Chapter 2. Building a Better EPUB: Fundamental Accessibility

This guide takes a slightly different approach to accessibility because of the feature-rich nature of EPUB 3. Instead of grouping all the practices together under a single rubric of essentiality, I’m going to instead take a two-tier approach to making your content accessible.

This first section deals with the core text and image EPUB basics, while the second ventures into the wilder areas, like scripting and the new accessible superstructures you can build on top.

I’m going to start with a section on the fundamentals of accessible content, naturally enough, because if you get your foundation wrong, everything else degrades along with it.

A Solid Foundation: Structure and Semantics

The way to begin a discussion on the importance of structure and semantics is not by jumping into a series of seemingly detached best practices for markup, but to stop for a moment to understand what these terms actually mean and why they’re so important to making data accessible. We’ll get to the guidelines soon enough, but if you don’t know why structure and semantics matter, you’re already on the fast track to falling into the kinds of bad habits that make digital data inaccessible, no matter the format.

Although the terms are fairly ubiquitous when it comes to discussing markup languages and data modeling generally—because they are so important to the quality of your data and your ability to do fantastic-seeming things with it—they are often bandied ...

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