Building an accessible ebook

Jens Troeger
Aug 9 · 6 min read
An ebook reader, iPad, a notebook and pen, and a cup of hot chocolate all on a rough wooden table.
An ebook reader, iPad, a notebook and pen, and a cup of hot chocolate all on a rough wooden table.

What makes an ebook accessible?

Building accessible ebooks with Bookalope

A screen shot of Microsoft Word showing the book “Walden” whose text styling shows multiple defects in font size, weight, etc
A screen shot of Microsoft Word showing the book “Walden” whose text styling shows multiple defects in font size, weight, etc
A Word version of Thoreau’s “Walden”. While subtle, the styling of the text is inconsistent in font, size, weight, and line spacing. Headings use restyled versions of Word’s body text styles, and some text paragraphs use modified heading styles. By and large, the document contains the sort of styling and structural mess common with Word documents and which takes hours of tedious work to clean up.
A short screen cast of using Bookalope’s web UI to adjust the classification of a few paragraphs with only a couple of clicks
A short screen cast of using Bookalope’s web UI to adjust the classification of a few paragraphs with only a couple of clicks
Bookalope’s AI classified the original Chapter titles as Sections. With only a few clicks we can correct all headings across the entire document, and add more detailed information to some.
A short screen cast of using Bookalope’s web UI to add alternative text to an image.
A short screen cast of using Bookalope’s web UI to add alternative text to an image.
Just like paragraphs, so can images be classified or replaced for improved accessibility. Adding an alternative text to an image is crucial to describe the image’s content to vision impaired readers.
A short screen cast of using Bookalope’s web UI to review and fix spelling, punctuation, or typographical details.
A short screen cast of using Bookalope’s web UI to review and fix spelling, punctuation, or typographical details.
With the semantic structure in place, Bookalope checks the entire text for spelling, punctuation, and other typographical problems for the user to review and fix, or not.
A screen shot of Bookalope’s web UI to select a download format for the book, and to download the final converted file.
A screen shot of Bookalope’s web UI to select a download format for the book, and to download the final converted file.
Bookalope can generate a number of different file formats for download. For ebooks, accessibility is built in automatically because Bookalope ‘understands’ the book’s semantic structure.

Jens Troeger

Written by

Passionate code monkey, underwater photographer, meditation guide, traveler, book lover and typophile. Maker of @bookalope.

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