Extended Description Whack-a-Mole

With the publishing of the EPUB Accessibility specification, there’s been a noticeable up-tick in people looking to produce accessible content. Normally, that would be a great thing, but it also means more people are hitting on the limitations of reading systems for accessibility. It’s true, EPUB reading systems aren’t just a headache for designers!

Providing extended descriptions is one of the more problematic areas, as we’ve been searching for years now for solutions that meet publishers’ needs and are also broadly supported enough that they can be reliably used. That headache popped up again this last week, so I thought I’d detail the anatomy of finding a solution.
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Lost from HTML 5.0

If you’ve ever taken a read of the EPUB 3 Content Documents spec, you’ve undoubtedly seen the warnings about HTML5 features being experimental, and to use them with caution. Caveat emptor and all that…

Did you ever skip on over to the HTML 5.0 spec and have a look at what features those were? Did you use them with caution? (Everyone follows specs to the letter of the law, right?)

If not, as the 5.0 revision winds down you might have missed the various features that have recently been pushed out. If you liked the details/summary elements, for example, you’re waiting for HTML 5.1 now for official status.

So where does that leave the world of EPUB 3?

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