APS 2024 – Glossary

Accessibility metadata: Metadata that is used specifically to describe the accessibility of content. This specifically refers to the schema.org-developed set of HTML-expressed microdata used to describe the accessible qualities of content.

Accessible Content: Content that incorporates accessible formatting standards into its design; i.e., the document is structured for navigation

Accessible Publishing: The publishing of works designed in such a way that the product is accessible and compatible with assistive technologies

Alt-text: Alternative text, or Alt-text, is text that is used in place of graphic content (e.g., pictures, charts, graphs, etc.) for those who cannot view the non-text content.

ARIA roles (layer of semantic description): ARIA “role” attributes are used to provide more information about the structure of a document. It helps make a document more accessible by making clear the “logical reading order” to assistive devices.

Assistive Technology: An encompassing term for software and technological devices that have been developed with features that enable people with disabilities to access digital content.

Assistive technologies for print-disabled readers include:

  • Braille
  • Refreshable braille displays
  • Screen readers
  • Devices that can play DAISY books
  • And more!

Born-accessible Publishing: A phrase developed in part by Benetech to describe content that is developed with accessibility in mind from the start.

Colour contrast ratios: The contrast ratio between foreground and background colours.

Context break: Context breaks denote a break in the continuity of the narrative. It represents a shift in thought, time, location, or similar in a work of fiction or non-fiction. These changes are typically represented by a large blank space between paragraphs, which sometimes including asterisms, dingbats, and other decorations.

Digital Publishing: The publishing of works designed to be read using technology, such as a computer, mobile devices, eReaders, etc.

Dingbat: a typographical device other than a letter or numeral (such as an asterisk), used to signal context breaks or divisions in text.

EPUB: An ebook file format that uses the “.epub” file suffix. An EPUB file is a compressed file that contains all of the text, images, CSS, HTML, XML, navigation information, etc. that make up an ebook.

EPUB 3: The most recent version of the EPUB file format, released in October of 2011. For a detailed list of the improvements and additions made on EPUB 2, see this webpage: EDRLab: EPUB 2 vs EPUB 3. It is also the main commercial publishing format.

Fixed layout: A fixed layout file usually contains images exactly positioned relative to text. Some good examples of fixed-layout publications are photo books, magazines and comics. Fixed-layouts cause major accessibility issues for readers of alternate formats.

HTML 5: HTML 5 is the most recent version of HTML, HyperText Markup Language. HTML is used to label pieces of content, which the computer then reads and uses to render the content of the page. For example, there are six levels of Headings, which use the tags <h1> through to <h6>. The computer will render these as different sizes, and it will also be clear to screen readers what level of navigation is being presented.

Inclusive Publishing: The publishing of works that takes the needs of every reader into consideration

Inline styles: Inline styles refers to styling in the HTML markup, not separated out in the corresponding Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

Languages – Content languages and Language shifts: Setting the language ensures that assistive technologies correctly interpret and render the text, and that reading systems can make language enhancements available for users.

Link text: In an HTML link, link text is what is visible on the webpage. The URL wrapped in the <a href=””> tag is the link target, and the text that appears between the<a href=””>…</a> tags is the link text.

Page List: The page list is a simple ordered list of links to the page break locations. This is particularly important for academic/educational publications, but can also be important for trade publications, for example if the reader is in a book club and wants to ensure they can easily find what others are referencing.

Page Title: These are meaningful titles that are added to a document, which will be read by the assistive technology. If a Page Title is not used, the technology will generally read the document title instead, which may not be meaningful.

Reflowable: In a reflowable EPUB, the content is fluid and can be adjusted to fit the size of the screen. Font-size and colour are also adjustable.

Refreshable braille display: A refreshable Braille Display is a hardware device which can be connected to a computer or mobile device and converts text into Braille in real time. It contains sets of pins which are raised and lowered to form the Braille encoding, which allows users to read by touch.

A braille display can show up to 80 characters from the screen and is refreshable—that is, it changes continuously as the user moves the cursor around on the screen.

Screen Reader: A screen reader is software that runs at the same time as other programs and reads aloud the text that is displayed on the computer or mobile screen, enabling a blind person to use a computer or mobile device such as a phone or tablet to navigate menus and read content within applications. Screen readers allow users to fully navigate web pages and applications using a keyboard. Screen readers output audio based on the underlying code of a page.

Text-to-Speech (TTS): Refers to the process of synthesizing speech audibly.

Visual content: Any content that is graphic in nature, including: photographs, drawings, maps, graphs, charts, etc.