Global Certified Accessible – Changing the World One Publisher at a Time


Presented at 9:15am in Matchless on Friday, November 18, 2022.



  • Charles LaPierre, Principal, Accessibility and Content Quality Architect, Benetech
  • Ashley Wells Ajinkya, GCA Account Manager, Benetech

Session Details

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


Benetech’s Global Certified Accessible program helps publishers and conversion vendors produce fully accessible EPUBs that are truly born accessible. No longer will DSO’s have to remediate an EPUB for a student who needs an accessible version. Third-party certification and accessibility metadata will highlight content from publishers who create fully accessible EPUBs to educational procurement offices.


Since the Global Certified Accessible (GCA) program launched in 2018, we now have over thirty publishers and close to a dozen EPUB conversion vendors creating thousands of fully accessible EPUBs which meet or exceed current accessibility standards. The fully accessible content is finally being created. Now we must encourage educational institutions to require and purchase fully accessible ebooks instead of spending valuable resources on non-accessible educational materials.

GCA helps publishers and conversion vendors understand what makes an EPUB fully accessible and enjoyable for all readers. An EPUB that looks amazing but is not accessible creates barriers for individuals who require personalization and adaptation to read and understand material.

Additionally, the new European Accessibility Act requires members to implement accessibility standards by 2025, at which time all educational materials must be fully accessible. It is certainly possible that the US will follows suit.

Come discover how GCA helps top educational publishers create accessible EPUBs all students can use, including those who need a personalized reading experience or use assistive technology. No longer do students have to wait for a DSO office to remediate a book and wait weeks to get these accessible renditions. Now these students can get the same book at the same time as everyone else, and that book is fully accessible for everyone.

Accessibility metadata inside the EPUB can inform those in charge of procurement on which EPUBs are accessible or not and having third party certification like GCA can provide an additional assurance that this book truly is accessible.


  1. What is GCA and how is it changing the world in terms of EPUB accessibility.
  2. Procurement of born accessible certified EPUBs helps the DSO be more effective.
  3. Learn about some of the most common issues facing publishers in producing accessible EPUBs.

Disability Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, EPUB Track, Procurement, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Charles LaPierre

Charles LaPierre, Benetech: Principal, Accessibility Standards, and Technical Lead, Global Certified Accessible. Charles has over 25 years’ accessibility development experience and has been a pioneer in accessible product development since 1993. Charles currently a member of the following W3C Working Groups: Publishing Working Group, MathML Refresh, ARIA, APA / Personalization Task Force, as well as a member of the EPUB3 W3C Community Group, and co-chair of the Accessibility Metadata W3C Community Group. Charles is the technical architect of the new Global Certified Accessible initiative at Benetech to certify publisher content as conforming to the new EPUB 1.0 Accessibility Specification. Charles has a bachelor's and master's degree in Electrical Engineering from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Ashley Wells Ajinkya

Ashley Wells Ajinkya - GCA Account Manager at Benetech Ashley is Benetech's Global Certified Accessible Account Manager. She has been in the publishing industry for 6 years and was previously a graphic designer. Ashley is also a mental health and disability advocate, a writer, and a speaker. She's a contributing writer for We Need Diverse Books and a 2021-2022 Ambassador for The Pad Project. Benetech’s Global Certified Accessible program teaches publishers how to enhance their workflows to produce fully accessible EPUB files from the start. Using international accessibility standards, Benetech reviews publisher workflow outputs and performs extensive testing on a series of files, while helping the publisher understand necessary workflow modifications required to consistently create fully accessible EPUB files.


AHG22 Slide Deck - Global Certified Accessible Changing the World One Publisher at a Time