7 Tips for iBooks Accessibility

I just authored an iBook textbook focusing on iBooks Accessibility. I’ve tried my best to make the iBook an exemplar of the principles I discuss. The videos are closed captioned, the images have descriptions, I added a glossary, you get the idea. I did have a major problem with the videos that I need to figure out. I had a few more videos I wanted to include but when I ran them through Compressor the file size exploded from 20-30 MB a video (pretty reasonable for 3-4 minute videos) to 400-500 MB (not so reasonable). All I did was take a file from Screenflow in MP4 format (I used the iPad export preset) and run it through Compressor to add a caption track (.SCC) and reexport as a .m4v file that iBooks Author could accept.

I need to figure out the video problem, but in the mean time I added the same content with a few screenshots. I welcome any feedback. I know there is a lot of room for improvement, but it’s not too bad for something I threw together on a Saturday morning/afternoon while procrastinating from my dissertation.

Update: Dropbox suspended my Public account due to the high volume of data. I have created a PDF version available on Scribd for now. As soon as I figure out a good place to host the iBook itself I will post that link here.

9 thoughts on “7 Tips for iBooks Accessibility”

  1. Because of your work with eBooks, I am wondering if you can suggest an inexpensive screen reader for Windows7. The screen reader that comes with Windows7 will only read the computer information around the text in Word or Wordpad, not the text itself. I would appreciate any suggestions. You can email me at drsts@comcast.net.


    1. A great screen reader to use on Windows is NVDA. It’s free and it works really well. I have a few tutorials about it on the Tech Ease 4 All website I did for the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at http://etc.usf.edu/techease/4all. NVDA works great with Windows 7 and it’s pretty easy to learn and use. Hope this meets your need.

  2. Hi Luis, I’m downloading your book right now and eager to take a look. Just one question.
    If you do not add a caption track as you noted above, doesn’t Compressor reduce video file size?

    I just want to be clear on Compressor before I spend the $50.

  3. Hi Luis, thanks for sharing this project. I’m downloading it now, and wanted to share a guess at why the video files are gettign so big. My first thought is that the conversion process is using a default value for the compression scheme, and it could be set at uncompressed, or worse, converting it to a pixel-rich high-def file. You might be able to edit the config settings for Compressor and specify a more aggressive compression setting.
    Again, just a guess- but if you do solve the issue, can you post the solution you come up with?
    Thanks in advance, and thanks again!

    Jayme Johnson

  4. Apple seems fixated on Closed Caption (*.scc) files. Last I looked they were difficult and expensive to make (MacCaptioner). Has that changed? I have found that making soft subtitle tracks much easier and free with apps such as Subler and Jubler. Additionally, I can have several of these tracks that readers can choose from to get the narrative in a different language for example. Finally, I think that soft subtitles simply look better than the typical closed captioning.
    Unfortunately for us iBooks Author will not allow .m4v files with any of these extra tracks despite the fact that iBooks handles them just fine when they are in an *.epub file.

    1. I create .scc files with a combination of MovieCaptioner ($99) and Compressor ($50). MovieCaptioner is really easy to use, and while it does not offer the power of something like MacCaptioner, it is perfect for working with teachers who want a simple, easy to learn program. MovieCaptioner also exports to other formats if you want to use your captions with YouTube (.sub) and so on.

      If soft subtitles work for your viewers then great, the important thing is to provide the content in a way they can access it if they have a hearing disability or need the audio as text for other reasons. Thanks for your comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s