[A11y] Accessibility in Open Textbooks

  • administrators

    @katya.pereyaslavska Thanks Katya, we’d love to have you join us! I’ll be reaching out to arrange a call for next week, so that will be a good chance for you to meet the rest of the group and get caught up. Details to come in the next day or so.

  • administrators

    Hi everyone! Sorry for the delay in regrouping for our next meeting, we’ve had a lot going on in the Rebus world.

    We’re all set to move forward here though, so if possible we’d like to have another meeting next week. Please let us know your availability with this Doodle poll (Note: times are in EST)

    Our plan is to have everyone read the completed reviews (you can find them here - let me know if you don’t have access), and in the meeting we will discuss areas of agreement, disagreement, different approaches and any questions. A huge thanks again to @michelle-reed, @greeark, @jmitchell and @josie-g for their work reviewing our guinea pig book.

    We’ll then start moving towards recommendations on tools and resources that we can start integrating into the Rebus process.

    I think @enambo might just be finishing his review, and @katya-pereyaslavska and @ro-mckernan, reading through the reviews should get you caught up, and we will recap in the meeting as well.

    Let me know if you have any questions! Thanks :)

  • I will be out of town most of the week next week and won’t be able to join you at any of the proposed times. My apologies. Michelle

  • administrators

    Hi all – we haven’t had much of a response to the Doodle poll yet to set a time for our next meeting, so I’m upping it again. Please let us know your availability if you haven’t already!

    I will add that if it’s too short notice for this week, we could also look at next Tuesday around 1:30 EST. If that would suit you better, let me know here (can’t edit the poll unfortunately).


  • @zoe I can only meet for the first 30 mins on Tues, the 23rd. I’m also getting ready to be out of town for a period of time as my sister is getting married (road trip to Lethbridge!). Don’t worry about finding a time that will work for me :)

  • administrators

    Hi again, everyone. We don’t seem to have had much luck getting everyone in a metaphorical room this week or next, so we’re going to try a different tack and start our next step asynchronously.

    The plan is to work on shared doc to draw out the key points from the different reviews, highlight any areas of concern or things that need clarification and start working towards some clear recommendations & next steps. I’ll take a first go at this document to provide some structure, then share it with you all here next week.

    Thanks to those who had gotten back to me about meeting, we appreciate it and are sorry it didn’t pan out!

  • administrators

    Hi all! It was great to see many of you on Monday in our Office Hours call. As I mentioned, work on an overview doc is still in progress – our textbook projects have been picking up so I’m juggling priorities, but it is underway! There are already some good threads appearing, so I’m looking forward to your thoughts on how we should act on them.

    I’ll also say that we had a great response to the call from some of the project leads we’re working with at the moment. One immediately added a section on accessibility to their author guide and another is hitting pause on sending the first chapters to reviewers so she can go back and rework the content with accessibility top of mind.

    In this second case, we have a bit of a question. The book is on writing literature reviews for education and nursing students, and the author (cc: @lindafrederiksen326) has been using colour to differentiate between examples for each of the two subjects. The colour isn’t the only thing communicating the information, but it is still a clear guide for the reader.

    It may be easier to start with “what” and “why” questions and expand on those. For example, [in blue: what is current research on obesity and why is it significant to nursing and health sciences]? Or, [in green: what is media literacy and why is it significant to education sciences]?

    In your expert opinions:
    a) should we be implementing a non-colour based system to differentiate between the education and nursing content?
    And b) what could/should that system be?

    Really appreciate your help on this!

  • @zoe I think your and the author’s instincts are right on – colour alone shouldn’t be used to convey difference in text. You can also apply styling differences to indicate the different types of content (ques vs answers) and you can indicate explicitly what is what (QUESTION: vs ANSWER:). In general I think it’s a good idea to figure out multiple ways (modes) of doing some one thing and using them all in a way that doesn’t overly complicate the content for the reader, but still conveys differences for different readers.

  • administrators

    @jmitchell Thanks Jess, really appreciate it! Glad to hear we’re on the right track. We’ll put some thought into other ways to manage this :slight_smile:

  • Hi friends! Has this work been on pause for a bit? Are there plans to connect anytime soon? Not that I’m keeping plenty busy (learning to make Thai Braille which is fascinating).

  • administrators

    Hi @greeark! Good to hear from you. I have to apologise, I have been the blocker on this. I hit a bit of a wall with the overview document and have been busily preparing the release of a few of our books for this coming semester, but I’m planning to get back to it this week, and will post the progress so far soon and invite suggestions for the recommendations section. I feel terrible for the delay after all your hard work, but we’re still committed to moving forward on this!

  • @zoe Okay! No rush on my part - I respect busy schedules :]

  • administrators

    Hi everyone,

    At long, long last I have something to share! I’ve spent the past few weeks (finally) writing up an overview of the reviews you all carried out (many) months ago, and from them have drawn up a proposed plan of action for both the Rebus Community and Pressbooks. This has culminated in an accessibility strategy development document. We’ve spent a bit of time with this doc internally and are now hoping to hear your thoughts on the recommendations laid out.

    I can’t apologise enough for the lengthy delay in getting this written up, especially to those of you who took the time to carry out the reviews on our behalf. I/we have been at full capacity managing our ongoing textbook projects and the working groups have unfortunately been the straw that would have broken the camel’s back (me being the camel in this scenario :camel:). We’ve been so grateful for your contributions and we’ll be better about keeping up our end of the bargain from here on out!

    Now that we’re moving again, we’d like to be able to release a public version of our accessibility strategy by the end of the year, adapted from the document linked earlier. With that goal in mind, we’re making it open to comment from this group for the next couple of weeks, through until November 15th.

    We’ll then open it up to comment from anyone else in the community and share the link more widely, before closing comments (at least for now - we expect feedback will be ongoing) on December 1st and aim to release a revised version by December 15th.

    I hope to hear from you all in the next few weeks. We’re pretty excited about some of the paths forward we’ve identified, but need your expertise to know if we’re on the right track and to see what else we could be doing. We know we have a great opportunity to build good accessibility practices into the Rebus model of publishing, and look forward to moving forward in doing so.


  • forgive the pedantic curiosity, but why should / not be used in equations to show division?

    i understand the desire for semantic perfection, and in some instances im sure that overlaps with accessibility, but this point just really sticks out for some reason, when lumped under accessibility.

    if nothing else, equations are complex enough (whether accessibility concerns are taken into consideration or not) that this problem should be either already solved, or impossible to solve on a large scale. and i know three conventions for multiplication (4 if you count parentheses) which makes it that much weirder that “/” is singled out. on a practical note, “dont use /” probably leaves some people wondering “well, what should be used instead? (and how do i type it with a keyboard?)” im sure i can find the unicode for “division” somewhere, but im not nearly as certain it is what you are advising as the alternative. as for this being a pedantic point-- i did admit that, i hope you dont find it too unreasonable. the curiosity is sincere and not rhetorical.

  • administrators

    @figosdev That’s a great question! Since I don’t know the answer myself, I might call on @jmitchell to explain to both of us why this is the suggested practice, or point us to a resource so we can learn more.

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