October 17th, 2019 | Category : bepress Development Blogs

Accessibility Double Feature: Digital Commons delivers new VPAT alongside enhanced cover pages

Our community cares deeply about accessibility and we continue to look for opportunities to deliver more accessible web services to ensure users of all abilities have their needs met.

Digital Commons is committed to achieving WCAG 2.0 AA compliance, the gold standard of accessibility. This is reflected in updates to our Accessibility Statement and VPAT. We use the VPAT to measure our progress against the WCAG 2.0 AA goal, and we have updated to meet that goal. Another important step towards this goal is a set of new enhancements to our branded cover pages for better accessibility without sacrificing discoverability. These enhancements also give the cover pages a cleaner, more modern design.

We are very pleased to announce that Digital Commons’s newly enhanced customer-branded cover pages include accessibility tags, improved fonts and more readable colors specifically chosen to optimize accessibility. Branded cover pages are a key Digital Commons feature designed to improve discoverability of institutional repository (IR) content. These cover pages also ensure users who go directly to a PDF from a search result see the IR brand on the cover page. In addition, custom metadata options and hyperlinks can lead visitors back to the IR to discover more of your content. Now, when PDFs are appropriately tagged by DC admins prior to uploading into Digital Commons, the enhanced cover pages will result in a discoverable file that will meet accessibility scans.

Because Digital Commons is a hosted solution, the cover page enhancements will be supported for all customers and will be applied to all new submissions going forward. You still retain the ability to configure and customize your cover pages. The new cover pages can be retroactively added to existing content in the IR – simply contact your Consultant.

Accessibility Enhancement FAQ for Digital Commons

  1. What exactly are the changes implemented for the cover pages?
    The cover pages will have improved accessibility: elements are tagged in proper reading order for screenreader use; alt text can be added for figures and logos; a Sans-serif font is now used to improve readability; and font colors and line heights have been adjusted to further improve readability.  Assuming the original file was accessible, the PDF with the cover page will now be just as accessible.
  1. Will the new cover pages be implemented for all customers?
    Yes. In addition to making the cover pages accessible to all readers, the enhancements also give the cover pages a cleaner, more modern design. At the same time, all the previous configurations and features of the cover pages are maintained. For these reasons, we are implementing the new cover pages as a value-added benefit across all Digital Commons sites.
  1. Will the new cover page be automatically added to all content in my Digital Commons site?
    The new cover pages will be applied to all new works added to a Digital Commons site if the publication is configured to have cover pages added.  The new cover page will also be added to every existing file in a Digital Commons site when it is downloaded by a reader, if the publication is configured to have cover pages added.  If you wish to have the new cover page proactively applied to all, or a set of, existing content in your Digital Commons site, simply request this by reaching out to your Consulting Services representative.
  2. Will I still be able to configure and add custom text, logos, and links to the new cover pages?
    Yes.  All existing functionality to configure or customize the cover pages has been retained. The example below shows placeholders where your institution’s logo, text, links, etc. can be customized.