Ingram Content Group’s solutions division Vital Source Technologies, Inc., presented a new interface at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind, held last week in Orlando, Florida, that unveiled the new accessibility features of its Vital Source Bookshelf platform. These features will even the playing field for students with greater or different needs from their digital textbooks, allowing them to enjoy the same convenience, portability, and interactivity that the majority of students get to experience.
“Through VitalSource Bookshelf, we strive to provide the right accessibility features in e-textbooks that will enable people of all abilities to get the most out of an e-textbook experience and realize its full potential,” said Rick Johnson, Vice President Product and Sales Engineering, Vital Source Technologies, Inc., in a press release. “We’ve been doing this for more than a decade, and we will continue to innovate and introduce new ways to enhance e-textbook accessibility.”
One aspect to the company’s approach is the ongoing consultation with experts outside the company to help ensure that Vital Source content–which includes more than 500,000 titles from over 750 academic publishers–is meeting not only the standards put forth in legislation concerning access to education and learning for students with different needs, but also that it is creating a rich experience for these learners. It’s not enough to meet government standards; all students should be able to participate in similar learning experiences, regardless of impairment or obstacle.
“As a result of rigorous, ongoing accessibility testing of the various Bookshelf platforms, Tech For All, Inc. can attest that a real asset of the Vital Source approach is its strong commitment to deliver an accessible, rich eBook reading experience which students with disabilities, like their peers, can access from home, in the classroom, and in a mobile environment,” said Rick Bowes, Executive Consultant for Tech For All, Inc., a leading accessibility and universal design consulting firm.
As accessibility continues to be an issue that plagues students and educational institutions alike, tools like enhanced ebooks can offer solutions that still have yet to reach all educational settings.