EPUB 3 Working Group A11y Telco — Minutes

Date: 2021-03-25

See also the Agenda and the IRC Log


Present: Avneesh Singh, Matthew Chan, Wendy Reid, Gregorio Pellegrino, Ben Schroeter, Charles LaPierre, George Kerscher

Regrets: Tzviya Siegman


Chair: Avneesh Singh

Scribe(s): Matthew Chan


Avneesh Singh: https://w3c.github.io/epub-specs/epub33/a11y/index.html

Avneesh Singh: let’s move to the first issue originally created by gpellegrino and elevated by mgarrish

1. Page list ordering

See github issue #1500.

Matt Garrish: right now the pagelist is required to follow spine+content order
… pagelist will therefore match digital sequencing
… but should we lift the requirement, therefore allowing the pagelist to follow print sequencing
… right now there is no choice in it
… we did require this for toc, and we reduced that requirement
… i don’t have a strong position on this
… it really comes down to which one users expect, and what makes sense

Avneesh Singh: thoughts?

Wendy Reid: i have no seen RS that uses pagelist to dictate page number order in epub
… kobo doesn’t do it
… pagelist is more likely treated as just an additional nav aid, like toc

Gregorio Pellegrino: as far as i’ve tested i think that apple books uses it for UI toc, where they put “real” page numbers for different toc entries
… from my point of view, which are the use cases for end users for the pagelist?
… what are the requirements for RS?
… what are the requirements for content producers?

Avneesh Singh: one use case i would like to mention is if there is a classroom, and there are students using print, and a blind student using ebook
… if teacher says “move to page X”, then it make sense for pagelist to match print

Bill Kasdorf: what is the relationship of the pagebreak markers to the pagelist?
… i thought they always had to correspond?

Matt Garrish: They have to correspond. So, they need to be included in the pagelist, but why should they match the order of the epub content?

Bill Kasdorf: +1 to Matt

Matt Garrish: e.g. if an epub has reordered pages, and you’re looking for a particular print correspondence page, then how do you find it (without using a UI where you can type in a page number)

Gregorio Pellegrino: another use case could be for quotations, and for finding quotations in books
… usually quotations are based on print page numbers
… also, from UI point of view, few RS are using something like an input tool to navigate to page
… because there can be a mix of page number styles (e.g. a, i, I, arabic numbers)
… hard for a single tool to find any given page

Wendy Reid: any time i’ve seen implementation of pagelist it has been in toc style (e.g. a list of links)
… in this case it makes more sense to follow the correspondence order (e.g. print)
… and always be in linear sequence, of course

Avneesh Singh: so it seems like we are all in favour of relaxing the requirement of pagelist following content order

Matt Garrish: i think we can have some sort of a recommendation, at least, that pagelist follow the print

Bill Kasdorf: i’ve always thought of pagelist as a correspondence tool to an authoritative print equivalent
… but for publications without print equivalent, what is the purpose of pagelist?

Gregorio Pellegrino: CFI?

Wendy Reid: this is virtual page numbers. We’re exploring this topic. The need for these has become more prevalent recently

Bill Kasdorf: this is a key distinction. We should be careful with the distinction
… only use page number for print equivalent. The other one should be called “locators”

Avneesh Singh: we are using the same terms in wcag 2.2

Proposed resolution: relax strict requirement of sequential page numbers in EPUB 3 specification (Avneesh Singh)

Matthew Chan: +1

Matt Garrish: +1

Wendy Reid: +1

Bill Kasdorf: +1

Charles LaPierre: 0

Will: +1

Gregorio Pellegrino: +1

Ben Schroeter: +1

Resolution #1: relax strict requirement of sequential page numbers in EPUB 3 specification

Avneesh Singh: this may require main group approval later

Wendy Reid: we’re going to have to discuss this in the main group call, maybe on the agenda next week

Avneesh Singh: mgarrish will make changes and do PR

2. Rechecking accessibility

See github issue #1470.

Matt Garrish: this came up in ISO. How long does the certification of content being accessible last for? e.g. For website the certification might degrade over 5 years, after which the accessibility certification might not be trustworthy anymore
… less of a concern for packaged up epubs that shouldn’t change
… but what about reissues of epubs?
… should we have guidance for that? A specific recommendation? Leave it to authors?

Avneesh Singh: it will depend on publisher processes

Gregorio Pellegrino: we check all the books published by our members
… we hash each epub
… so when we get a new file that matches an existing isbn, we match the hashes
… if hash mismatch, we recheck a11y

Charles LaPierre: for GCA, once we certify a publisher, they can stamp all books coming off that workflow as certified
… but the publisher must get recertified each year
… and that recertification process will bring them up to the state of the art
… if they then reissue epub after that point, then they can update the certification as well
… i.e. our solution is to keep the publisher up to date

Avneesh Singh: if the user gets an old ebook, say 3 years old, how can the user ensure that the latest revision is accessible?

Charles LaPierre: the user would just refer to the a11y metadata in the reprint. And it would be up to the publisher to use the latest standards in the publishing pipeline
… between recertifications, we leave this up to the publisher

Ben Schroeter: if its a new edition, i would consider that a new publication
… that would go through whatever processes the publisher uses for normal a11y check
… in terms of GCA certified publishers
… i can see a case where a title goes through the certified workflow, but on republication changes are made (e.g. inserted image) that doesn’t conform with a11y standards
… this is a potential gap
… and also, we may be moving towards a world in which there are more and more frequent updates to epubs

Wendy Reid: any guidelines we put in place will have to apply across the board - from GCA certified to micro indie publisher
… for a lot of repubs, the content of the book is not really changing (maybe just update to copyright page or something)
… so we have to be careful of mandating recheck on “new hash” or every new revision
… maybe qualify by saying “if adding new content” or “if substantially changing content”

Charles LaPierre: +1 Wendy

Wendy Reid: but have exclusion for if you are just fixing typos or updating marketing material
… also, re. comparison between epub and website, epubs don’t replicate at the same rate

Matt Garrish: i think it has to be an informative section
… what wendyreid has described is similar to the qualifications that we once had on release identifier
… this is probably as far as we can go
… don’t want to get mired in questions of what it means to recheck
… maybe just say that standards change, and that when you do something to your epub you should just make sure that you are on top of the latest standards

Gregorio Pellegrino: one of our ideas was to add date of certification
… e.g. in accessibility summary

Charles LaPierre: the idea of a certification date is something we could definitely add
… that way publishers could change the certification date, or not, when they make other changes to the epub
… i’m wondering about if the publisher modifies something 3 years from now, and URLs for conformsTo have changed
… do they change the URLs to new URLs, or leave them as what they were at the point of initial certification?

Matt Garrish: hard question to answer, because we’re not negating the old standards
… maybe the date based system is a good way to go
… hard to make normative statements because of all the possibilities
… maybe we could rely on legislation to set the rules, and just offer some guidance

Avneesh Singh: we can start by providing non-normative text like mgarrish suggested
… let this mature for some number of years, and then revisit it

George Kerscher: when a publisher is doing update or new edition, if they have switched to a11y 1.1, wouldn’t they just start using the correct metadata URLs at that point?
… publishers are not all going to go from a11y 1.0 to 1.1 all at once

Proposed resolution: add non-normative text in ePUB Accessibility suggesting rechecking the publications for major changes that could effect accessibility (Avneesh Singh)

Wendy Reid: +1

Charles LaPierre: +1

Gregorio Pellegrino: +1

Matthew Chan: +1

Bill Kasdorf: +1

Will: +

Matt Garrish: +1

Ben Schroeter: +1

Will: +1

Resolution #2: add non-normative text in ePUB Accessibility suggesting rechecking the publications for major changes that could effect

Avneesh Singh: we’ll work on the specific guidance language over on the issue tracker

George Kerscher: +1

3. Audio hazards

See github issue #1302.

Avneesh Singh: in the hazards there are parameters for visual hazards in WCAG (e.g. flashing no more than 3 per second)
… but no equivalent for audio hazards
… how are publishers to classify which audio will causes issues for users?

Matt Garrish: i looked into this years back with Madeleine Rothberg
… in the github tracker, one potential standard was indicated
… but it is harder to classify these sorts of audio hazards than with visual hazards
… maybe we just play it safe and recommend that if there is any sound at all then there might be a hazard
… if the absence of a clear standard, what do we say?

George Kerscher: sudden increases in volume were the problem, could potentially damage hearing
… that’s the sort of thing that should be flagged as an audio hazard
… that sudden increase in sound that could damage hearing

Bill Kasdorf: “any audio” seems broad
… it would catch even the books with only narration

Charles LaPierre: increase in decibel level is probably a good way to put it
… and then also something about tones (like in those hearing tests)

Charles LaPierre: probably some text around those is all we need

Ben Schroeter: I think its kind of meaningless unless its quantifiable

Matt Garrish: +1 to ben

Ben Schroeter: anything else (e.g. warning there could be explosions) is not likely to be enforceable

Charles LaPierre: i think some of that could be machine checked (e.g. with AI)

Avneesh Singh: we can rely on research done by wcag on this

Gregorio Pellegrino: +1 to Avneesh, I would forward it to WCAG

Wendy Reid: we should probably ask for quantifiable information that we can provide to content producers
… there is a body of research on the topic of hazardous sounds
… and with the increasing popularity of audiobooks, i’ve seen increases in the creative use of sound

Avneesh Singh: we need proven research to drive the parameters

Matt Garrish: wcag may not have an easy answer on this for us
… and what does it mean to users? If we say that it has a sound hazard, there are a variety of ways that users could be affected (i.e. seizures? damage hearing?)
… what does it mean to users?
… more work to be done in this area

Bill Kasdorf: I bet there’s an authoritative place to define issues like this (e.g. audiology)
… we should rely on those sources rather than try to strike out on our own

Avneesh Singh: for now we cannot provide the necessary parameters
… if wcag comes back with answer, then great
… but with the knowledge we have now, we should maintain the status quo
… my preference would be if the WAI work on this on the level of the broader W3C, instead of making this an epub a11y thing

George Kerscher: i think that is the right approach, but i would expect that audiobook publishers and publishers in general would look to us first and not go digging around in wcag
… if we put informative information, even though we can’t point to the research, i think that would benefit people

Avneesh Singh: is something like that already in the spec?
… examples, patterns etc?

Matt Garrish: there are very general descriptions of hazardous audio, but we don’t have references to anything specific where people can go to get more info
… e.g. there was reference in the issue to a standard to define what “loud” meant

Avneesh Singh: George_ you can go through what we have currently in the spec
… the agenda also lists a number of issues that mgarrish has closed since last meeting
… we can comment on those right now, or you can put your comments in the issue tracker

Charles LaPierre: https://audiology-web.s3.amazonaws.com/migrated/niohlprevention.pdf_53996fb4c1ca13.61907521.pdf

Matthew Chan: Bill_Kasdorf provides example of CDC standard of sound that may impact hearing

Bill Kasdorf: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/what_noises_cause_hearing_loss.html#:~:text=Sound%20is%20measured%20in%20decibels,immediate%20harm%20to%20your%20ears.

Avneesh Singh: next call about EUAA
… i’ve send an updated calendar invite around accounting for DST

4. Resolutions