Ensuring everyone can actively engage and enjoy digital books (ePUB, audiobooks and book apps) is best practice from ethical, legal and business perspectives. Unfortunately poor accessibility design and /or procurement decisions preclude over 20% population from enjoying a great book or learning from a good textbook!
A11yPub, Australia’s first inclusive digital publishing symposium aims to improve the situation by bringing together a powerful array of national and international presenters to raise awareness and understanding about the:
- Benefits of inclusive digital books to end users, organisations and business,
- Requirements and strategies about legal imperatives to purchase accessible content,
- Solutions for authoring / publishing inclusive digital books
- Celebrating examples of quality inclusive digital books.
Understanding disability in the reading audience
Australian Bureau of Statistics data highlights that almost 1 in 5 Australians reported living with a permanent disability (18.3% or 4.3 million people). The prevalence of disability increases with age, with 1 in 3 people having a permanent disability by age 55 and by our early 80s rising to 1 to 1. However, these figures do not take into consideration the high rate of temporary disabilities due to injury and illness nor situational disabilities. This means that the prevalence of disability within the community is much larger than most people realise. As such, the number of people precluded from engaging with and enjoying digital books is far too large to ignore.
Understanding imperatives of equal access to information
We also need to be mindful of the legislative requirements around digital publishing content. The Australian Human Rights Commission highlights that, equal access to information and online services is a:
- right under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- requirement by law under the Disability Discrimination Act and Disability Standards for Education.
It is also a professional standard under the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. (See Standards 1.6, 2.6, 3.4, 4.1 and 7.2)
Now, with the release of Australian Standard AS EN 301 549:2016 in December 2016, the accessibility requirements of ICT products and services including digital books must be included as part of any public procurement process. Essentially, #noa11ynobuy.
Who needs to be up-skilled?
Pretty much everyone! The current level of inclusive books in the marketplace is very low. Nor is everyone up to date with the implications of new legislation and standards. That is A11yPub is open to all stakeholders interested in inclusive digital publishing. It will be invaluable for:
- Creators: Authors, publishers, media groups, app developers,
- Purchasers: End users, librarians in schools, local government, higher education or private organisations.
- Advisors: Disability peak bodies, government agencies, senior education staff and leaders.
- Date: Wednesday, 6 September 2017
- Venue: RIDBC Renwick Centre 361–365 North Rocks Road, North Rocks.
- Next step: To find out more and register visit the A11yPub site.