[Athen] FW: Big issue with Adobe inaccessibility

E.A. Draffan ea at emptech.info
Thu Dec 4 06:00:59 PST 2008

Just thinking about Adobe Digital Editions - it is possible to get into the
library with a series of keystrokes but really once in the books the text
only appears to zoom to font 12 and you do not seem to be able to change the
colour of the background etc. If anyone else has been experimenting with
this application it would be interesting to learn about any other issues
that arise.

TechDis have flagged up the problem as you can see below and I found a blog
on the subject

Many thanks.

Best wishes E.A.

Mrs E.A. Draffan
Learning Societies Lab,
ECS, University of Southampton,
Tel +44 (0)23 8059 7246

From: Alistair McNaught [mailto:Alistair.McNaught at HEAcademy.ac.uk]
Sent: 03 December 2008 23:27
Subject: Big issue with Adobe inaccessibility

Dear EA
I mentioned to you the problems with Adobe Digital Editions and the fact
that educational institutions using this software will be making themselves
vulnerable to the disability legislation owing to its non-exisent
accessibility options. I have copied you the text of my email to the
Publishers Association accessibility steering group below. I have also
copied the same text to the JISC projects dealing with e-texts and Alicia
Wise at the Publishers Licensing Society. Becta are now aware of the
problems which have been passed up to some of their senior personnel. If you
could make your contacts aware of these issues I would be grateful.
I am taking the liberty of contacting colleagues involved with e-book
publishing and procurement regarding an early warning of an issue that may
become bigger over the next few months and that might have implications for
your own work.
You may be aware that the Adobe Digital Editions software is being promoted
as a leading e-book reader. Early usability testing by the RNIB and others
are finding it very poor in terms of accessibility. The following issues
render it inappropriate for many users with disabilities:
*           Inadequate magnification options
*           No options to change colours, contrast or fonts
*           Does not work with screen readers
*           Does not work with text to speech software.
With many educational publishers investing heavily in e-book developments we
believe it is the interests of publishers (and procurement services such as
the JISC) to be aware of these difficulties - educational purchasers will
expect their goods to be delivered through an accessible medium.
The RNIB is currently engaging in talks with Adobe. The JISC TechDis service
is talking with Becta in terms of advice and guidance to the education
sector. We will keep you informed as to developments. In the meantime our
best advice would be to ensure any discussions with potential e-book
distributors makes a point of finding out about accessibility of the
delivery mechanisms before committing to a partnership – whichever product
you are considering.
If you have any comments or advice from your own perspectives we would be
very pleased to hear them and, if appropriate, incorporate them in future
guidance for the sectors.
Hope this is helpful to you.
Alistair McNaught
Senior Advisor for Further Education
JISC TechDis service
The Higher Education Academy Building
Innovation Way
York Science Park
YO10 5BR
Mobile - 07870 567 659
Skype - alistair_techdis

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