At Fulcrum, accessibility is a core value and design component. Over the past few months, the Fulcrum team has been focused on improving the platform’s accessibility features and making information about them more publicly available. We were fortunate to work for the summer with Luke Kudryashov, a Rackham public engagement graduate fellow, whose fellowship centered around three key goals:

  1. Testing and documentation of the platform according to the Web Conformance Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and Section 508 standards.
  2. Creation of public-facing content around accessibility and develop user guides to accessibility
  3. Initiating conversations with faculty members about their digital scholarship and publishing needs in order to craft scholar profiles that can be used to guide further development of the platform

With Luke’s help, the team developed more accessibility features and completed a VPAT 2.1 document, which can be found on our updated accessibility page.

We’ve also been working to implement a few new accessibility features on the platform, including:

  • Improved screen reader compatibility
  • Text zoom features in e-reader (shown below in Gaming the Stage, a University of Michigan Press title by Gina Bloom)

A screenshot of E-Reader preferences panel with text size increase/decrease options.

  • Implementation of Able Player, an accessible multimedia player for captions, audio descriptions, and transcripts (shown in another University of Michigan Press title, Animal Acts)

A screenshot of an image with alternative text on Fulcrum.

  • Image descriptions through alt-text attributes encoded in our EPUB 3 files
  • Zoom controls on images (shown in our Northwestern University Press title, The Director’s Prism by Dassia Posner)

A screenshot of a video rendered through Able Player on Fulcrum.

  • Keyboard navigation shortcuts in the Fulcrum E-Reader
  • Compatibility with major accessibility browser extensions and operating system settings including text-to-speech, zoom, and contrast (shown in Show Sold Separately, our New York University Press title by Jonathan Gray)

A screenshot of the Fulcrum E-Reader with system contrast settings reversing light to dark and dark to light.

The Fulcrum team continues to create inclusive services and content for all readers, and is constantly working to make the platform and its content as accessible and usable as possible. We’re particularly excited about our upcoming collaboration with the Deaf Studies Digital Journal (DSDJ), supported by a NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Grant through the spring of 2020, which will help us to push accessible publishing forward even further.

We always welcome suggestions on how to make the platform more accessible and user-friendly. To check out our updated accessibility page and VPAT 2.1, please visit fulcrum.org/accessibility.