The EBSCO Story
Every year, millions of users around the world access eBooks on EBSCOhost. We know that making our experience accessible is critical to ensure all users can find and use EBSCO ebooks to help achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals.
We started by reviewing our existing documentation and comparing it to the questions in the ASPIRE audit. Providing clear, useful, and centralized information about accessibility is of critical importance regardless of the actual state of a product’s accessibility; openly stating known abilities and limitations saves end users and librarians hours of trial and error trying to determine how to achieve their goals and will ultimately result in a more satisfactory and successful end user experience.
...openly stating known abilities and limitations saves end users and librarians hours of trial and error...
Our analysis uncovered three main issues with our documentation.
The accessibility information:
was scattered across many different pages making it difficult to get a full picture of accessibility support for EBSCO eBooks
wasn’t always presented in plain, clear language so a librarian or user might not have a clear understanding of what was supported even when they found an answer
was not all provided in a way that would be compatible with assistive technology (a screen reader user might struggle to interpret our screen reader tips)
We generated two pages that addressed the ASPIRE questions and other key accessibility information about EBSCO eBooks: one focused on recommendations for the end user, and the other focused on broader accessibility questions for the librarian.
The information was simplified as much as possible, to ensure it would be consumable by a user or librarian who may not be familiar with our products. We also created navigation recommendations for various browser and screen reader combinations in a table with proper markup to ensure it could be read by a screen reader and other assistive technologies.
We expect the amount of time this information will save librarians and end users will be significant, so it’s an investment that we were happy to make. And since the ASPIRE audits, we’ve narrowed this down to one page, to provide a single source for accessibility information about EBSCO eBooks.
EBSCO’s investment in accessibility continues beyond the ASPIRE project. We’re having conversations with colleagues and publishers about how to improve the accessibility of the content we host, and how to ensure that any changes we make to EBSCOhost software are designed for accessibility first.
We prioritize universal design in our feature development and invest in significant training for our product teams.