Replication of various output devices, each of which displays a view of an eBook

Accessible Magazine

About the project

Project for

Universität Hamburg


Accessible PDF, ePub

Project background

The magazine "19Neunzehn" is Universität Hamburg's biannual university magazine. It tells background stories from campus life and current research and provides information about personnel changes and upcoming events. The magazine is published both in printed form and digitally as an accessible PDF document and eBook in the ePub format.

Personal contribution

Based on the print file of the 16th issue of the magazine, I created accessible digital versions in PDF and ePub format together with a colleague. In a first step, I optimized the InDesign source file for accessibility. This includes, for example, the definition of a reading order and the assignment of semantic functions (heading, text paragraph, caption, table of contents ...) to all content elements through the consistent use of paragraph formats. I provided all illustrations, links and cross-references with pre-formulated alternative texts. Further tasks are the creation of meta information (title, author, keywords, description) as well as bookmarks. After the PDF export, extensive post-processing follows in the actual PDF file for final optimization. Various automated accessibility tests help to eliminate even the last errors in the technical structure.

The ePub format is a widely used format for eBooks. ePub files are technically structured in a similar way to websites and are therefore particularly accessible and — when designed as a reflowable file — optimized for use on different-sized device screens. For ePubs, various optimizations in InDesign and extensive post-processing in the output files are necessary as well in order to create an eBook that is as accessible and high-quality as possible. The inconsistent rendering in different reader programmes also makes it necessary to test the final eBook with as many different programs as possible.


Issue 16 of the magazine in PDF and ePub format at the website of Universität Hamburg (in German only)


Replication of various output devices, each of which displays a view of the university magazine eBook.

The ePub format is particularly suitable for accessible reading, as the content adapts flexibly to the screen size and is displayed according to the user's own preferences.

Illustration of the tagging process: 3 windows are shown side by side with different sized boxes. In the first window, these are neither labeled nor ordered. In the second window, each box has a label, such as h1, h2, p, figure. In the third window, the same labeled boxes are arranged in a linear structure from top to bottom.

To ensure that the content structure is also understandable for assistive technologies, all content must be assigned a semantic function. In addition, a defined reading order is required for the individual elements.

You can see the screenshots of two program windows. On the left side you can see a program that can be used to check the accessibility of ePub files. No errors are displayed. On the right side you can see the PAC 3 tester for checking PDF documents for accessibility. All test criteria are fulfilled, which can be seen by green checkmarks.

Automatic testing tools such as the PAC 3 test for PDF documents as well as the Ace by DAISY software for ePub documents can only check the technical aspects of accessibility. However, they are a huge support in order to ensure the quality of the final product.