19 Responses to “Producing Accessible Ebooks”

  1. Kevin says:

    What a fantastic piece, Laura. Thanks for bringing it all together.

  2. Jaume Balmes says:

    Hi Laura, nice article.

    But… how about using ARIA labels instead of old epub:type attributes?

  3. Quote: “One of the best things you can do for your content is MAKE IT LEGIBLE TO MACHINES. The gobbledy-gook that InDesign spits out, for example, needs to be fixed up. InDesign creates generic, meaningless HTML – and soup, I like to call it. – See more at: http://epubsecrets.com/producing-accessible-ebooks.php#sthash.flobuhqS.dpuf

    My suggestions:

    1. Raise bloody hell with Adobe about this failing, suing if necessary. We’re paying at least $240 a year for a product that’s hardly been tweaked in perhaps four years, that’s $1000 we’ve been robbed of for nothing but a few insert-Unicode tweaks. It’s Adobe’s responsibility to clean up that code. Make them do it.

    2. I research, write, edit, format and publish books. I don’t have the time or desire to add cleaning up bad HTML to my already too-long competence list. Give us a user-friendly tool to do that until Adobe quits being jerks.

  4. Laura Brady says:

    Fair point, Jaume. And we should all start moving toward aria roles. But I am trying to keep it simple and make it possible from the tools people use.

  5. Laura Brady says:

    Thank you, Kevin.

  6. Laura Brady says:

    I would suggest, Michael, that you hire a competent ebook developer. Settling for the code that InDesign produces means settling for the least value you can get for your ebooks.

  7. Susan Hannah says:

    Thank you for this excellent article Laura. All advice appreciated.

  8. M. says:

    “DEFINE THE LANGUAGE and language shifts. I have heard a snippet of French in the middle of English content get read aloud in a French accent by a text-to-speech reader. Technology is amazing!”

    Could you please explain how you achieved this? Which text-to-speech system combined to which reading app? Is this feature commonly available? I have no real experience with text-to-speech but I am desperate to learn more about this particular aspect.

  9. Susan Hannah says:

    Laura, do you find Quark XPress to be a better program from which to build ebooks?

  10. Laura Brady says:

    That’s a good questions, Susan. I have an ancient grievance against Quark which leads me to doubt it but it’s worth investigating.

  11. Laura Brady says:

    Almost all devices (phones, tablets, etc.) have Voiceover capability. See this article, for example: https://www.imore.com/how-use-voiceover-iphone-and-ipad

  12. JayPanoz says:

    As Laura explained, it happens at the Reading/Operating system level (VoiceOver on iOS and MacOS, Talkback on Android, Narrator in Windows 10, etc.).

    What you have to do though is defining the language.

    In InDesign → have an object, paragraph or character style with the foreign language set. (advanced character formats). It will export an xml:lang attribute for those styles.

    In markup → use “xml:lang” and “lang” attributes for text in foreign language.

    When screen readers are enabled, and if the set is available for the foreign language then text with those attributes will be read aloud with the proper voice.

  13. […] Making Your Books Accessible […]

  14. M. says:

    Thanks! I will give it a try.

  15. […] and encouragement, epubsecrets.com has published a number of accessibility posts. Start with this piece on producing accessible ebooks by Laura Brady editor-in-chief, then explore the site for much more in-depth […]

  16. […] (Don’t forget: use the semantically meaningful <section> instead of the blank <div>, and close it with </section>. For more semantic insight, check out Laura Brady’s post, Producing Accessible Ebooks: http://epubsecrets.com/producing-accessible-ebooks.php.) […]

  17. […] In an attempt to make my work a little easier, I have a file that I update frequently with links and resources about ebook accessibility. I share it here with you but on the explicit premise that if you have resources to add, you will let me know. (In the comments or on Twitter: @LauraB7.) If you are still confused about why you should spend time and energy creating accessible ebooks, I refer you back to this article. […]

  18. silambarasan.s says:

    i need accessibility epub sample file.