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V. Bartalesi, B. Leporini: “An Enriched EPub EBook for Screen Reader Users”, Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Access to Today's Technologies. LNCS, Springer International Publishing, pp. 375-386, Aug. 2015

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Our study aims at obtaining ePub accessibility for all, including screen reader users. Since an ePub document is made up of several (X)HTML files, we analysed and worked with those (X)HTML tags that affect the blind user’s experience in the reading. As a case study we developed an “enriched” ePub book which applies technical solutions (i.e. tags and attributes) with the purpose to overcome the accessibility and usability issues observed when interacting via screen reader. In this work we present the results collected through an online survey conducted with 25 users to evaluate the “enriched” ePub compared with the original PDF format in terms of accessibility and usability. Positive responses about the proposed solutions emerged from the survey: the easy access to the table of content, to the images, to the text and also the ease of navigation.
In short, 88% of the users preferred the ePub format instead of the PDF. This confirms that quite simple technical solutions can really improve the reading experience for not only visually impaired people. The results from the survey also showed accessibility issues and limitations of the screen readers and eBook reader software which still exist.

Keywords: eBook accessibility, eBook usability, ePub format, blind users