Note: This blog is reposted from Benetech’s Blog.
By Robin Seaman, Director, Content Acquisition
Today, May 21, in recognition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), we are happy to share that the global publishing company John Wiley & Sons has announced that, starting this month, it will begin including alternative text (alt text) in nearly all of its frontlist books. By incorporating alt text into its workflow, Wiley makes its content accessible to users of all abilities. The company developed its alt text guidelines in consultation with Benetech’s DIAGRAM Center and other industry standards organizations. Wiley is one of the first major publishers to include alt text this broadly. Our team is honored to have contributed to this important win on the path towards accessibility in mainstream publishing.
Alt text is a description that provides contextual meaning to images and illustrations. A building block of accessibility, alt text offers an alternative way to perceive images and illustrations for readers with disabilities, such as those who are blind or have visual impairments. Non-visual browsers and screen readers express alt text, thus enhancing comprehension and providing a richer reading experience for these readers. As an element of universal design, alt text improves not only the accessibility of digital images but also the versatility of digital content for all readers’ benefit: for instance, it can enable read-aloud for a user who prefers to listen to a book.
Benetech established the DIAGRAM Center—a research and development center and an initiative of our Global Literacy Program—in order to make it easier, cheaper, and faster to create and use accessible digital images. The DIAGRAM team and partners are exploring and developing cutting-edge image accessibility technology solutions for text alternatives as well as different learning modalities, such as tactile graphics, sonification, haptic interfaces and 3D printed images.
In its announcement, Wiley quotes Benetech President, Betsy Beaumon, who says: “Readers accessing content through digital audio simply hear the word ‘image’ when alt text is not provided, depriving them of information critical to understanding the relevance of the image. By ensuring that alt text is provided for all images, Wiley is showing great leadership in the growing movement in the publishing industry to ensure that content that is born digital is also ‘born accessible.’ This is a milestone achievement.”
Thank you, Wiley, for your partnership and leadership in making accessibility a critical and integral component in the creation of all content!
Are you ready to turn it up?
Get ready to have a blast with the Bookshare reading challenge! This summer, we invite you to Turn It Up and Tell the World what to read.
Who knows what’s cool better than you? No one – that’s why we want you to read and share your favorite summer books. You’ll help other members discover awesome new titles, and you’ll get tons of thanks and kudos from the Bookshare community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the Bookshare website!
How Does It Work?
- Read – find cool titles on Bookshare and read them
- Share – using Facebook, Twitter and the Bookshare website, share what’s cool about the books you read
- Get Thanks and Kudos – get recognized by the community, join discussions on Facebook and Twitter, and have your books featured on Bookshare
Your favorite books will become popular, and you’ll get the kudos you deserve!
The Turn It Up and Tell the World reading challenge starts on June 22nd. Make sure you’re ready by following these steps:
- Visit our Reading Challenge page for details, staff book picks, and the latest updates
- Sign up to get important challenge email updates
- Make sure your membership is active
- Find books (Teachers: get your students ready by adding titles to a Reading List.)
Don’t miss this challenge! Make sure you get all the important news and updates. Good luck!