The digital revolution and ongoing advances in technology have made it possible to get more content, in more ways, to more people. At the same time, they have also given publishers and content creators a new digital imperative—if content is “born digital,” it can—and should—be “born accessible.”
This could truly be a golden age of access to books and information for people with print disabilities—such as people who are blind or are dyslexic. There are millions of readers that can’t access a print book because of blindness or low vision, mobility impairments or severe learning disabilities. For them, eBook technology promises a new world of opportunity. In fact, for the first time in history, people with print disabilities may be able to purchase and fully utilize an entire world of newly published books, instantly upon publication.
As the nonprofit tech company operating Bookshare, the largest library of accessible books in the world, Benetech believes the time is right for the publishing world to seize this era of opportunity. We believe that all content born digital can—and should—be born accessible.
We understand how to navigate this new world of opportunity—both by identifying the possibilities and working to resolve the challenges. Tremendous progress has been made when it comes to retro-fitting books, especially those that are primarily text, but as digital content becomes richer and more complex, the challenge of making it born accessible will require broader partnerships and technological innovation.
The resources we’ve provided below are meant to help publishers and the myriad of other new, digital content creators understand the basics of how to make content born accessible. These resources highlight the challenges that images, interactivity, math equations and other complex features pose, but also demonstrate how they can be addressed. Working together, we know that accessibility can become a critical component in the creation of all content.
- Top Tips for Creating Accessible EPUB3 Files
- Buy Accessible: What to look for in ebooks (also available as a downloadable Word document)
- Accessible EPUB 3, Matt Garrish, O’Reilly
- EPUB 3 Accessibility Guidelines, Matt Garrish
- Access All Areas: Why Accessibility will be Critical to the Future of Publishing
- Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Library Service
- The DIAGRAM Center
- Image Guidelines for EPUB3, DIAGRAM Center
- Accessible Image Sample Book, DIAGRAM Center
- 3D Printing for Accessible Materials in Schools
- NCAM (National Center for Accessible Media) Guidelines
- BANA Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics
- Accessible Images on Load2Learn, RNIB and Dyslexia Action
- Accessible Images – Guidance for Using and Creating, RNIB
- Training Webinars, DIAGRAM Center
New Born Accessible project: MathML Cloud
- Tools for Creating Accessible Math, DIAGRAM Center
- Solutions for Accessibility Community, National Science Foundation & Design Science
- Tips and Tutorials for Creating Accessible Content, The California State University
- Poet – an open-source tool for adding image descriptions to digital books.
- Product Matrices, The DIAGRAM Center: A guide to image-description support in digital talking book (DTB) and e-book hardware and software reading systems
- Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0
Discoverability of Your Accessible Content
- The Accessibility Metadata Project: Working to make accessible content discoverable so that quality educational resources on the web can be found and used by students and others who need it.