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By Julie Ganner AE

We are delighted to announce that the Accessibility Initiative Working Party (AIWP) has received a grant from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund for our project, Books without barriers. The AIWP will use the grant to write and produce a free online guide for editors, writers and publishers on how to make books perceivable and understandable to readers with print disability.

The guide will provide practical instructions on how to remove accessibility barriers without any loss of meaning or clarity of expression, resulting in better books for everyone. We will build on the introductory guide published by the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative (AIPI) in 2019, which presented the case for inclusive publishing.

The guide will also address areas for book publishing not covered by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), including advice on:

  • multisensory language to distinguish ideas in books for young children
  • texts that involve symbols and equations, such as maths and chemistry
  • punctuation issues when text is transcribed into braille
  • what publishers should include in accessibility briefs for authors, editors and other contributors
  • improvements that can be made to printed texts for readers with conditions such as low vision and colour-blindness.

Since 2019, IPEd has been researching these issues with the assistance of the University of Sydney and members of the Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities.

We have now begun drafting the guide based on this research, and will seek extensive feedback from industry groups and the disability sector later this year. We aim to publish the guide in April next year, in time for the 2023 IPEd conference.