Improving the User Experience by Standardizing on EPUB

The days of laboriously reading a document on a mobile device by "pinching and squeezing" and scrolling side to side are coming to an end.

To help consumers easily read documents and educational materials, IBM is standardizing on EPUB as its primary packaged portable document format, making its documentation and content more accessible on any mobile device. This allows any user – including people with speech, hearing or vision challenges – to have a more personalized experience with the content.

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EPUB is an open standard format for digital publications developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum and makes use of open web technologies (HTML5, WAI-ARIA, SVG, and MathML) that will enable IBM to deliver a richer user experience and more inclusive access to digital math, interactive documentation, complex layouts and charts. It also works easily with assistive technologies, such as screen readers.

IBM decided it needed to start thinking about documentation in a new way that not only tailored content for any mobile device, but offered greater levels of "out-of-the-box" accessibility, especially on the mobile platform. By leveraging EPUB, IBM will be able to deliver dynamic interactive documents such as bookmarks, highlights, and notes which can then be shared across cloud-based services.

By making this move, IBM hopes commercial and government organizations will follow its lead in making EPUB the de facto standard for a broad range of content, including books, magazines and educational, professional and scientific materials and publications.

For example, IBM realizes there is no "one-size-fits-all" to effective learning and instructional material. EPUB has the ability to transform the education industry and deliver an experience that is flexible to fit all styles of learning. Adapting content to individual student needs will increase equal access to knowledge and education and improve student outcomes. Follow this link to more information about creating better accessible education solutions.

As more and more people worldwide use mobile devices to consume news, entertainment and educational content, leveraging accessible technology solutions, such as EPUB, will enhance the customer experience, increase customer satisfaction and eliminate barriers to digital knowledge.

For more information on IBM’s move to EPUB read a blog post from Rich Schwerdtfeger, IBM’s CTO of Accessibility.

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