Thought Leadership – W. W. Norton Speaks on Accessibility Page 2

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Evan: We’re not excluding any subjects. It’s just that accessibility isn’t sufficiently solved for some subjects. Musical notation and chemistry, for instance, where the notation and drawings are important to the content but unfortunately accessibility is not yet adequately solved for our standard of user experience.

Amnet: And what about math equations? How are you handling them as far as accessibility goes in your e-books?

Matt: Markup languages like MathML are ideal for equations but the rendering and compatibility between browsers is not quite there yet. Mostly, equation issues are solved through the creation of alt text descriptions that serve as an accommodation.

Amnet: Could you give us a summary of the topic you had discussed at CSUN?

Evan: I described how we revamped our digital publication production workflow and I created a set of tools for creating our ebooks that make it easier to QA our e-books for everything, including accessibility. Mateus (former ebook production manager) talked about what the previous workflow looked like, how e-books were made, and I spoke about tools created to facilitate easier e-book production.

Amnet: What type of source files does the platform accept? 

Evan: It’s built on open web platform technology, so it can accept any kind of format.

Amnet: What difficulties are you encountering getting alt text for your projects?

Matt: The biggest difficulty with alt text is the sheer amount that needs to be created within a stipulated time and finding vendors who can deliver within the schedule along with accurate descriptions. Given how tough internal QA can be, we rely on vendors to provide high quality and accurate alt text descriptions.

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