The short answer: Yes!
For a somewhat longer answer, read on below.
What do you mean by “accessible content”?
Accessibility (in the web context, sometimes abbreviated as a11y) is a general term for designing publications and materials to include as many readers or users as possible. Real-world examples include Braille and large-print editions of books; the use of dyslexic-friendly fonts; closed captioning and descriptive video; text-to-speech software for e-readers; and speech-to-text software for writing without a keyboard.
Why does making content accessible matter?
Not only is making content more accessible the right thing to do, it’s also increasingly mandated by legislation at the local, national (e.g., section 508), and international (e.g., the Marrakesh Treaty) levels.
Where does eXtyles come in?
Building XML into your content early on—as eXtyles does—is a great first step in making that content more accessible, because
No specific technology can ensure accessibility for unstructured or poorly structured content!
Key to accessibility is identifying what things are so they can be interpreted meaningfully and accurately by accessibility tools such as screen readers; with eXtyles, you can apply paragraph and character styles in Word to identify content elements, then export valid XML.
XML DTDs such as JATS, BITS, or STS include tags for specific accessibility elements such as image descriptions (<long-desc>); eXtyles can help you add and identify these accessibility elements right in your Word file.
eXtyles can export equations/formulae as MathML, which prepares them to be searchable, reflowable, and readable by screen readers.
eXtyles helps you automate the creation of internal links and navigation landmarks, both essential to making your content accessible.
eXtyles helps you wrangle your Word tables and exports them as correctly structured CALS or XHTML tables, so they can be rendered as searchable, reflowable tables and interpreted accurately by screen readers. eXtyles automatically includes @scope attributes in XHTML tables to ensure tables can be read easily and correctly by the visually impaired!
What else should I know?
For even more info, check out our Inera <News/> blog post on accessible publishing and the Marrakesh Treaty and take a look at some of the resources listed below!
Resources & Further Reading
The January 2018 issue of Learned Publishing is a great collection of articles, opinion pieces, and case studies on accessibility in publishing, available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/leap.2018.31.issue-1/issuetoc
For help with alt-text and image descriptions, check out the Benetech DIAGRAM Center at http://diagramcenter.org/
The Book Industry Study Group has published a free Quick-Start Guide to Accessible Publishing, which you can download at https://bisg.site-ym.com/store/ViewProduct.aspx?id=6972996
For the full text of the Marrakesh Treaty in English, go to http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/treaties/text.jsp?file_id=301016; for an English-language summary, go to http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/marrakesh/summary_marrakesh.html (summaries are also available in other languages!)
W3C’s web accessibility standards are available at https://www.w3.org/standards/webdesign/accessibility
For more on accessible publishing of journals, books, and related content, we recommend this blog post from our partner Typefi: https://www.typefi.com/automated-publishing-solutions/accessible-publishing/
For a detailed analysis of the Marrakesh Treaty from the perspective of those it is designed to assist, see Laurence R. Helfer et al., The World Blind Union Guide to the Marrakesh Treaty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), available at https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-world-blind-union-guide-to-the-marrakesh-treaty-9780190679651?cc=us&lang=en