FAQ's about EPUB

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Questions from the Webinar: Accessibility Initiatives of Major Publishers

Question: Do the VitalSource and RedShelf texts have image descriptions?

  • Pearson Answer: Yes, we work with external subject matter experts to draft these descriptions (both short and long) then verify before release with qualified quality assurance partners.
  • Macmillan Answer: Yes! We include short and long image description on all of titles. Older titles may not have alt text but we can provide it on request if it’s missing.
  • McGraw Hill Answer: As we work to refine our EPUB 3 files, we will add image descriptions in the near future. For most titles publishing after 2017, we can provide a file containing the image descriptions
  • Wiley Answer: Yes. All new titles include image descriptions. Older books (pre-2017) may not include as much information, but you may contact permissions@wiley.com to make requests.

Question: This is a question for all publishers. Regarding usability testing - who are the end users that are doing the testing are they individuals with disabilities and/or individuals without disabilities.

  • Pearson Answer: All of our accessibility quality assurance blends manual and automated testing. We work with a variety of top tier accessibility companies where user testing is often executed by persons with disabilities using assistive technologies.
  • Macmillan Answer: The third party that we use for auditing, Tech For All, employs testers with and without disabilities that are testing our products. We also do independent testing, through our user experience and learning science teams and in classroom settings with students that do and do not have disabilities.
  • Wiley Answer: We work with a few different vendors to do testing on both our products and our platforms. Some testing is done internally by our developer teams, using tools such as Axe and JAWS. We do not currently test with users with disabilities, but we are in the process of developing a program to do just that. Please contact us if students or teachers would like to be involved.

Question: For all panelists: What formal training certification(s) do you recommend for individuals and/or teams working on accessibility issues in digital books or products?

  • Pearson Answer: We host internal accessibility courseware, run accessibility training programs working with Deque and many on the Pearson accessibility team possess IAAP certifications.
  • Macmillan Answer: My team has done ICT accessibility certification courses through EdX (the course is now archived or I would provide the link). They also explored coursework with IAAP, University of Illinois (online.illinois.edu/IADP) and CUNY (sps.cuny.edu).

Question: Some of the publishers listed their accessibility emails. Is it possible to get the direct emails for those who didn’t list them?

  • Pearson Answer: Disability.support@pearson.com
  • Macmillan Answer: webaccessibility@macmillan.com
  • McGraw Hill Answer: accessibility@mheducation.com
  • Wiley Answer: accessibility@wiley.com

Question: This is to all panelists: How do you get the message out to faculty - esp for STEM classes - that you DO have accessible materials esp in products like My----Lab. I've faculty say they have no idea that it's available or how to get it.

  • Pearson Answer: Pearson is currently building training materials that will allow us to better share accessibility messaging. We hope to be hosting regular webinars for faculty and staff as well as making sure we communicate the messaging internally to our sales teams.
  • Macmillan Answer: Social media, marketing material, training our sales and marketing team about accessibility and how to talk about it on campus, adding more and clearer labels to content on our platforms so instructors can see what resources are accessible… I’m sure that there’s a lot more that we could be doing and I would love to hear if there are suggestions - Rachel.Comerford@macmillan.com
  • Wiley Answer: The accessibility team at Wiley does a lot of internal marketing, working with sales and product development teams to stress the social, business, and legal importance of accessibility. It is a slow process, but we are starting to make progress. We are working on internal training sessions to better educate our teams and make sure that our customers have what they need. Organizations like NISO and STEM, which cater to the scholarly publishing world, have recently become more interested in accessibility as well.

Question: Do these publishers actually work with university bookstores to ensure that the bookstores can sell the alternative texts? I see so many books that have an alt version on ATN, or even Amazon, but that version isn't sold in the bookstore!

  • Pearson Answer: Yes, please have your bookstore contact their Pearson rep.
  • Macmillan Answer: Yes! With campus bookstores, campus administrators, whoever we can. In our case, the version on ATN isn’t even an alternative version - it’s the same one we have for sale. The goal we have is for students to not have to retrieve special alternative versions but to always have accessible products, and only accessible products, available to them.

Question: ALL PUBLISHERS: regarding products like My_xyzLab, MH's Connect\Learnsmart etc... When will you all be able to say these products are accessible? Looking for a date.

  • Pearson Answer: We are close to becoming “born accessible” for our thousands of higher education products and have roadmaps to align with accessibility standards for each. Please contact us for specific information regarding the products in use.
  • Macmillan Answer: Macmillan Learning has three platforms currently available for sale: SaplingPlus, LaunchPad, and Achieve Read and Practice and the goal of WCAG 2.0 AA compliance in our platforms. We are also developing other iterations of the Achieve platform. SaplingPlus just underwent a huge accessibility overhaul after an audit and meets nearly all of the WCAG 2.0 A and AA criteria with just a few acceptions. Over the next year we are focused on fixing those exceptions and making updates to the user experience so it’s also more fun to use with assistive technology. LaunchPad is nearly done with the first phase of a three phase remediation project where the team has combined user experience and accessibility studies into one development process. Phase 2 will begin in the early fall and go into January and Phase 3 will finish out the school year. Achieve Read and Practice meets nearly all WCAG 2.0 A and AA criteria and as our user base grows, we are carefully developing the tools in the platform for a more user friendly accessible experience with the helpful feedback from our incredible customers. Finally, the platforms that are in development are being designed with the goal of being born accessible. We are testing as we go both with automated testing tools and with users to try to create the best possible experience. These timelines do sometimes shift, depending on resources available, bug reports, and other, unpredictable variables, and so we provide roadmaps on request for our platforms that are updated quarterly via webaccessibility@macmillan.com.
  • Wiley Answer: There are three versions of the WileyPLUS platform: WileyPLUS Learning Space, WileyPLUS, and WileyPLUS NextGen (WPNG). All three are still active, but most accessibility work is being focused on WPNG. Wiley is planning to sunset the other two. We leverage partnerships with VitalSource and Canvas for platform support. We do not yet have a VPAT for WPNG, but it will be available in the coming months.

Question: Does anyone know of a resource for more in depth learning about epub 3?
Answer: There is an excellent Lynda.com course on building Accessible EPUBs using InDesign at https://www.lynda.com/InDesign-tutorials/EPUB-Accessibility-Using-InDesign/751319-2.html. The DAISY Consortium offers the Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base at http://kb.daisy.org/publishing/docs/. Coming soon from the W3C’s EPUB Community Group is documentation on Mozilla Developer Network about EPUB Best Practices.

Question: We have been through this before - Pearson claims it doesn't deny PDF requests, then we forward them dozens of PDF denials they have already sent us, and then... nothing.
Answer: The denial in ATN is accompanied with an email from alternate.textbooks@pearsoned.com in which the last paragraph asks you to please email disability.support@pearson.com in order to ask for the PDF. That is the venue through which Pearson is currently providing PDFs for books which are already in their accessibility store.

Question: Regarding the last answer: Could this be automated within ATN if denied?
Answer: Pearson is an active partner with ATN and will have this discussion, thank you for the feedback.

Question: Pearson: what is your past practice with titles that faculty put on reserve in say library in providing alt format?
Answer: For any alternate format request the DSS office should request files from the ATN Request Form or the Pearson DRS request form.

Question: What is the status of the accessibility of Statcrunch?
Answer: Phase 1: Full keyboard accessibility for the application (Done). This is currently available.
Phase 2: Screen reader accessibility for the application (Done).
Phase 3: Full accessibility for the StatCrunch website and the application (December 2019). The website is being redesigned currently with the plans to release the new website with full accessibility in December 2019.

Question: Pearson, some students have the digital version of the text but they need a print copy. Would this be available to the student at no cost since they have paid for the digital version?
Answer: We will partner with you to ensure learners have access to the appropriate materials. Your first point of contact for a print request would be your local sales rep.

Question: Pearson - If an instructor is not using MyMathlab, is there a way to request the html book separately for a student?
Answer: We will partner with you to ensure your learners succeeds, if access to the HTML version is required, please contact disability.support@pearson.com.

Question: Pearson - For students who are not braille users, what is the process for gaining access to a Pearson product for use with a screen reader?
Answer: Pearson products are built to comply with WCAG 2.0 AA standards. No specific extra steps are required for a screen reader to access the courseware.

Question: Pearson - Does your partnership with T-Base include Nemeth and Music Braille?
Answer: T-Base specializes in Nemeth, Music, Literary (UEB and EBAE).

Question: Pearson - Are all of your titles available through the Access Text Network or are some exclusively available through VitalSource?
Answer: VitalSource houses all of our accessible EPUB documents. Both ATN and the Pearson DRS system service requests for PDF documents. If we have an accessible EPUB, we will first point the requestor to the VitalSource solutions.

Question: The partnership with Kurzweil, are these files already in the Kurzweil format and zoned properly?
Answer: We are loading PDF's or EPUBs into Kurzweil. The zoning and formatting depends on the state of the source material. For older PDF's that information will be limited.

Question: Pearson - Regarding your partnership with Kurzweil: Will Kesi files be available instead of PDF's
Answer: Yes

Question: Pearson - Are you working with other technology then Kurzweil, ( we cannot afford it) like Read & Write?
Answer: Read & Write does work with many Pearson products. We haven't entered into any specific partnerships but are always happy to discuss opportunities.

Question: How is ePUB3 with math content?
Answer: EPUB3 handles math well with MATHML. Some publishers also use Math as images with Alt Text. Or both, using a ‘fall back’ method. How Math displays can also be dependent on the reading system that’s being used. For instance some reading systems may not accept MathML, which is why images of equations with alt text are a necessary fall back.

Question: Will more EPUB files be made available in the future?
Answer: That is up to each individual publisher as to what files they provide. There has been an increase over the past year and a half in the number of EPUB files stored by publishers in ATN. My guess would be that this trend will continue.

Question: Is Vital Source accessible for JAWS? VoiceOver?
Answer: Yes, the online version of BookShelf is accessible to screen-readers.

Question: Will a copy of the PowerPoint presentation be available.
Answer: Yes, you can find it at bit.ly/epub-atn