CONTENTS ACCESSIBILITY; EVERYBODY’ S RIGHT AND A CHALLENGE FOR THE CONTENTS SUPPLY CHAIN

In Europe, 135 millions of people can be considered to be persons with disabilities. In an increasingly digital world, guaranteeing the right to access and use all contents to people with cognitive, visual, hearing or mobility impairment, is imperative. The accessibility right is the subject matter of two recently released European directives, namely:

  • EU Directive 2016/2102, implemented in Italy and to which regard the Agency for Digital Italy (AGID) issued its guidelines in force as of 10 January 2020 and meant to make the contents and services of public sector bodies ever more accessible.
  • EU Directive UE 2019/882, implemented by legislative decree 82 of 27 May 2022, defines the accessibility requirements of products and services and requires that all electronic services and products (smartphones, laptops, computers, e-books, ATM platforms, e-commerce sites, and so on) must be accessible to everybody as of 28 June 2025.

BUT IN PRACTICE HOW CAN YOU MAKE A CONTENT ACCESSIBLE?

Braille reading display
Listening to audiobooks

For example, by creating digital versions of the books that can be listened to through voice reading software or read on a Braille display. These digital versions can be obtained by text scanning systems, text optical recognition software or by manually typing the contents.

Also, you can improve accessibility to books and publishing products through inclusive design. To this aim, publishers should design their products so that to make them accessible to everybody since the beginning, for example by using large easy-to-read fonts (see article on the Bianconero font), avoiding combinations of colours unfavourable to visually impaired people, and offering textual alternatives to artwork.

Innovation is the operative word. The R&D efforts of public sector bodies and private undertakings to identify new tools and technological solutions towards ever easier accessibility will prove fundamental.

A great leap forward in the culture of inclusiveness, but also a great opportunity for innovation and development.

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