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3 Accessibility

Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA, 2005) it is your responsibility, as a publisher of educational content to ensure that your book meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 accessibility criteria.

What material needs to be made accessible?

Educational content which contain things like quizzes, audio, video or images need to adhere to universal design principles and consider users of all abilities and how they access materials.

What kind of accessibility statement needs to accompany an open textbook?

You may consider including an accessibility statement on how to request another format on the landing page to your book.

How can I make sure that my editor follows accessibility guidelines?

It is a good practice to discuss editorial changes with accessibility in mind, sharing existing guidelines and original project documentation and goals with your editor. New images added will need to have alt text, new sections will need to have a proper heading structure etc. It’s important to maintain the quality of your open textbook as it’s being revised.

Who is responsible for making reused open textbooks accessible?

Institutions that choose to reuse materials created elsewhere and put them in their own course websites take on the responsibility of making this content accessible to their own users.

What kind of toolkits are there to guide me through this process?

This BC Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit is an excellent resources and provides tips on accessibility throughout the authoring process outlining best practices of how to incorporate multimedia materials, resource template considerations and test a sample chapter for keyboard accessibility, any instructional content and reading navigation order. It addresses principles of universal design and provide best practices related to:

  • Organizing your content
  • Tagging images
  • Incorporating multimedia
  • Making formulas accessible
  • Ensuring font size and contrast ration meet accessibility criteria

At the end of this guide, a simple checklist document is available for a quick accessibility overview of a given open textbook.