DAISY Consortium's News Brief - # 2017-12
Enjoy a concise selection of digital publishing news. Our main goal is to inform DAISY Members and Supporters about new e-reading technologies and related developments.

Significant Growth in Audiobook Publishing and Use in 2017

Audiobook sales continue to grow, with a reported $2.5 billion US dollars in sales in 2017, up from $2.1 billion in 2016. The US Audiobook Publishers Association also report a 33.9% increase in the number of audiobooks published in 2017 over the previous year. Similar increases have been reported globally, and the increase in audiobook use extends across libraries which remains a major access channel for content discovery. There are now more ways to engage with audiobook content than ever before, with reports of a significant increase in access from both mobile and smart home devices, and audiobooks support being added to eInk Kindles and through the Kobo service. See Good e-Reader Global Audiobook Trends for more statistics from 2017 and a glance at what we can expect from 2018.

Seeing AI and Visio Accessibility Updates from Microsoft

Seeing AI

The Seeing AI app for iOS has recently been updated to be available in more regions around the world, and enhanced with a few new tricks up its virtual sleeve. Now available in 35 countries, the app has already clocked up over 100,000 downloads and 3 million tasks from its initial functions, which include text to speech and barcode product identification. New features added in the recent update include currency recognition for US and Canadian Dollars, GB Pounds and Euros, light sensing and colour detection. The latest update also includes an experimental handwriting recognition option, which is promising, but understandably highly dependent on the clarity of the original handwriting. Read more about the SeeingAI update on the Microsoft blog.

Accessible Diagrams with Microsoft Visio

Microsoft have updated Visio, their application for flow charts and diagrams, to incorporate support accessibility. Traditionally the application has been used in professional environments for process diagrams, structure charts, seating plans and systems architecture. Historically, accessibility has been challenging, with a mouse driven user interface, however recent updates have introduced keyboard controls, and the latest update adds an accessibility checker, more alt text and description options, as well as the ability to export an accessible PDF. Read more about the Visio accessibility update.

Updates from W3C

There have been several updates recently from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), relating to accessibility in web and publishing specifications.

HTML 5.2 is now a W3C Recommendation:

The list of changes from HTML 5.1 to 5.2 are published in a change document:

The Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) Working Group has published several documents:

Finally, W3C have also published a new video as an introduction for people new to the topic of web accessibility:


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