Making Your E-books Accessible
Bide closed on an optimistic note, saying that the publishing industry has made tremendous strides in adoption for the impaired.
JISC Tech Dis service
McNaught's organization is a UK technology advisory service that provides expert advice and guidance on disability and technology in the educational sector.
His presentation focused on the premise that "text craves four freedoms."
1. freedom of navigation: by section, heading, subheading;
2. freedom of display: different font sizes, colors, reflow when magnification is increased;
3. freedom of access to meaning: "Text only exists as an intermediary between one person's heart mind and soul and another person's," he said. For one person, it might mean access for those with print impairment -text to speech. Or Image description," he said, citing as an example, a photo of the underside of an engine in car mechanics; "what is the image telling me?"
4. Freedom of operation: Input/output control. "There is no reason it should be confined to people with five fingers," McNaught said, noting other options of a mouse, keyboard, and voice output: a screen reader.
"When text is set free, readers are set free," he said.
Director of Universal Access
Wise explored why, from the publisher's perspective, accessibility makes sense.
1. "Accessible publishing brings us closer to our readers and customers. We can help students with disabilities to access higher educataion. We can help teachers provide access to those students," she said. "For educational publishers this makes sense. Parents get frustrated [when trying] to get access to A-level materials to support their children at critical times."
For trade publishers, she noted, "10-15 percent of the population has a print disability-sight problems." So publishers need to "help e-book retailers meet their responsibilities to provide access to their services. Add text to speech functions."