The significance of Accessibility has emerged as one of the vital elements of a publishing platform, Research says about 10% – 15% of the world population has a print disability. Despite the fact that human beings do not absolutely apprehend it however they generally tend to speak about the subject frequently with full of technical terminologies which can confuse even eBook developers. I’ve spent most of the year studying and teaching myself and my fellow colleagues about accessibility. And I’ve compiled a list of the essential terms, which I assume are the file types, organisations, and standards to apprehend the fundamentals of accessibility. I absolutely wish it’ll assist to begin and retain industry-wide conversations.
How To Equip Your Publication In The Direction Of Accessibility
In general, an accessible publication can provide more flexibility in the reading experience. The way a sighted audience consumes printed publications is vastly different from a visually impaired audience such as people with low vision, the blind, colour blind, neurological impairments and gross motor disabilities. A publisher should also consider producing accessible products for such audiences. The Published content should be designed to be inclusive and equal for sighted and print disabled people.
Accessibility can help publishers with this.
Speaking of accessibility, the following are some common accessibility pitfalls/obstacles to web and other digital content that can be used to fix them sooner or later.
- Web forms that do not have keyboard equivalents
- Videos and other media that do not have subtitles
- The colour contrast of text and images is inappropriate or just an indication of required fields
- Websites are not properly coded and no alternative text description is added to images
- Search functions, that do not suggest alternative spellings
- Distorted CAPTCHA images
- Navigation difficulties
- Digital content with excessive animation or flashing
- Content without structural hierarchy that prevents the reader/user from understanding the narration
Key Accessibility Elements for Publishers
Basically, the content is still the core of publishing, but the publishing workflow can adapt the Appearance, structure, and formatting elements to different readers.
Appearance plays a vital role, For example, larger text sizes for users with partially blind disabilities, colour and text palettes for users with colour blind disabilities, and Typography & design styles for users with dyslexic or autistic disabilities. These are a few ways to customize the appearance to meet the expectation of different readers.
The Structure of the content could be one of the crucial differentiators, For example, adding technical tags to the content can increase metamorphic possibilities, These HTML and XML tags can be easily identified with greater detailing and relevance by Automated software and reading bots. needless to say, it is the structural element that makes the publishing content more accessible to different readers.
The Format is also an important element in making content more adaptable to various users. The Microsoft MS-Word (.doc & .docx) format is the most simple and efficient format for producing an accessible document for sighted and non-sighted readers, Using MS-Word options like Paragraph tags, Heading, and colour pallets, you can easily customize the content towards the four elements of accessibility. There are a few limitations with MS- Word as it cannot reproduce Binary large objects(BLOB) for Images and Multimedia files. The other alternate formats which you can make use of are our PDF, Digital Accessible Information System files, e-Pub, LaTex, and HTML/XML-based eBooks.
Apart from the above, you can improve accessibility by customizing font sizes, user interface, text-to-speech audios, text to digital braille, etc.
The best and the only way to test the quality of your accessible content is to get them validated by real print-impaired users, There are many organizations that offer technical audit services to check the accessibility of your publishing content.
List of Important Organizations
|W3C||The W3C known as World Wide Web Consortium is the primary web standards organization. It manages the WCAG 2.0 guidelines and, The EPUB guidelines which were created and owned by the International Digital Publishing Forum.|
|Benetech||Benetech is a non-profit tech company, which develops open-source accessibility solutions to assist publishers. Benetech also manages Bookshare, an online library that provides accessible textbooks to students with disabilities.|
|BISG||The Book Industry Study Group creates and manages standards for the publishing industry in the United States, including the BISAC Subject Heading List. In 2016 it published the Quick Start Guide to Accessible Publishing which is available online for free.|
Guidelines and specifications
|WCAG 2.0||The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) created by the W3C are the main web standards for accessibility. The technical guidelines are completely based on the core idea to be accessible, Content must be Clear, fully functional, easy to understand, and robust. WCAG 2.0 is the basis for many other standards, including EPUB specifications and most federal accessibility laws.|
|EPUB Accessibility 1.0||The first EPUB Accessibility specification includes requirements for accessible ebooks. The standard is built on WCAG 2.0 but is focused specifically on the EPUB format, addressing the topics such as internal metadata and navigation requirements for standard book elements.|
|Schema.org||It is a collaborative effort to create a standardized vocabulary for metadata on the web. The Vocabulary includes the accessibility metadata tags that are referenced in the EPUB Accessibility specifications.|
By Including ‘Accessibility Solutions” in your offerings, you will not only extend your market reach in the publishing business but also bring great commercial viability along with ethical differences.