Group Note: EPUB Fixed Layout Accessibility

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The Publishing Maintenance Working Group has just published the Working Group Note EPUB Fixed Layout Accessibility. This document outlines the goals for EPUB accessible fixed layout ebooks while acknowledging the challenges unique to the EPUB Fixed Layout format.

EPUB Fixed Layout (FXL) publications, or publications where the print layout is preserved in the digital edition, have been around since before EPUB 3.0.1. These publications span a number of genres and types, from comic books, cook books, children's books, and more.

The main motivation behind creating fixed layout publications is the need to preserve the print layout of the book, either because of it's importance to the text (i.e., complex diagrams) or it's artistic purpose (i.e., illustrated text). However, these publications are often partially or completely inaccessible to people with print disabilities.

An accessible fixed layout EPUB file is one that meets the accessibility requirements of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2 level AA and EPUB Accessibility 1.1, including color contrast, reading order, font layout, structural navigation, metadata, and text alternatives.

This note serves to help EPUB creators, publishers, and reading systems address some of the common accessibility issues found in fixed layout content including navigation, reading order, and text alternatives. This document is a companion to EPUB Accessibility 1.1, specifically for fixed layout publications.

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