Eliminate Student’s Dependence on Alternative Materials with EPUB 3

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:45am in Mattie Silks on Friday, November 10, 2023.



  • Darrin Evans, Director Virtual Learning Community Professional Development Center, North Carolina Community College System

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Enabling students to independently use digitally published materials in the EPUB 3 format can enhance their learning and eliminate a ton of work for accessibility specialists and Disability Services staff. Which EPUB reading apps are worth recommending and why? We will give up to date guidance and best practices for creating alternative materials using the EPUB 3 format.


EPUB is the preferred digital file format used by publishers to distribute textbooks, and it is the most accessible mainstream publishing format available. However, the app or device used has an incredible impact on the reading experience, and especially for students using Assistive Technology. If a first-year student is trained in using a great EPUB reading system, you will find that their demands for alternative materials drops. This session will provide guidance to DSO professionals and accessibility specialists on what reading apps and devices they can recommend to their students and why. EPUB Reading Systems in Higher Ed are rigorously evaluated with Assistive Technology by persons with print disabilities and accessibility experts. The results are tracked at http://www.epubtest.org. All the major Reading Systems and Apps used in Higher Ed are evaluated, including popular specialized apps used by students with disabilities. We will start with a detailed explanation of the testing methodology that uses controlled EPUB test books, including Math and STEM titles. Most of the session we will spend providing results and recommendations on which Reading Systems to recommend to students, and we will highlight some of the latest developments that benefit learners with print disabilities. Finally, we will provide an extensive list of resources and demonstration videos as well as how to easily keep up to date with the ongoing testing.


  1. Participants will learn about the extensive availability of Born Accessible EPUB through book retailers.
  2. Participants will learn about the built-in accessibility features offered by EPUB files and reading apps
  3. Participants will learn about the EPUB reading apps that work effectively with Assistive Technology.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, EPUB Track, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Darrin Evans

Darrin Evans is an Accessibility Technologist and the Director of the North Carolina Virtual Learning Communities Professional Development Center. Darrin has a Master’s in Instructional Technology Darrin has over 15 years of experience in eLearning and accessibility of digital content. The Virtual Learning Community is a partnership between the 58 community colleges of the North Carolina Community College System and Wake Technical Community College. Darrin enjoys technology and is always looking for ways to make digital content more accessible to all learners. In his spare time he is a very slow marathon swimmer.