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For many years, audiobooks, Braille and large-type books were the only options for someone with visual impairment. While effective, there was a challenge of limited availability. Choices might be sparse, and often the most popular titles would take time to receive audio or Braille versions.
Digital publishing has raised expectations by introducing the concept of born-accessible books. With accessibility options built in to the digital structure, it becomes possible for someone who is disabled to enjoy a book as soon as it comes out. These developments, along with research and government support, are important efforts for individuals, publishers and society at large for multiple reasons.
The Size of the Audience Is Growing
A study conducted by the National Eye Institute showed that cases of visual impairment are growing. In fact, projections suggest that the numbers may double within the next 30 years. As this subset of the population becomes larger, publishers should work harder to address the needs of these individuals.
Technology has also made it possible to accommodate those with developmental or cognitive disabilities. This means even more people can benefit from improved accessibility in publishing.
The ADA Supports Accessible Reading
In 2008, Congress passed several amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act. These modifications clarified who the ADA protects and what criteria constitute a disability.
Within the text, reading is defined as a “major life activity.” Someone who has a “substantial limitation” in such tasks is considered disabled. The inclusion of reading on this list makes it clear that those who struggle to read inaccessible books have a great need.
It’s important to remember that reading is not just a leisure activity. Many people must read professional materials for work. Disabilities in this area may impede their career success.
If you want to add more accessibility features to your work, consider publication through Amnet Systems. There are publishing options that cater to both visual and hearing impairments as well as intellectual disabilities. Reach out today to make a difference.