The Accessibility Summary adds additional information, clarifications, and refinements to other accessibility metadata. In creating the Accessibility Summary, one should assume that the other accessibility metadata has already been presented, and the Accessibility Summary serves to enhance the metadata. In the "EPUB Accessibility Conformance and Discoverability Specification 1.0," the accessibilitySummary was a required field, and it would present the essential accessibility metadata. However, in version 1.1, it changed to be an optional field. The accessibilitySummary now eliminates the duplication of information presented by other accessibility metadata. If there are features or shortcomings in the publication that is not expressed in other accessibility metadata, then the Accessibility Summary is the correct place to include this information. The remainder of these guidelines explains some considerations, and provides some examples of Accessibility Summaries.


The EPUB Accessibility Conformance and Discovery Specification defines a metadata term called "accessibilitySummary." This piece of metadata is important in that it provides additional accessibility information or refines the accessibility metadata provided by other fields. Online Library and retail catalogues should present the accessibility metadata and the accessibilitySummary to assist in making the decision to select a title. Selection of content should include accessibility considerations of products.

Refer to the User Experience Guide for Displaying Accessibility Metadata 1.0 for libraries and retailers.

Please note that the accessibility summary is written from the perspective of the content provider and some features and functions will vary depending on the reading system or the environment the end user is operating within.

Before you start writing

The Accessibility Checker for EPUB (Ace by DAISY) is a tool which can be used to help you determine some of the accessibility features within the publication. This will help you determine what should be included in the accessibilitySummary.

Next read the accessibility metadata in the EPUB package.opf file before you begin to write. Make note of the features listed in the metadata as you prepare to write. One should always truthfully represent the accessibility of the publication and point out shortcomings of the publication; students may be able to get assistance from their school or university if some aspects of the publication are not accessible. For example, if complex graphics that convey information do not have an extended description, let people know that extended descriptions are not available.

Some High-Level Considerations

What to Include in the AccessibilitySummary

Here is a list of areas that the summary should address :

Accessibility Conformance Related Statements

The group of conformance statements are listed below. The level of conformance should be identified such as AA or A. There is also the possibility of referencing conformance to an "optomized" specification, which might not meet WCAG guidelines, such as an audio only specification. It is possible for the publisher to self-certify and not having third party certification should be noted. It has been brought up that WCAG A and AA conformance is a difficult or impossible claim to make, and will be addressed in WCAG 3.0. For this reason, some organizations plan to qualify their claim by saying, "as far as we know" or "it strives to" in their statement. The suggested summary below contains this language.

Accessibility Metadata Priority Example Statement
Conformance statement 1 This publication strives to meet accepted Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) at the AA level.
Organization that certifies 1 This publication was certified by a third party, XYZ certifiers.
Credentials of certifier 2 XYZ certifiers is endorsed by the certifiers guild.

Accessibility Features

Features that have been included in metadata may benefit from additional information that more clearly explains the feature. Some examples have been provided in the table below.

For a complete list of features see: Accessibility Properties for Discoverability Vocabulary

Accessibility Feature Example Text Information
alternativeText Subject experts were used to create the ALT text. WCAG requires alt text, and including additional information is suggested if there is something to add.
braille The text is encoded as grade 2 UEB braille. If the text is encoded as braille characters, this should be noted with the type and if it is contracted by stating it is grade 1 or 2, etc.
displayTransformability The initial chapter headings are highly stylized and are provided as images. These are marked as proper headings, and alt text is provided, which should minimize the issue of having text represented as images.

The tables are represented as images, and the full text of the table is provided below the image within the details element, which can be expanded.
Sometimes contented is formatted in such a way that it cannot be reflowed or other features cannot be adjusted. Tables, which cannot be encoded and are presented as images is one common example of this. Another case is where a highly stylized chapter heading is used that cannot be enlarged or transformed. These shortcomings should be noted and if there is any work around, such as a long description provided in addition to the image.
index A comprehensive index is included with links to the top of the page.

A comprehensive index is included with links to the paragraph being referenced.
Provide information about the index other than it is present. A comprehensive list and where the words link to is worth highlighting.
longDescription Extended descriptions are provided for complex graphical content that conveys important information for understanding of the content. The description is contained in a details element immediately below the image, which can be expanded. Extended descriptions: Extended (or long) descriptions are used when complex graphics or other highly visual components convey information. The extended description communicates the equivalent information through text, tables, etc. The technique for providing the description should be included, such as in a details element or through a link to another part of the book with a link back to the exact spot.
longDescription is missing This publication contains graphical content that conveys significant information. This graphical material is not explained and the reader who cannot interpret the graphics should seek assistance. Extended Descriptions are not provided when needed, for example if there is a complex image that needs a longer description to understand what the image is portraying..
MathML All displayed Math is represented with MathML.

The chemical formulae are displayed and encoded as MathML with the proper labels for Chemistry.
The presence of MathML is important especially in STEM materials. The amount is also important. If there is a mix of math as plain text and MathML, it should be noted. Also if Chemistry isencoded as MathML using the newer mechanisms for indicating these semantics, it should be noted.
printPageNumbers and dc:source is present Page numbers are present and navigation to pages is supported. Page navigation provided and matches the print book
printPageNumbers and dc:source is not present or refers to this EPUB There is no print version of this publication, but digital page numbers are provided for ease of use. Page navigation provided but no equivalent print book. Since there is no print equivalent book these page breaks are set by the publisher to aid in navigating to a specific digital or "virtual" page within the EPUB.
printPageNumbers is missing This publication does not contain page numbers that can be navigated. If no page navigation is provided, it should be noted.
readingOrder This title has choose your own ending through the content, and the sequential reading order would be confusing. If thenormal reading order would be confusing, an explanation should be provided.
rubyAnnotations Some CJK ideographic characters in this publication have phonetic ruby. CJK ideographic characters may be difficult to read for some users. Attaching ruby to CJK ideographic characters makes them more accessible. It may be helpful to state whether phonetic ruby is present and further state whether all of the CJK ideographic characters in the given publication or some of them have ruby annotations.
signLanguage There are several short videos in Amerigan Sign Language that explains key concepts. If sign language access through a video or some other mechanism is provided, it should be described along with the type of sign language, e.g., American Sign Language (ASL).
structuralNavigation and tableOfContents This publication contains a comprehensive multi-level table of contents for navigation through the various chapters and sections. The table of Contents is normally present, and include information if there is something exceptional, such as it is comprehensive and multi-level, or if there is only minimal navigation.
synchronizedAudioText This picture book with recorded audio does not contain the text included in the pictures. When synchronized audio and text is provided, if there any accessibility issues, they should be noted.
transcript Video has a transcript. if transcripts of audio or video are provided, it should be noted.
ttsMarkup Text-To-Speech markup is included to help with proper pronunciation of nouns. If markup is provided to assist TTS pronunciation, it should be included.

Accessibility Hazards

Accessibility hazards: Some content, especially videos, may contain elements that have been found to be problematic. Most common items are motion effects that make some people motion sick, flashing that can cause severe distractions or even seizures, or loud sharp noises like a gunshot which can cause hearing issues. It is only necessary to include this information if more information about the hazard is wanted to be communicated.

If available, specific information about the hazard should be provided. The specific information will help to determine if the content is suitable for people with certain conditions. It is also advisable to explain if by not watching the video or other content is essential to the understanding of the content. For example, watching a video of a rollercoaster may cause motion sickness, but the video is not essential to understanding of the material. It is also suggested that the location of the hazard be provided to enable the reader to avoid that content. If there are multiple hazards, each instance should be explained.

For example, “This publication contains a motion hazard in chapter 8 page 202. There is a video showing a rollercoaster going up and down rapidly. Watching the video is interesting, but not essential for understanding the concept of elevation loss and gain.”


Here is another example in Japanese:


The editors would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions to this document: