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RE: New fundamental test book and covers

From: Richard Orme <rorme@daisy.org>
Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2018 14:08:59 +0000
To: Matt Garrish <matt.garrish@gmail.com>, 'W3C EPUB 3 Community Group' <public-epub3@w3.org>
Message-ID: <DB7PR01MB39945BCAC5A506C3F8599BD7AFAA0@DB7PR01MB3994.eurprd01.prod.exchangelabs.com>
I did a little experiment with some of the leading consumer ebook platforms (at least in the UK) and some popular book titles.

Google Play Books, Apple iBooks, Amazon Kindle, Rakuten Kobo all provide me with the cover image in the reading view. Sometimes I have to navigate back from the first page it drops me in when I first open the book, but the covers are there, and full screen.

It is possible to read the alt text on images on Play Books and iBooks (as noted at epubtest.org). I confirmed this works on the cover images (with Talkback and Voiceover respectively), so that's good.

I then looked at the experience with some books that are in the charts at the moment:
1. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari. Additional text on the cover reads "The million copy best seller", "A brief history of Humankind", "Tackles the biggest questions of history and the modern world- Jared Diamond". The image is of a fingerprint. 
The alt text is "Sapiens"
2. Lies Sleeping, by Ben Aaronovitch. Additional text on the cover reads "A bestselling rivers of London novel", "Witty, well plotted and addictively readable, The Times". The image is an illustrated map of London in historical style, with some lines of the nursey rhyme 'Oranges and Lemons' . The river Thames runs through the middle of the map, coloured blood red. 
The alt text is "cover".
3. The Operator, by Robert O'Neill. Additional text on the cover reads "The seal team operative and the mission that changed the world". The image is of the back of a highly armed soldier and standing by a timber frame, with a military helicopter flying in the distance.
The alt text is "images".
4. One day in December by Josie Silver. Additional text on the cover reads "Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.", "'The sweetest love story. It's gorgeous' Marian Keyes"
The alt text is "One day in December"

As a side note, I sideloaded the fundamental test book circulated by George into these reading apps. The cover image is displayed and the alt text is read as expected.

Richard

-----Original Message-----
From: Matt Garrish <matt.garrish@gmail.com> 
Sent: 07 December 2018 12:30
To: 'W3C EPUB 3 Community Group' <public-epub3@w3.org>
Subject: RE: New fundamental test book and covers

> I feel like metadata is a red herring here, because while it's one of 
> the
use cases, the examples I gave (comics and picture books) are of cases where the art should be described, as meaningful images.

I would only add to this discussion that we're only talking about a technique, and techniques are informative exactly because they typically can't cover every need. As far as I could tell, Charles had captured some of what you're pointing out with this statement:

> Only if the image on the cover serves a purpose, follow with a brief
description of the imagery.

What I like about this, though, is that it gets authors to think about the text content on their covers, and that using placeholder alt text like "cover image" is not sufficient. As Richard pointed out, there is often marketing and other information that shouldn't be available to read only to those who can see the image, no matter whether what your personal opinions on the value of that information is. And as we move to Web Publication, where users aren't going to be going through a bookshelf, a web page with a single image that just reads "cover page" is not going to be helpful, regardless of whether the title and author are provided on later pages.

It seems like a reasonable starting point that we can expand on for other content forms than trade books, in other words.

Matt

-----Original Message-----
From: deborah.kaplan@suberic.net <deborah.kaplan@suberic.net>
Sent: December 6, 2018 19:54
To: 'W3C EPUB 3 Community Group' <public-epub3@w3.org>
Subject: Re: New fundamental test book and covers

I feel like metadata is a red herring here, because while it's one of the use cases, the examples I gave (comics and picture books) are of cases where the art should be described, as meaningful images. This means there is a clear use case for cover alt being available to a book reader, regardless of options for encoding metadata. This means there are three plausible
solutions:

1. Require reading systems to report any cover alt to AT, in some way, perhaps with visually hidden text marked as doc-cover.

2. Require reading systems to make the cover available to all readers, as well as AT, as an optional page that can be read in the reading order.

3. Tell content creators that if content from the cover is meaningful to the reading experience, they need to including it as a page in the reading order. (This is more or less what we do now.)

Three is the status quo and results in an inconsistent and confusing state of affairs.  Two is what I've always wished we do, but I have heard plenty of others in publishing who dislike having the cover in the reading order.
We ideally should do one or two.

Deborah
Received on Friday, 7 December 2018 14:09:32 UTC

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