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Ushering in the Born Accessible Era


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George Kerscher's presentation at the National Federation of the Blind event "ebooks and EPUB Accessibility".

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Ushering in the Born Accessible Era

  1. 1. Ushering in the Born Accessible Era George Kerscher ebooks and EPUB Accessibility, March 23rd 2017 NFB, Baltimore
  2. 2. This presentation will explain: • How the EPUB Accessibility Specification 1.0 will empower publishers • What it takes to meet the minimum baseline for accessibility • How the certification of born accessible publications can impact education in both K-12 and Higher Education
  3. 3. My background • I live in Missoula, Montana; love the outdoors, hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, rock climbing (well reluctantly), skiing……..
  4. 4. From Into Thin Air to Accessible Books • I loved John Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air about the disasters while climbing Mount Everest • Erick Winemeyer was the first blind guy to reach the summit of Mount Everest • My wife purchased John Krakauer’s book Missoula on iBooks Store with family sharing • I was reading his book on my iPhone soon after • Week later I was engaged and involved, attending the discussion about his book because this title was born accessible and available on a reading system that is accessible
  5. 5. Embracing Accessibility • The University of Montana settled a lawsuit but more importantly they have embraced accessibility • The U of M is now sited as an exemplary university in making programs accessible • Lucy France, from the U of Montana, presented at the NFB Convention several years ago about the strides they were making • She phoned me not too long ago about a problem with ordering accessible educational materials • That’s a big problem we need to solve
  6. 6. Now we have the will to “Usher in the Era of Born Accessible Publications” • Accessibility has been embraced in the Publishing Community • The disability community have led the change • DAISY Consortium, Benetech, the NFB etc. • The tech segment of publishing were the earliest advocates • Publishers are now also in the forefront • Tech companies have joined in • Everybody in the supply chain are apparently joining in
  7. 7. Publishing in the W3C • IDPF and W3C Merger • Status of EPUB 3.1: developments now under W3C • EPUB 3 Community Group • Dave Cramer, Rachel Comerford, Matt Garrish as editor, Avneesh Singh on Accessibility • DPUB Interest Group and Working Group Charter: Tzviya Siegman, Garth Conboy as chairs • Business Publishing Group • Upcoming: Publishing@W3C Summit in November, San Francisco
  8. 8. Publishing@W3C 2017 Focus Areas • Build Community • Accelerate EPUB 3 adoption via increased visibility • Advance Web for publishing: CSS WG and within the Web Accessibility Initiative • Refine roadmap for the fully converged future executing on it • EPUB and the overall Open Web Platform = foundations of accessible publishing • EPUB 3.1 well-aligned with overall Web Accessibility initiatives, will continue to evolve and grow in adoption and mindshare under W3C stewardship • Future Web Publications’ functionality will further converge: online/offline, packaged/distributed, accessibility front and center • Build on successes: Fully realize the born digital = born accessible promise • W3C needs your input: lead accessible publishing to its full potential
  9. 9. EPUB Accessibility Specification 1.0 • First-class component of EPUB 3.1 (approved January 2017 as final IDPF Recommended Specification) • Applies to all versions of EPUB from EPUB 2, 2.01, EPUB 3, 3.01, and 3.1, designed to evolve • The concept of a baseline of conformance that could be certified was a design goal • Accessibility aspects of EPUB gathered in one document, with the bar raised to a higher level of expected conformance • Architected so it can be enhanced independently and is applicable to earlier and future EPUB revisions • Built on W3C WCAG 2.0, with added requirements specific to publications • Discovery: enhanced accessibility & certification metadata with categories of accessibility compliance (“Discovery-enabled”, “Accessible”, “Optimized”)
  10. 10. Baseline Features • Requires accessibility conformance in the EPUB publication • In the USA WCAG 2.0 “AA” is generally recommended • Conforms to metadata pointing to “A,” “AA,” or “AAA” • Accessibility metadata must be included • Publishers have actively participated in the EPUB Accessibility Spec development and have been updating their production processes
  11. 11. Concrete Examples of Some MUST Do’s • All headings must be marked in the HTML as headings (Critical for navigation) • All textual content must use HTML text markup, e.g. paragraphs, block quotes, list items • All content must be in a logical reading order • Images are marked as decorative, described in surrounding text or captions, or have “alt” text • If you want a fancy heading and use an image, remember to use alt text (you can do cool things with CSS)
  12. 12. Examples • Important Note: The EPUB Accessibility overrides some items in WCAG 2.0, for example: 4.5 Descriptions • DESC-001: Include alternative text descriptions • [WCAG 2.0] Success Criterion 1.1.1 requires a text alternative for all non-text content. In the case of image content, the provision of alternative text (e.g., in an HTML) alt attribute is sufficient for meeting the requirements of the EPUB Accessibility specification.
  13. 13. Notes Regarding Authors • Encourage to include extended descriptions, but the utility of extended descriptions often depends on the needs of the user • Until the publishing ecosystem matures, let’s make it easier for Authors to include extended descriptions • If extended descriptions are not included, note the omission in the accessibility summary
  14. 14. Conformant EPUBs MUST • Include accessibility discovery metadata • Include the following [] accessibility metadata: accessMode, accessibilityFeature, accessibilityHazard, accessibilitySummary Supporting techniques are updated frequently: • Specifications are at a high level, techniques are specific • WCAG and EPUB techniques are maintained independently of specifications • As support in Reading Systems evolves, these techniques will improve
  15. 15. Accelerating Publisher Adoption: Certification of EPUB Publications • Certify that digital books (and all other publications) meet the Baseline • Self-certification • Sad Story: What happened to Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)? • Would you have a fox guard the henhouse?
  16. 16. EPUB Accessibility Checking Software • DAISY Consortium is building the EPUB Accessibility Conformance Checker • Collaboration with HTML accessibility checking tool developers • Auto checking must be supplemented by human inspection
  17. 17. Reading System Accessibility Testing • Evaluates the accessibility features implemented in a wide range of mainstream reading systems. • Our first goal is to ensure that fundamental accessibility features are supported by the mainstream reading systems. • So that customers can choose companies that have considered the needs of everyone. All users should be able to consume the content of a document by: • adjusting the display such as adjusting font size and color combination • reading the text with screen readers or read aloud applications • reading the text with a refreshable Braille display • reading with assistive technologies designed for persons with dyslexia or other disabilities
  18. 18. We provide • An extensive set of tests • A documented process for executing the tests and compiling results • An opportunity to participate in creating helpful guidance for higher education institutions, students, accessibility specialists, librarians, developers, content creators Future developments: • Evaluating user experience with math content • Strengthening the representation of requirements for users with dyslexia • Adding to the evaluation for low vision
  19. 19. Resources and to-do list • Go to • Enable born accessible, find accessible and buy accessible. • Contact: