Evaluating EPUB publications for accessibility is a two-step process:
- 1. Automated Inspection
The first step is to ensure the publication passes automated testing, which is accomplished using the following tools:
- epubcheck — The first step in automated verification is to use the epubcheck validator to check for errors. Although this tool does not specifically perform accessibility checks, it ensures that publications are valid, which is necessary to pass WCAG success criterion 4.1.1.
- Ace — The next step is to use Ace validator to verify accessibility requirements that can be programmatically determined.
- 2. Manual Inspection
Although automated validation tools will alert you to problems that can be programmatically determined, there are many aspects of accessibility that a tool cannot verify (quality of descriptions, scripting accessibility, keyboard issues, etc.). The second step in verifying the accessibility of an EPUB publication is therefore to perform these additional manual checks — a claim of conformance cannot be made only from automated testing.
The Ace SMART tool is designed to help you perform manual assessments.
Note that to carry out an evaluation, you will require editing software that allows you to review the resources of the publication is required. This is true even if you are only reporting issues and not fixing them, as you need access to the raw markup of the publication to verify many accessibility requirements.
The EPUB publication you are evaluating does not have to be zipped to carry out the manual evaluation steps, as zipping does not directly affect the accessibility.