Accessibility in Reading

Recently, I’ve been thinking about how accessible books are, and how accessible the book community as a whole is. I have fairly limited, and probably outdated, experience with accessibility features since I don’t require any myself. But it’s still something I think about when I’m reading, writing, or interacting with the book community online, and not something I tend to see being discussed within the parts of the book community I’ve become involved in.

I notice accessibility features when I read in digital book formats. Audio books are rapidly growing in popularity. eBooks and eReaders can change the color, text size, and font. Screen readers are being applied to more eBook programs, which is great for when a book doesn’t have a fully audio version. Plus the variety of reader product specially design for people who are blind or visually impaired, or have other vision, comprehension, or mobility issues.

It’s also something I notice is often lacking in blog posts that feature images without corresponding text or alt text. Or videos that display something important on the screen that isn’t ever said or written in the video’s description. Or videos that lack captions. I don’t think people who do these things are doing so intentionally, and I’m sure I’ve done them in the past, but it’s something that I’ve become increasingly more aware of and try to remain conscious of when I’m using something visual or placing a link in my own posts.

So, this probably doesn’t add anything to the bigger discussion and development of accessibility features, but I think it’s worth a mention. I love books and the book community, so I love thinking about ways we’re making them more widely available around the world.

Let me know if you think about accessibility in your own content, any notable features you’ve come across, or if there’s anything I could be doing better to make my content more accessible.