Technical Background

Standards and Guidelines Adopted for Benetech’s Global Certified Accessible Program

Benetech’s certification program is based on the following standards:

The evaluation also reviews extended image descriptions and MathML using industry best practice guidelines to ensure descriptions are done correctly and that math renders correctly. There are currently no published specifications on either extended image description guidelines or math.

Benetech, through its work in its R&D initiative, the DIAGRAM Center, is working to influence how images and math can be made accessible.

Package Metadata

Every conformant EPUB Publication must include the required [schema.org] accessibility metadata and the required Conformance Reporting metadata.

Accessibility Metadata (Required):

  • accessMode — a human sensory perceptual system or cognitive faculty necessary to process or perceive the content (e.g., textual, visual, auditory, tactile)
  • accessibilityFeature — features and adaptations that contribute to the overall accessibility of the content (e.g., alternative text, extended descriptions, captions)
  • accessibilityHazard — any potential hazards that the content presents (e.g., flashing, motion simulation, sound)
  • accessibilitySummary — a human-readable summary of the overall accessibility, which includes a description of any known deficiencies (e.g., lack of extended descriptions, specific hazards)

Conformance Reporting (Required):

To indicate that an EPUB Publication conforms to the accessibility requirements of the Accessibility 1.0 specification, it must include a conformsTo property as well as a certifiedBy property:

The following accessibility and certification metadata are optional and will be included in Benetech’s certification.

Accessibility Metadata (Optional):

  • accessModeSufficient — a set of one or more access modes sufficient to consume the content without significant loss of information. An EPUB Publication might have more than one set of sufficient access modes for its consumption depending on the types of content it includes (i.e., unlike accessMode, this property takes into account any affordances for content that is not broadly accessible, such as the inclusion of transcripts for audio content).
  • accessibilityAPI — indicates the resource is compatible with the specified accessibility API. This property is typically only used to indicate that the use of scripting in an EPUB Publication follows [WAI-ARIA 1.1]authoring practices, as compatibility with operating system accessibility APIs is a concern for Reading Systems.
  • accessibilityControl — identifies input methods that can be used to access the content (e.g., keyboard, mouse)

Certification Metadata (Optional)

This optional certification metadata will also be included with links to our Certification Credential/Badge as well as a report on the accessibility of this publication:

DAISY’s Accessible Checker for EPUB (ACEby DAISY)

ACE by DAISY, which will be available in late 2017, checks files for basic accessibility features covered in a baseline set of guidelines created by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) which pioneered the EPUB standard. These baseline guidelines are based on the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 Specification: Conformance and Discovery Requirements for EPUB Publications, published in January 2017.

This specification aligns with the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines(WCAG) level “A.” It does not demand conformance with the higher level WCAG “AA” and “AAA” accessibility guidelines.

While ACE by DAISY is designed to be largely an automated checking tool, certain accessibility features still require manual review, such as alt-text image descriptions. These must be checked manually to ensure they provide a description rather than a placeholder for a description (which simply states something such as “alt-text”) that would verify the alt-text has been coded into the file but would not verify that this text correctly describes the image and is meaningful.

ACE is an open-source tool that will be freely available. Customized versions may be created, however, at cost.