By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Johnson: ‘This Meaningful Milestone’The British education publishing company Pearson is being named this morning (April 17) a Benetech Global Certified Accessible publisher by Benetech, based in Palo Alto, California.
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, Benetech is a nonprofit company engaged in what it calls “software for social good.” Its ventures include Bookshare, an international ebook library for people with reading barriers.
Its Global Certified Accessible program credentials publishers which Benetech deems are producing ePub units that meet a set of various criteria for accessibility features in order to support the needs of all readers, including those with disabilities and learning differences.
Certification confirms that a publisher meets “EPUB Accessibility 1.0 Conformance and Discovery specification” and surpasses a publishing standard level coded in the industry as WCAG [Web Content Accessibility Guidelines] 2.0 AA. Benetech’s recognition means that these publishers are considered creators of fully accessible ePubs.
Michael Johnson, vice-president of content at Benetech, tells Publishing Perspectives, “When a publisher becomes Global Certified Accessible, they have demonstrated both their commitment to accessibility and also their ability to create fully accessible ebooks.
“Benetech commends Pearson for reaching this meaningful milestone and setting a stellar example for the broader publishing community.”
Publications certified from Pearson now use a format accessible for on-screen consumption. That means that its ePub files are free of all WCAG 2.0 AA code violations and have achieved a “Benetech Born Accessible score” of at least 80 percent or better.
Benetech reports that Pearson evaluated its workflow and conforms to EPUB accessibility guidelines, Benetech reports, based on the latest recommended version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 standards put into place by international standards organizations and the publishing community.
To handle Benetech’s rules and recommendations, Pearson used existing software, making workflow modifications to improve accessibility and putting the business into a position to automatically remediate more than 1,600 titles.
In a comment for this morning’s announcement, Pearson senior vice-president for product management David Kokorowski is quoted, saying, “Accessibility is critical to ensure that all learners have equal access to educational content.
“Becoming a Benetech Global Certified Accessible publisher is an important step toward achieving our mission of providing equitable opportunities for all learners, including those with disabilities and learning differences.”
More on Benetech’s “Born Accessible” initiative is here.