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Standards Working Group

2017 November 27
by Charles LaPierre

It is a thrilling time in the standards world with the publishing industry having great momentum toward adding extended descriptions to images. Of course, with great momentum comes rapidly changing practices, and we want to make sure that the relevant recommendations are being updated consistently to reflect what is supported by the current state of both the standards and the different reading systems.

As part of this effort, the Standards Working Group has been reviewing recommendations for how to mark up extended descriptions for the Web as well as inside an EPUB. We have nine separate tests based on using ARIA details, a future ARIA 1.1 specification. We have created an EPUB with various options and will be testing these to see how each performs with various screen readers and reading systems. In the meantime, we are also looking into updated alternatives that we can recommend immediately to publishers as they add extended descriptions to their EPUB books. Also on our radar is the need for standards around digital publishing such as media overlay support. Just this month, many of the working group’s members attended the annual TPAC meeting where they met with a number of W3C working group members to discuss exactly what future standards are needed for this quickly expanding area.

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