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Reading Technologies for the Disabled Offer Opportunities for All

Robert Martinengo, University System of Georgia

Date: Wednesday, June 20
Time: 2:00pm - 2:45pm
Location: Regency II

Technologies developed for people with disabilities are often integrated into commercial products. Products for people who can not read standard print due to a physical or cognitive disability are poised to break into mainstream publishing over the next few years.

Pearson Education recently announced a partnership with Texthelp to integrate assistive technology into grade school textbooks, and other publishers are sure to follow as legal pressures to provide equal access rise and technological barriers fall. Textbook publishers have freely distributed thousands of electronic files, with no digital rights management whatsoever, for use by students with disabilities.

Most students still prefer print books over ebooks due to the familiarity and utility of print, but assistive reading technologies developed for the disabled provide a richer reading experience, enabling readers to ‘come to grips’ with digital content.

Digital publishing separated content from delivery mechanism, and publishers need to understand, invest in, and improve the digital reading experience. Assistive technologies and people with disabilities can provide key insights and a research base for progress.

This session will provide a grounding in the history of assisted reading, an overview of the state of the art, and informed speculation on emerging industry trends and opportunities.

Anyone interested in understanding how they can take advantage of publishing tools that enable all persons to access their content, regardless of disability, and who is looking for ways to differentiate their offerings in the digital marketplace will benefit from this presentation.