Now that we understand what is an eBook, let’s continue on to the second part of this “how to” series: accessibility.
Importance of Accessibility
We know how to proceed through a document thanks to a lifetime of visual hierarchy and design. We consider the text that is bolded, larger, or higher on the page more important than the regular, non-bolded, lower text. Based of what we see, we evaluate a text’s importance.
Some people with disabilities cannot easily access documents, because a machine cannot make those judgment calls when reading it. The assistive device needs a defined hierarchy to help the user read the document in its proper order. It’s our job, and university policy, to make sure our documents are accessible to all users, not just users who can see and hear. Fortunately for us, it only takes a few extra steps. Let’s take a look at the various elements that make an eBook accessible.
Learn more: go.osu.edu/act-wiki
Headings (titles for sections) provide structural hierarchal information for a document. To allow screen readers to skim the structure of the document and provide easier navigation, headings should be properly nested. For example, they should not jump from a Heading 1 (h1) to Heading 3 (h3).
Learn more: go.osu.edu/headings
“ALT Tags are invisible descriptions of images which are read aloud to blind users on a screen reader. Adding ALT text allows authors to include images, but still provide the content in an alternative text based format.” - Penn State’s AccessAbility website
Imagine you were reading a document to someone over the phone and you came across an image. How would you describe it to the person? That is your AltText.
Learn more: go.osu.edu/alttext
Link text should be descriptive enough to detail the destination; not just a “click here.” Links should be longer than a single word, so that users with motor control disabilities will not have difficulties clicking the link.
Learn more: go.osu.edu/linkdescriptions
If your eBook supports video, all video and audio elements should provide a written transcript or embedded captions of what is being said. If you use video or audio elements in your eBooks, a text transcript or other text based material should be provided. Visual information critical to comprehension should be included in the text based materials.
Learn more: go.osu.edu/captionsandtranscripts
Now that we understand how accessibility is important, we can move on to the actual creation of our flowing eBook. Be sure to stay tuned to Part 3 of this series.
In this series we will cover:
- What is an eBook?
- Formatting in Word – Mac
- Formatting in Word – PC
- Converting in Calibre
- Getting the eBook on Your Device