The Pre-certification Process
Summary of what to expect from the eBound–Benetech pre-certification process.
This article discusses the benefits of certification. For example, publishers might opt for certification to increase both their knowledge of accessibility and the support they receive in the process, as well as to show their commitment to accessibility.
Foundations and Rationale
Before reading this, you might want to review:
With so much information available on web accessibility and few published specifications to rely on, starting a manual check on any of your EPUB files can be a little daunting. This is where the Global Certified Accessible (GCA) Certification program can help you adjust your workflow to produce born-accessible books.
GCA Certification is an independent third-party accessibility program, developed by Benetech, which aims to help publishers create born accessible content that meets the needs of all readers.
According to Benetech, the program is based on three recognized standards and guidelines:
In this program, you will be paired with a trained certifier who will offer recommendations based on the above accessibility standards to update two to three of your existing EPUBs. Recommendations will be presented based on the existing code taken from your books, offering a practical approach to understanding the standards and guidelines. All recommendations should be applied directly to your production workflow so that all EPUB files going forward will have the same accessibility features. By working on more than one book, you will have the opportunity to practice your understanding of the requirements and apply these to your existing workflow. All the while, your certifier will be available to answer any questions that come up along the way.
As a publisher, you may already have added the Ace tool to your production workflow to catch accessibility issues in your EPUB files. This is a great and important step to take. But the tool only catches 20-30% of accessibility issues, and for a book to be considered WCAG compliant, a manual review of the book must be performed in addition to the Ace tool.
Your certifier will perform a manual check, along with the Ace automated test, and share the findings with you once completed. These manual checks include, but are not limited to, a review of:
Having one-on-one support in incorporating a complete list of accessibility standards to your existing workflow is invaluable, but there is more that can be considered a plus to becoming GCA certified:
The most valuable part of becoming certified is in the long-term commitment to creating accessible content. By taking the time to establish a Born Accessible production workflow, your books will not only be the most accessible today but will easily and efficiently adapt to the ever-changing advancement of reading devices and assistive technology in the future.