June 26, 2017

Benetech establishes Global Certified Accessible program to ensure content serves all students equally

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Benetech, the leading software for social good nonprofit, in conjunction with Dedicon, Royal National Institute of Blind People, and Vision Australia, today announced Global Certified Accessible. The program is the first third-party ebook verification program for accessible content. Global Certified Accessible supports publisher efforts to meet or exceed accessibility requirements set by K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions. Benetech’s announcement comes on the heels of a six-month beta program with participation from industry leaders spanning educational, academic, professional, and trade publications.

Global Certified Accessible ensures students unable to read standard print due to blindness, low vision, dyslexia, or a physical disability have equal access to the same content as their peers. The program has a global footprint in order to serve students around the world. Benetech developed the certification standards and serves as the lead certification provider for North America. Dedicon provides certification for mainland Europe, Royal National Institute of Blind People for the United Kingdom, and Vision Australia for Australasia.

“The importance of electronically published books continues to grow, but many ebooks lack core accessibility features that students require, falling short of procurement requirements and student needs,” said Jim Fruchterman, founder and CEO, Benetech. “As the nonprofit operator of Bookshare, the largest online library of accessible books, Benetech is well suited to offer a Global Certified Accessible program that not only gives procurement offices the confidence that comes with third-party certified materials but also allows publishers to serve a larger addressable market.”

The establishment of this program is a historic moment in publishing. Benetech has a storied history of advocacy and support for the accessible needs community, providing invaluable resources and services to enable publishers to make their publications accessible and available to those who need them. With the launch of the Global Certified Accessible program, Benetech has provided a clear path to enable publishers to further improve their publications and workflows not only to conform to accessibility standards but to document that conformance. This adds tremendous value, because accessible publications are better publications for everybody.

A supporting partner of Benetech’s Global Certified Accessible initiative, Apex shares a firm commitment to supporting, enabling and furthering accessibility support and adoption within our own workflows, services and technology products.

“This is a watershed moment for accessibility. Benetech has long been a leader in fostering ‘Born Accessible’ publishing. Its development of the certification standards for the Global Certified Accessible program brings long-needed clarity to the process of creating and procuring properly accessible publications,” said Bill Kasdorf, VP and Principal Consultant, Apex CoVantage. “Our partnership with Benetech in this program enables Apex to guide our many publishing clients to integrate accessibility into their workflows so that their publications can be truly born accessible.”

Learn more about Global Certified Accessible here.

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