After talking with publishers and consumers, a need for a software tool for checking EPUB content for accessibility became clear.
The DAISY Consortium has started working on an open source accessibility checking tool.
Publishers and service providers will be able to use this application to implement accessibility specifications. It will also enable distributors and consumers (such as procurement centers etc.) to verify the accessibility claims of publishers.
What’s in scope?
This tool will perform a variety of automated checks to assist in the evaluation of conformance to the EPUB Accessibility specification. It may be integrated into an evaluation process which should also involve manual inspection.
The initial version of this tool will check EPUB 3 content against the rules defined in WCAG, ARIA, and HTML, following the versions referenced in EPUB specifications. The tool will be usable “as is” or can be integrated as a third-party tool in broader publishing workflows or authoring processes.
What this tool will not do?
It is impossible to perform a 100% complete evaluation of accessibility requirements in a fully-automated manner. Many criteria require human judgement and manual inspection.
Therefore, the tool does not claim to be a yes/no validator or a certification tool. It will not issue an accessibility score, percentage of conformance, etc. It is not intended to be used for repairing inaccessible content. The first version of the tool will not be interactive but will allow the development of semi-automated checks where a human is asked to manually inspect the content to complete the evaluation.
The tool will not be able to analyze encrypted content or any other DRM-protected EPUB that cannot easily be unpackaged.
We are aiming for a public beta in last quarter of 2017. If you are interested in being a part of private beta testing, please get in touch.