accessible publishing practices, and the wider benefits to your publications.

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  • James Taylor, International Publishers Association—Guest Host and Chair
  • Gautier Chomel, EDRLab
  • Prashant Verma, DAISY Consortium
  • Brianna Walker, Taylor and Francis

Session Overview

Introduction to Accessible Publishing

Gautier Chomel reminded us that accessible publishing is big business and that digital content is a growing market. With changes in learning methods impacting this trend we can expect the growth to continue, particularly as legislation (such as The European Accessibility Act) impacts the supply chain and changes publishers’ perspectives. This session aims to give us a refresher for what we are all trying to achieve.

About Print Disability

Prashant Verma detailed exactly what a print disability is and how many people are affected by low vision, blindness, learning disabilities and developmental difficulties, all preventing access to printed material. Accessible digital content is revolutionary for readers with a print disability.

How Could People Read Your Publications?

It is well worth watching the video of this session for some examples of how people with print disabilities are able to read using accessible content. These demos and examples include:

  • People with low vision tend to increase the text size and change the background color – Prashant pointed out that there are 240 million people worldwide with low vision.
  • People who are blind use screen readers and/or electronic braille – all made possible by excellent navigation and accessibility features optimized within the content.
  • People with learning difficulties can customize the text layout and use the read aloud function if they need to.
  • Those with physical disabilities have a variety of options now available to them including switch or voice control technology

Accessible Digital Publishing Practices

Brianna Walker gave us the publisher perspective with some wonderful examples of good practice that has been adopted at Taylor and Francis by optimizing the features on offer within the EPUB 3 format. Brianna informed us of 4 top tips for good practice:

  1. Ensure text is text (and not images of text)
  2. Provide good structure
  3. Describe images
  4. Provide accessibility metadata

The Case For Accessible Publishing

The business case for accessible publishing is very often something that we have to advocate for in-house. Senior executives want to know that accessible publishing will help them to:

  • reach more readers
  • comply with the law
  • meet purchasing requirements
  • make better ebooks
  • impact the supply chain
  • promote their image

Where To Start

Brianna encouraged us all to consider a holistic approach when starting out by considering the bigger picture before focusing on what can be done in the short term and long term. It’s key to get commitment in-house and that investment needs to be on-going.

Patience is required but starting the journey is an instant win

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Creating and Reading Accessible Math (W)

Creating and Reading Accessible Math title slideIn our series of free weekly webinars October 20th saw a session focused on accessible math and some of the complexities surrounding the creation and reading of math for students.

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  • Stacy Scott, RNIB, host and chair
  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium
  • Joseph Polizzotto, Wake Technical Community College
  • Neil Soiffer, Talking Cat Software
  • Homiyar Mobedji, Benetech

Session Overview

Stacy Scott introduced this week’s session explaining that the presentation would remove some of the complexities surrounding the creation of accessible math by talking us through the workflow required and showing us via demos and examples that accessible math is achievable and relatively straightforward. Support for accessible math has improved greatly over recent years and it’s exciting to be able to show our audience some of the new methods, tools and solutions in this area.

Page Image

Neil Soiffer gave us a quick run through of the various math formats that are in existence and Joseph Polizzotto then explained where to start if the math in question isn’t available in one of these specific math formats and is appearing as an inaccessible image. OCR can help in this situation and there are various options here depending on your role and the scale of work involved eg. EquatIO, MathPix and Infty Reader. OCR can either be used on the fly for individual math expressions or it can be used to convert an entire document and Joseph talked us through the pros and cons of each tool in these scenarios, ending with an example of EquatIO in action.

Editing Math Equations in Word

Richard Orme discussed the next stage in a math workflow now that the math expression is in a word document but may require some editing. Currently there are 2 options here: the Microsoft Equation Editor, a built in method with various options available for editing math expressions, and MathType, a powerful equation editor with lots of different integrations (and relatively affordable).

From Word to the Web

There are three routes to publishing your word document on the web:

  • Word-Save as web page
  • MathType-Publish as math page
  • WordToEPUB-creates an HTML version

Reading Math on the Web and with a Screen Reader

Joseph explained that in an educational environment, the Learning Management System provides a way to share contents with students. All institutions are different but it has become recommended best practice to use MathJax to render math in all types of browsers and LMS. MathJax provides consistent display and ensures that the math remains accessible. Joseph’s top tips are worth noting alongside the demo of math being rendered in the LMS, Blackboard. Neil talked the audience through the finer details of how to read math using a screen reader showing us examples and demos that highlighted some of the options and choices that the reader has available to them.

Related Resources

Tools mentioned in the webinar:

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EPUB Accessibility 101 (W)

EPUB Accessibility 101 Title SlideIn our series of free weekly webinars October 6th saw a session focused on EPUB Accessibility. Our speakers showed everyone what happens under the hood of an EPUB file to support accessibility and managed to demystify some of the technicalities surrounding EPUB.

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  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Rachel Comerford, Macmillan Learning
  • Tzviya Siegman, J. Wiley and Sons

Session Overview

What is EPUB? The Basics

Rachel Comerford took us through some of the “acronym soup” that makes up an EPUB file, namely:

  • Mimetype – which tells the reading system being used that this is an EPUB file
  • META-INF – which points to the file and allows the reading system to find it
  • OEPS-OPS – containing the content and everything needed to display that content (including the CSS which describes how the book should look)

What is EPUB? Focus on HTML

The text of an EPUB publication is written in HyperText Mark-Up Language (HTML) and Tzviya Siegman explained to us the importance for accessibility of the native semantic elements that can be conveyed within the HTML. Every element in the HTML mark-up contains a meaning and greatly assists with content navigation and order of reading layout.

What is EPUB? Focus on DPUB-ARIA and epub:type

Sometimes content is more complex than the available HTML elements can cope with and Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) provide another way of applying semantic meaning to content i.e. it describes a content component to the reader. DPUB-ARIA specifically maps to the epub:type vocabulary for EPUB content.

Navigating EPUBS

Rachel explained that all EPUB packages contain a navigation document (within the OPF file) from which the Table of Contents (TOC) is generated. The TOC is crucial for accessibility and together with headings, it generally echoes the familiar structure of printed content.

Links are also valuable for accessibility and it’s important to choose a reading system that exposes internal and external links to the reader.

The Value of EPUB Metadata

Also found in the OPF file, EPUB metadata provides information about the accessibility features and potential limitations of the content. Rachel urged us all to make as much use of metadata features as possible, not least via The Accessibility Summary section where the publisher can provide specific information for readers in a non-technical way. See the slide deck attached to this overview for a terrific example of this type of summary provided by Macmillan Learning.

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Ways People with Print Disabilities Read (W)

Title slide for Ways People with Print Disabilities Read webinar

In our series of free weekly webinars September 22nd saw a session focused on user experience and how people with print disabilities read and the common challenges people encounter. 

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  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Joseph Polizzotto, Wake Technical Community College
  • Robin Spinks, RNIB
  • Amy Salmon, Accessibility Expert

Session Overview

Richard Orme introduced the session and explained that today we would be concentrating on 3 types of print disability: learning difficulties, low vision and blindness.

Reading with Learning Disabilities

Joseph Polizzotto is an accessibility technologist with many years of experience assisting learners and staff in education. This has given him a unique insight into what it is like to read with a print disability, with the following comments typical of students with learning disabilities:

  • “I spend over 6 hours to read one chapter.”​
  • “I don’t remember anything that I have read.”​
  • “I totally missed the word *not* and inferred the opposite meaning of the author.”​
  • “I have to work much harder than others.”​
  • “I know a lot more than I can demonstrate.”​

A learning disability is a neuro-developmental condition that interferes with learning basic skills such as reading, writing or math and it is key for students to be able to develop reading strategies to cope with the challenges of learning.

Reading strategies are at the core of coping

Strategies such as question asking (SQ3R method), note taking, colour coding and creating patterns within the text all serve to simplify the task.

In addition to these Joseph highlighted some other techniques which encourage learning and retention of information for students:

  • Memorization to help with long term storage of information (apps like Quizlet have flashcard tools)
  • Mind Mapping also help with retention and breaks information down into well organized chunks
  • Screen Masking helps to avoid the distraction that surrounding text can create
  • Text Adjustments help provide the optimum environment (font, text size, line spacing)
  • Read Aloud helps learners stay focused and this is particularly useful with complex content
  • Audio using human narration

Reading with Low Vision

Robin Spinks is an accessibility expert and reader with low vision. Common challenges that people with low vision encounter include:

  • Focusing on text (acuity)​
  • Reduced contrast sensitivity​
  • Glare (photo sensitivity/photophobia)​
  • Reduced field of vision​
  • Sensitivity to movement​
  • Perceptual differences​
  • Visual fatigue and changing vision​
  • Contextual factors​

He presented a very revealing set of images giving us a glimpse which emulate what is like to read with a variety of conditions (cataracts, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration).

Readers with low vision may wish to take advantage of the following features to improve the reading experience:

  • Adjust font size​
  • Choice of fonts​
  • Color modifications​
  • Line spacing adjustments​
  • Read aloud or Speak Screen ​
  • Combining strategies for low vision reading

combining these with some of the more specific usability features available with particular platforms

Reading without Vision

Amy Salmon is an accessibility expert and legally blind. She began her presentation by explaining that many readers who are legally blind are not necessarily completely without all vision.

Many readers without functional vision choose to read with a screen reader. These are software applications that convert information typically conveyed on screen into audio using text to speech, and many screen readers also support braille displays.

In a recorded video George Kerscher gave us a demo of the NVDA screen reader on the Thorium ebook reader, showing some of the basic controls which allow access to content and navigation within the document.

Refreshable braille displays can be used in conjunction with a screen reader to show braille characters typically using an electro-mechanical device to raise pins creating braille cells creating letters and words.

In order to make sure that content can be properly navigated by a screen reader and refreshable braille display its essential that digital content is correctly structured and includes:

  • Table of Contents​
  • Headings​
  • Descriptive images and links​
  • Tables which are correctly formatted​
  • Lists​
  • Video with audio descriptive/transcript​
  • Metadata including document language​

Inclusion of these elements vastly improves the reading experience for people without vision.

Related Resources

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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.

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  • 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


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.


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.


  • 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.

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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


March 24th, 2021


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!

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  • 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

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