Mathematics in Born Accessible Publications – Latest developments in Accessible Math around the Industry


Presented at 11:30am in Mattie Silks on Thursday, November 17, 2022.



  • Charles LaPierre, Principal, Accessibility and Content Quality Architect, Benetech
  • George Kerscher, Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Officer, Global Literacy, DAISY Consortium and Benetech

Session Details

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


Digital Educational publications with mathematics must be visually correct, and they must be accessible to persons with disabilities. We will look at the techniques that deliver born accessible publications in EPUB. We will demonstrate techniques with assistive Technology (AT) and explain how publishers are implementing the recommendations. We will provide a lay of the land when it comes to accessible math and what the future will bring.


More and more educational publishers are committed to delivering born accessible EPUB publications to students in universities. Mathematics and STEM content has been the most difficult type of materials to deliver. Now there are techniques and standards that meet the requirements of the mainstream and the disability community using assistive Technology (AT).

Accessible math has gained a lot of traction over the past few years where publishers are leading the charge on creating accessible content and reading systems are providing ways to read this math in an accessible manor.

In this session we will demonstrate the latest best practices and techniques now being recommended to publishers for their mathematical content. We will use screen readers on several platforms. We will also show how students with low vision access the mathematical content. These techniques have shortcomings, and we will lay out the work that still needs to be done. Finally, we will show how students, professors and procurement officers can determine in advance of purchase if a publication uses the recommended techniques for accessibility.


  1. The state of the art with regards to accessible math in EPUBs and the reading systems which display them
  2. Latest improvements to the standards and best practices around math accessibility
  3. What the future holds for accessible math for students

Disability Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, EPUB Track, 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.

George Kerscher

George Kerscher Ph.D. “Access to information is a fundamental human right.” 2003 to the United Nations George Kerscher began his IT innovations in 1987 and coined the term "print disabled." George is dedicated to developing technologies that make information not only accessible, but also fully functional in the hands of persons who are blind or who have a print disability. He believes properly designed digitally published materials and web pages can make information accessible to all people. George is an advocate for semantically rich content which can be used effectively by everybody. As Chief Innovations Officer of the DAISY Consortium, Senior Advisor, Global Literacy to Benetech, and member of Publishing Groups in the W3C, Kerscher is a recognized international leader in document access. In addition, Kerscher chairs the DAISY/NISO Standards committee, Chairs the Steering Council of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).