By Agata Mrva-Montoya
We are delighted to become a signatory of the Accessible Books Consortium’s Charter for Accessible Publishing.
By signing the charter, we are committed to making our books fully accessible to all users. Specifically, the charter asks publishers to:
- state their accessibility policy on their website
- nominate a senior manager who will be responsible for accessibility
- raise awareness among, and provide technical training for, relevant staff
- designate and publicise a point of contact in their organisation to assist persons with print disabilities to access their publications
- test their digital publications for accessibility, incorporating appropriate feature descriptions and metadata
- monitor their progress in this area
- promote the adoption of accessibility standards throughout the supply chain
- support national and international collaboration with organisations representing persons with print disabilities so as to increase the availability of publications in accessible formats.
We have been able to improve the accessibility of our ebooks thanks to our involvement in the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative, and working closely together with two organisations: the Royal Institute for Blind and Deaf Children (RIBDC) and Infogrid Pacific (IGP).
While we have embedded some of the accessibility requirements (such as the inclusion of ALT text) into our workflows since we started producing ebooks inhouse, the feedback we received from RIBDC on our ePub files, and the advice on accessibility metadata was invaluable. In response, we revised our processes and were able to produce ePub 3 files which conformed to the level A success criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 specifications.
Our collaborators at IGP have been instrumental in enhancing the system we use to produce our book files, to improve the level of accessibility of our ebooks. Our ePub 3 files are now WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliant, which is really exciting.
Apart from making sure that we are producing accessible ePub files, we have revised our submission guidelines and the editorial process to ensure that each submission has met the standards as well.
And we are not done yet. We need to improve the accessibility of our PDF files and continue to finetune our publishing workflows so that the implementation of accessibility standards is efficient and effective.