Notes from the Pressbooks Accessibility Group

Posted by Ned Zimmerman

Pressbooks’ first meeting on accessibility with our Open Source partners took place today. Hugh and I were joined by Jess Mitchell and Jonathan Hung from the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD and Brad Payne and Josie Gray from BCcampus. We identified and discussed four initial tasks to begin work on making Pressbooks more accessible and inclusive for authors and readers alike:

  1. Conducting an audit of the Pressbooks administration interface for accessibility and inclusivity (see pressbooks/pressbooks#487);
  2. Conducting an audit of the Pressbooks web book theme and root theme interfaces for accessibility and inclusivity (see pressbooks/pressbooks#488);
  3. Integrating the IDRC Fluid Project’s display preferences tool into the Pressbooks web book theme and root theme interfaces (see pressbooks/pressbooks#489);
  4. Assessing potential tools to help authors review their books’ content for accessibility and inclusivity (see pressbooks/pressbooks#490).

In our discussion of the fourth point, we heard from Josie, who in her work at BCcampus has been using a combination of tools (including Total Validator and AChecker and manual review against to the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to assess the accessibility and inclusivity of their OERs. Jess and Jonathan also recommended WAVE for this.

We plan to have a second meeting of the accessibility group within one month (tentatively on Wednesday, October 26, 2016) and in the meantime, I will be working with Jess and Jonathan to get a development instance of Pressbooks running at the IDRC for auditing purposes, working on the integration of the Fluid display preferences module, and continuing discussions with Jess and Jonathan on the IDRC’s metadata tools. Brad and Josie will work on compiling a matrix of problem patterns that Josie has identified in her content review work, and Jess and Jonathan will walk through their audit process and results with the accessibility group at our next meeting so that we can all get a sense of best practices. Thanks to everyone who could join us today! It was an exciting first meeting, and we’re looking forward to continued collaboration on this important component of the Pressbooks project.