VitalSource Continues to Champion Accessibility

Share Article

Company lauded for receiving 100 percent compliance.

News Image
“Providing solutions for every ebook to be accessible is a fundamental value of VitalSource.” - Rick Johnson, VP of Product Strategy, VitalSource

VitalSource Technologies Inc., part of Ingram Content Group, has received an unprecedented achievement of 100 percent compliance with the industry-wide tests for accessibility on its Windows and iOS Bookshelf® clients. All VitalSource readers received 100 percent on visual adjustments, and the company has committed to 100 percent coverage on all tests, for all clients this summer. With its long-held commitment to accessibility, the company is the first in its industry to reach this level of conformance with the evaluation of reading system accessibility. VitalSource’s reading system serves both K12 and higher education.

“Providing solutions for every ebook to be accessible is a fundamental value of VitalSource,” said Rick Johnson, VP of Product Strategy, VitalSource. “In 2015, the company continued to release improvements in accessibility with new content, improved applications and increased collaboration with the accessibility community. We will continue our commitment in 2016 by upgrading all clients to reach the 100 percent rating, as well as enabling new solutions, from authoring to personalized learning, to support the needs of this community. ”

For more than a decade, VitalSource has provided accessible solutions to learners of all abilities. VitalSource was the first company to offer a reading system to support the emerging EPUB for Education (EDUPUB) standard, which brings the benefits of accessible classroom materials into the integrated learning environment. VitalSource recently expanded its accessibility agenda with new content, improved applications and increased collaboration with the accessibility community.

DAISY Consortium, BISG and IDPF partnered to test reading systems for EPUB 3 compliance and accessibility. The EPUB 3 Support Grid enables evaluation of support for accessibility across popular reading systems and assistive technologies. To achieve a high fundamental accessibility score, reading systems should be able to perform basic functions like adjust font size and color. Systems should also include text that is readable with a screen reader, have self-voicing text-to-speech application, as well as refreshable Braille display or assistive technologies designed for persons with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

“VitalSource has been outstanding in developing accessibility conformance. The company’s responsiveness and attention to details that are important to the disability community must be applauded,” said George Kerscher, Chief Innovations Officer for the DAISY Consortium. “I recommend the VitalSource Bookshelf for Windows and iOS to everybody with disabilities.”

The EPUB 3 Support Grid was designed to be a handy reference to what enhancements and features of EPUB 3 render correctly on the most commonly used devices, apps, and reading systems, based on tests conducted by industry experts who represent leading publishers, service providers, and technology vendors. The grid is available at

The Test Suite is a set of EPUB 3 files designed to enable anyone to test a reading system's support of various EPUB 3 features and its support for accessibility. It does not include a set of test files for each EPUB 3 specs feature but a rigorous performance evaluation of the most commonly used essential features. The current testing process involves manual evaluation and recording of results. See the Test Suite page for more details, and find instructions on how to test a reading system.

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) designed the Test Suite now maintained through a partnership between the IDPF, DAISY Consortium and the Book Industry Study Group. These organizations ensure that the tracked functionalities are of importance to the general book industry.

Some content available through VitalSource can be enhanced to improve compatibility with assistive technologies. In many cases, logical reading order, table markup, and image descriptions can be added or improved. Any student who is a VitalSource Bookshelf® user and would like to request that a particular title be enhanced for improved accessibility may do so by going to the website at

VitalSource regularly collaborates with independent consultants and industry experts including the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), Tech For All, JISC, Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC), and others. With the help of these experts, VitalSource strives to ensure its platform conforms to applicable accessibility standards including Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Accessibility Guidelines established by the Worldwide Web Consortium known as WCAG 2.0. The state of the platform's conformance with Section 508 at any point in time is made available through publication of Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs).

VitalSource Technologies Inc., part of Ingram Content Group, is a leading educational technology company and the preferred choice among higher education institutions, faculty and publishers. VitalSource has delivered compelling digital content to more than 12 million students in 200 countries and territories worldwide, and we have more than one million titles available in distribution from more than 750 education publishers. For more information about VitalSource, visit

The DAISY Consortium embraces the principles of worldwide collaboration and transparency that define open standards development. It also contributes expertise in standards working groups that are engaged in Inclusive Publishing and develop guidelines and checklists so that best practices are clear and widely available. For more information, visit the website at

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) is the global trade and standards organization dedicated to the development and promotion of electronic publishing and content consumption. The work of the IDPF promotes the development of electronic publishing applications and products that will benefit creators of content, makers of reading systems, and consumers. The IDPF develops and maintains the EPUB content publication standard that enables the creation and transport of reflowable digital books and other types of content as digital publications that are interoperable between disparate EPUB-compliant reading devices and applications. The website is

The Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG) is the book industry’s leading trade association for standards, education, and research and information. BISG facilitates the connections and conversations that solve common problems, advance new ideas, and more profitably bring published content to readers. For over 35 years, BISG has provided a forum for all industry professionals to come together and collaboratively address issues and concerns to advance the book community. Its 200 members include publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, librarians, and others engaged in the business of print and electronic media. Visit the website at

Contact: Elizabeth Fielding 615-321-3110 / elizabeth(at)tsgnashville(dot)com

  • end -

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Elizabeth Fielding
The Strategy Group
+1 (615) 321-3110
Email >
Visit website