Digital accessibility ensures that all users, including those who have a range of movement, hearing, cognitive or sight abilities, can use digital content. Digital accessibility can apply to mobile apps, websites, e-books and digital magazines.  

Why Accessibility Matters

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one billion people live with some form of disability and approximately one billion have moderate to severe vision impairment. That’s reason enough to make accessibility a requirement in all digital content. 

Accessibility Standards & Guidelines and VPAT

Internationally recognized, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a useful starting point to ensure ADA compliance. The goal for online accessibility, according to WCAG, is to enable people with disabilities to participate equally on the web and to improve the accessibility of online elements including text, images and navigation. 

For example, users might: 

  • use a keyboard instead of a mouse 
  • change browser settings to make content easier to read 
  • use a screen reader to ‘read’ (speak) content out loud 
  • use a screen magnifier to enlarge part or all of a screen
  • use voice commands to navigate a website 

Content creators and aggregators need a VPAT or Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. The VPAT is based on WCAG standards and clearly states which accessibility standards your product or service meets, and it warns users about any “accessibility blockers” they may encounter.  

According to Deque, a recognized leader in accessibility audits, remediation and training, a VPAT is “a sort of “Nutrition Facts” label for your website, app, or other digital product/service. Checking the Nutrition Facts label gives you a sense of the impact a given snack will have on your body. Checking the VPAT gives your potential customers a sense of the impact your product or service might have on people with disabilities. 

It is imperative that publishers, information providers and any company creating digital technologies and tools adhere to these guidelines, create informative and substantial VPATS, and commit to continual improvement and adoption of accessible best practices. 

How Flipster Digital Magazines Adhere to High Accessibility Standards 

The experience of reading a digital magazine varies greatly from that of an e-book or website. The goal is to produce online publications that are compliant while retaining that appealing magazine “feel” that readers know and love.  

EBSCO’s digital magazine platform Flipster has made great strides in accessibility with the goal of providing a superior digital magazine reading experience to all readers. We recently received an improved score on our VPAT, making it easier for libraries to evaluate our platform.

Some other highlights include: 

  • A newly improved and fully accessible desktop reader which offers 
    • The ability for users to navigate using a keyboard 
    • Improved compatibility with screen readers
    • Streamlined navigation with the removal of "flyout" navigation
  • Mobile-responsive design 
    • A text-only view that mimics similar functionality in the mobile apps   

Accessibility continues to be a core goal at EBSCO, and we encourage customers to contact us at accessibility@ebsco.com for questions on our accessible practices. 

Offer Your Readers an Award-Winning and Accessible Digital Magazine Experience

Flipster has won the Platinum award from the Modern Library Awards for five years in a row and continues to be a trusted source of digital magazines for libraries of all shapes and sizes. It offers a state-of-the-art platform, enhanced user functionality, user-friendly app and seamless access and an easy and intuitive reading experience. Plus, Flipster articles are discoverable within EBSCOhost and EBSCO Discovery Service search results. 

The best way to decide if Flipster is right for your library and your users is to see if for yourself. Request a free trial of the Flipster digital magazine platform and gain anytime access to more than 1,250 digital magazines from top publishers such as Meredith, Conde Nast, Cricket Media, TIME USA, LLC., and dozens more.

Are you a current Flipster subscriber? Browse and order magazines using EBSCOhost Collection Manager (ECM.)