Certification of an EPUB Publication for Accessibility
There is a fundamental need to be able to certify that a given EPUB book is accessible so that people who need accessible books, or are purchasing accessible material for a people who need them, can be confidence that what they are buying, is in fact accessible. A concept we have been referring to as “buy accessible” – or the ability to know beyond doubt that what you are purchasing will meet your accessibility needs.
Benetech and DAISY have formed a partnership under the Google Impact Award to address this area of need. Once there is an approved EPUB specification, we can begin to test for accessibility. The process used for testing will document a step by step approach to certify that an EPUB publication is truly accessible. The process includes the use of human examination and special software designed to test for accessibility features and create a report on what has been found. The report will flag errors, and identify places where human judgment is needed to check a particular item, for example is the alt-text in this image meaningful. The development of the process is already underway and we are looking at the use of existing HTML accessibility checkers to build upon. We know that there are specific accessibility tests that need to be developed that go beyond HTML and WCAG, these will be built into this new accessibility checking tool. Make sure to stay tuned for updates on our progress and to learn about what the specific accessibility tests will be!