Seeing clearly

November 14, 2006

As accessibility is the watchword of the web standards movement, it’s kind of depressing to hear that traditional publishing is serving the blind and partially sighted community so badly: research for the Royal National Institute of the Blind found only twelve per cent of maths and eight per cent of science GCSE textbooks were available in a format which could be used be visually-impaired children.

The RNIB has led accessibility programmes for years – notably Daisy – and I happen to know it’s currently at work on a new XML-based standard for transferring all newly published material to accessible formats. While this represents a massive challenge – not least persuading publishers to supply data in whatever format they come up with – it also shows the massive benefits of digitisation: true access for all.

More: RNIB Web Access Centre Blog, Right to Read Campaign.

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