Introduction to Accessible Ebook Production: Fixed Layout Format

By nature, fixed layout ebooks can’t have as many accessibility features as reflowable ebooks, but you can take steps to ensure a fixed layout ebook is as accessible as possible. This brief introduction to making accessible fixed layout ebooks discusses best practices.

  • Subject(s):

    Ebook Production

  • Resource Type(s):

    Standards and Best Practices

  • Audience:


Suggested Prerequisites

Before reading this, you might want to read:

Fixed Layout Ebooks

For some books the layout is as important to the book as the content. Think children’s picture books, cookbooks, graphic novels, travel guides, manuals, for instance. In these cases, a fixed layout ebook will be the right choice. A fixed layout ebook maintains the intended layout and cannot be modified by the reader. When a book needs to be in fixed layout, you should be aware that this format will cause challenges for some readers, as they won’t be able to customize the font size or type, background and foreground colours, or zoom in on anything.

Step-by-Step: Prioritizing Accessibility in Fixed Layout Books

While it is true that fixed layout books are inherently less accessible than reflowable books, there are steps you can take to ensure that the book you produce is as accessible as possible! In the Related Content section below, you can find some more detailed guidance on creating fixed layout books, but here are a few key elements of accessible fixed layout books:

Next Steps


Understanding the Navigation File in EPUB 3

Introduction to the Navigation File

This Introduction to the Navigation File of an EPUB breaks down the elements that make up this important file.

Subject(s): Ebook Production
Resource Type(s): Checklist, Foundations and Rationale, Standards and Best Practices

Understanding the Importance of Image Descriptions

Introduction to Image Descriptions

Including image descriptions in your ebooks and digital content hugely increases accessibility because it ensures that all readers have access to the same content. This Introduction discusses the importance of image descriptions – to your…

Subject(s): Image Descriptions
Resource Type(s): Foundations and Rationale

Adding Accessibility Metadata to an Ebook

Introduction to Accessibility Metadata for Ebooks

Accessibility metadata should be included with every ebook, as it lets the reader know about what accessibility features have been included! This introduction discusses the importance of accessibility metadata, and shares examples of each type.

Subject(s): Metadata
Resource Type(s): Standards and Best Practices

External Links to More Information

NNELS Best Practices for Publisher Workflows

An overview of several best practices for creating an EPUB with good markup for accessibility, with suggestions on how to begin integrating them into a publisher workflow. It includes fixed layout versus reflowable, using EPUB version 3, images, headings, tables, capitalization, metadata, language and several other items.

Evaluating Your EPUB’s Accessibility

This page gives an overview of how to run an Ace report and test a book using a screen reader on a mobile device. It discusses checking accessibility of elements including fixed layout, image descriptions, well structured headings, table of contents, footnotes and endnotes, and others. It finishes with a discussion of metadata both in and alongside the EPUB, and briefly covers multimedia.

Reflowable vs Fixed Layout – Which is the Best Layout for your eBook

Reflowable and fixed layout format both offer certain features that you may need for your book, depending on your content and layout needs. This page breaks down the two types and compares them.

Content Source Acknowledgement