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Accessible EPUB 3 by Matt Garrish

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Chapter 3. It’s Alive: Rich Content Accessibility

It’s now time to turn our attention to the features that EPUB 3 introduces to expand on the traditional reading experience; the excitement around EPUB 3 doesn’t come from text and images, after all.

This section takes focus on the dynamic aspects of EPUB 3. Rich media, audio integration, and scripted interactivity are all new features that have been added in this version. Some of these features, like audio and video support and scripting, introduce new accessibility challenges, while others, like overlaying audio on your text content and enhancing text-to-speech rendering, improve access for all. (The members of this latter group are also commonly referred to as accessibility superstructures, because they are added on top of core EPUB content to enhance accessibility.)

But let’s get back to business of being accessible…

The Sound and the Fury: Audio and Video

The new built-in support for audio and video in EPUB 3 has its pros and cons from both mainstream and accessibility perspectives. The elements simplify the process of embedding multimedia, but come at the expense of complicating interoperability, and by extension accessibility—specifically as relates to video.

There is currently no solution for the general accessibility problem of video, namely that not all reading systems may natively play your content. The video element permits any video format to be specified, but not all reading systems will support all formats. Support for one ...

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