Accessibility of Mainstream E-Book Readers - CSUN 2014


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From our presentation at the 2014 International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (a.k.a., CSUN)

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Accessibility of Mainstream E-Book Readers - CSUN 2014

  1. 1. Accessibility of Mainstream E-Book Readers Ken Petri, The Ohio State University Hadi Rangin, University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign CSUN 2014 Conference
  2. 2. CSUN 2014 E-Book-Related Presentations • Today – 9:20: “Testing Mainstream eBook Systems: Which is Most Accessible” (Kindle, Kobo, Nook) – 1:50, presentation by Amazon on cross-platform a11y with Kindle products – 3:10, George Kerscher’s “Reading System Showdown” • Tomorrow – Two 8 AM sessions, one on challenges publishers face in producing accessible books, one about consumer acceptance of them – 10:40, looking at EPUB3 cross platform accessibility (VitalSource) – (And three sessions on accessible math in e-books)
  3. 3. Formats Considered: PDF/UA • Technical standard for PDF software developers, defining how to render PDF so that they are accessible • “Matterhorn Protocol” lists the ways PDF/UA can be failed - Reverse engineered, it suggests implementation guidelines
  4. 4. Formats: iBooks and KF8 • iBooks – Proprietary implementation of EPUB 3 – Not (currently) transformable to EPUB 3 • But iBooks reader renders a lot of EPUB 3 (and on iOS makes that pretty accessible) • Amazon KF8 (Kindle Format 8) – Proprietary. Similar to EPUB 3: implements HTML5 and CSS3 subsets – Missing: Video, audio, SVG (though has full-page graphics), media overlays (?, Audible synchronized reading), MathML – Book ecosystem lock-in
  5. 5. Formats: EPUB 3 • Overhaul of EPUB 2 • Incorporates all major DAISY features (replacing DAISY?) – Accessibility pedigree: Key DAISY Consortium and other a11y personnel • Video, audio, SVG, MathML, Media Overlays, JavaScript (interactivity), print-faithful pagination, HTML5 and CSS3 (large subset, including ARIA and forms), Fixed layout or reflowable, footnotes • Canonical Fragment Identifiers (CFI) – Precise indexing of location and ranges intra-ebook and from external references. Could also be for things like notes, highlights, bookmarks?: Cross-platform notes, highlights, and bookmarks a possibility. • “Dictionaries” (glossaries) and “Indexes” are new proposed extensions
  6. 6. Current EPUB3 Implementation Issues • No viable TTS/Braille+math across platforms (though lots of good work coming from MathPlayer Alpha and Google ChromeVox) • No cross-platform/reader solution for bookmarks, progress, notes, highlights (CFI a possible candidate?) • Video and audio may require custom solution until wide support for HTML5 video captions – And what about audio description (AD) support?
  7. 7. Existing E-Book A11y Criteria • NISO DTB prioritized features list (1999) – Informed NLS player features • W3C UAAG 2.0 (last call, Nov. 2013) – Browsers, media players, other internet apps that render web content • EPUB 3 Accessibility Guidelines (IDPF, updated 2014) – Checklist and Best Practices for EPUB 3 authoring • BISG, DAISY Consortium and IDPF (2014) – Comparative EPUB 3 support grid, reader by reader • Accessibility Screening Methodology Guidelines and Checklist (May 2013) – DAISY Consortium with Tech for All – Functional criteria and tests for file management, reading, reading visual adjustment, navigation, annotation, and media playback for eReaders and digital reading systems
  8. 8. EPUB 3 Best Practices
  9. 9. Goals of Our Functional Criteria • Derived from existing criteria, esp. Screening Methodology Checklist • End-user oriented criteria (like – Comparative grid – Want novice to be able to read (and contribute?) • Focus on functional accessibility, arranged by disability categories • Goal of an organization/individual being able to use this in adoption/selection of a platform • Presupposes that EPUB 3 is long term solution
  10. 10. Organization of Our Criteria • Platform and Application category – Web-based mainstream, PC/Mac installed mainstream, Android mainstream, iOS mainstream, Academic web-based, Academic installed, PC/MAC installed disability/specialized, Mainstream dedicated device • Disability Category – Blind/severe vision impairment, “Low Vision,” Deaf and HoH, Color deficit, Motor, Cognitive/non-vision reading disability
  11. 11. Readers Surveyed • Initial survey: More than 40 readers/systems – First cut: down to 14 – Matrix very “sparse” (that is, we did a lot of testing, but it’s not filled out <frown>) • However…. We will discuss: Kindle, iBooks, Azardi, VitalSource (PC), Blio, Google Play, Adobe Digital Editions, Nook Study, Readium project
  12. 12. Criteria: Global • Independent setup and activation by PwD • Import/load/purchase e-book accessible • List and search titles and authors • Discover e-book metadata (author, publisher, reading progress, etc.) • Simple and minimal controls • Rich navigation by bookmark, highlight, note, chapter, sub-section • Make/remove bookmarks, highlights, notes • Remembered reading progress and indication of progress in book easily discoverable • For TTS, book reading resumable from previous paused position
  13. 13. Select Criteria: Blind/Severe Visual Impairment • All functionality available through reader built-in TTS or 3rd-party screen reader • Direct access to book text (to select, copy) • Set highlights, make notes • Adjustable speech rate, mute, pause • Controls identifiable/discoverable by touch • Accessible MathML • Image alternatives voiced • Fine-grained navigation: headings, tables, markup, lists, words, characters • Navigation by book structure: Table of Contents • Media players with accessible controls and audio description capability
  14. 14. Criteria: “Low Vision” • Distinguishable controls (by touch or voiced) • Font face choices • Enlargeable book text • Full typographic control of book text • User-interface type/icons enlargeable • Set high contrast or adopts native OS high- contrast settings
  15. 15. Criteria: Color Deficit • No differentiation of controls by color alone
  16. 16. Criteria: Motor Disability • Devices light, durable, mountable • Touch screen allows for non-human (pointer stick, etc.) interactivity and emulation of multiple touch via single point • Navigable by voice (3rd-party or built-in) • Touch screen allows for loose precision, controls cycleable • Controls actuated by alternative pointing devices
  17. 17. Criteria: Cognitive/Non-Vision Reading • Synchronized highlighting of TTS, including media overlays • Page indication aligns/can align with paper book • Text manipulation or other settings can create low visual “noise”/non-distracting page views • Notes, highlights, progress, bookmarks sync across platform/instance • Reference lookup in 3rd-party sources • If quizzing or other interactivity, no imposed time limits or time can be extended
  18. 18. Criteria: Deaf and Hard of Hearing • Essential audio-only cues/alerts have visual equivalents (book syncs with server, bookmark set/removed, etc., should get visual notification) • Synchronized captions for embedded video/multimedia presentations • Mono audio output configurable
  19. 19. Subset for Discussion • Screen reader access (to interface and contents) • Text control: Contrast, font face, text size, margins, kerning, line height, work spacing • Highlighted synchronized reading • Notes and highlights • Cross-platform sync • Captioned video (and AD?) • Math rendering and accessibility • Accessible interactivity
  20. 20. Not (Currently) Considered • Blio PC/Mac: Crashes, poor SR suppoort, XPS (very little support in readers) • Adobe Reader: Good for PDF, but a document reader, not a reading system • Specialized: Poor or no support for EPUB 3 – Dolphin EasyReader and gh ReadHear – Darwin Reader and GoRead on Android – Read2Go on iOS • Academic: Proprietary formats – CourseSmart: – Inkling – Illinois E-Text – Courseload (appears to be moving toward EPUB 3)
  21. 21. Adobe Digital Editions • EPUB 2, only (no math, video, interactivity) • Screen reader accessibility to reading, but text selection buggy • Only size control of text, but does adopt OS high- contrast mode • Notes and highlights (but not for screen readers • Isolated, no syncing since is stand-alone • Adobe appears to have no plans to move forward with ADE
  22. 22. Blio • Installed version showed initial promise, but unclear if platform is progressing • On iOS, notes and highlighting very similar to Kindle (usable) • Only EPUB 2 capable, almost no support for EPUB 3 (outside of simple import – through iTunes on iOS) • Need to buy voice to get highlighted, synced reading. Limited control of speed, synchronization issues apparent • Android version: Can’t find a way to set a highlight using TalkBack
  23. 23. Azardi • Nearly equivalent functionality in web-based and installed versions • Strong support of EPUB 3 rendering, including Math, video (currently no captions due to Mozilla dependency), audio, interactivity, and text styling. Support for media overlays with speed adjustments • Good control of layout, fonts, and sizing • Multiple built-in contrast settings and accepts Windows high-contrast
  24. 24. iBooks Mac • iBooks Mac: “Feels beta” – essentially impossible to use effectively with VO, lots of unlabeled controls and difficulty getting into text – Good EPUB 3 rendering: Basic MathML, video, audio (but no captions, since depends on native player – Highlights, notes, etc. – Decent text styling
  25. 25. iBooks iOS • Can import EPUB 3 via iTunes and most complete rendering on iOS, including MathML (MathML is accessible with VoiceOver if rendered in Safari iOS), video, audio (not media overlays) • Notes and highlights not available with EPUB 3 sideloaded content, only on iBooks Textbooks – Note-taking and highlighting probably not as simple or controlable as on Kindle iOS
  26. 26. Google Play • Four killer features: – Sync of highlights, notes, progress, bookmarks across all platforms – Import PDF or EPUB and share seamlessly across platforms (no vendor lock-in or sync restrictions) – EPUB books get highlighted reading – Print faithful pagination (and can get some books with photocopy of original pages (good for archival work)) • Weak/no support for EPUB 3: no video, audio, math, overlays, etc. • Good adjustability of control and text + font choices (browser and player cooperate to give large range of text sizing) • Generally poor screen reader accessibility on all platforms
  27. 27. Kindle • KF8 (so, no video, audio, MathML at this point) and experience vendor lock-in • Very solid accessibility on Android with TalkBack and probably most VO accessible mainstream reader on iOS (esp. for highlights and notes) • Kindle Fire HDX has best TalkBack support on an Android platform, and book reader works better on HDX than on, say, Nexus 7 • Limitations on PC (“Kindle for PC with accessibility plug-in”) only allows for built-in TTS navigation and note-taking on a per-page level, with minimal control of reading granularity
  28. 28. Nook Study
  29. 29. Nook Study • No EPUB 3 support • But…. – PDF and EPUB books can be sideloaded and both support word-by- word TTS-synced highlighting playback (Google Play only highlights with EPUB) – TTS moves by sentence, with ability to skip and replay (like Kindle for PC) – Interface can be set to be fully “tabbable” – Book-faithful pagination – 6 font choices and multiple layout and contrast options – Killer feature: Dual-book view – Solid note-taking, highlighting, searching, etc. • Screen reader will conflict with built in TTS • No SR access to book text
  30. 30. VitalSource (PC)
  31. 31. VitalSource (PC)
  32. 32. VitalSource (PC)
  33. 33. VitalSource (PC) • Supports most of EPUB 3 and makes that contents screen reader and keyboard only accessible • Uses IE’s video player for captioned, multi-lingual subtitled video (only rendering TTML currently (bug in IE 11?) • Renders MathML and can use MathPlayer (if your version of IE supports MathPlayer, that is) • Adopts Windows High-Contrast settings • Can sideload EPUB 3 • TTS read-aloud and SR accessible highlighting and note-taking (only with VS books)
  34. 34. Readium • EPUB 3 reference implementation: video & audio, MathML (via MathJax), media overlays, layouts, styling, interactivity, SVG, pages, etc. • No screen reader access, even with ChromeVox
  35. 35. Whither E-Book Readers? Readium JS (for browser implementations) Readium SDK (for native app implementations) A bright future, so long as vendors fully consider accessibility (like VitalSource is doing)