The Value of Certification
Publishers might opt to get certified because of the education and support they get in the process, and to show their commitment to accessibility.
This is a summary of what to expect from the eBound–Benetech pre-certification process.
Before reading this, you might want to review:
After reaching out to the team at eBOUND and being accepted, you will be connected with the pre-certification team at the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS). The team at NNELS will then send you an introductory email that provides an overview of the steps to “pre-certification.”
Pre-certification is intended for publishers who are newer to accessibility. NNELS works to create accessibility reports that are extremely readable and user-friendly, and give plenty of detailed examples from the books provided. The steps are very similar to the certification process, but pre-certification provides publishers with two key things: additional training, meaning that more books will be reviewed (as they will take part in both pre-certification and certification, with different books), and pre-certification reports, which are less technical and build a bridge to the more technical reporting offered in the certification stage. Pre-certification helps publishers build up a knowledge base around accessible publishing.
The welcome email from the NNELS team will ask you to submit up to two (2) EPUBs for pre-certification.
While any two reflowable EPUB files can be submitted for evaluation, it is good to keep the following in mind when selecting your files:
If you are uncertain about which books to submit, ask the NNELS team for clarification. Once the two books are submitted, your certifier will do a quick review of each book’s contents and complexity. They will then confirm the books have been received and begin evaluation.
Using a template created in-house, the NNELS team evaluates each book in detail and writes an in-depth report. The report highlights what has been done well, and offers both recommendations and requirements for improvement.
The areas covered are:
To conduct the evaluation, the NNELS team uses the following tools:
After a few weeks, the NNELS team will send you a full report (a Word document) on one or both of your books. They will ask you to the review the report and revise the books as well as your production workflow (so that all future books are as accessible as possible).
When the revised books are submitted, the NNELS team will review them and provide feedback—either in the form of a short report or by congratulating you via email and “graduating” you to the certification stage.
Benetech’s GCA certification is the first-ever independent third-party digital accessibility certification program. Their goal is to help publishers build born accessible content that meets the needs of all readers. The program accomplishes this by helping adjust publisher workflows to ensure that content they produce is accessible from the start.