iBooks Author EULA

Apple takes pride making sure its products and software is made for every user, including students and teachers in the classroom. iPads are being used more and more throughout the classroom. To assist with this, Apple, last year, launched iBooks Author. iBooks Author is a free app, available in the Mac App Store that allows users to create interactive iBooks.

In this accessibility segment, I will be discussing how to make create accessible iBooks using iBooks Author

Apple makes inserting images and interactive review guides simple by either pressing on the media browser button or the widgets button.


However, by default, when you add in an image, chart, or review guide, they are not compatible to use with VoiceOver. VoiceOver is the built in screen reader that comes on the Macs and iOS devices, and it allows low-vision and legally blind users to be able to use these devices.

To make the media compatible with VoiceOver, you first click and select on the picture that you want to make compatible. Then you open up the Inspector (located in the upper right hand corner with a blue circle and a white i)


Once you have the Inspector open, tap on the Widget Inspector. The Widgets Inspector is the brown tab with a gear on it (all the way towards the right).


Navigate to the bottom area where it says Accessibility Description. Now in the box where it says Accessibility Description, I’m going to type in what the picture is. It is a picture of:

Niles is climbing up the nucleon trellis. Ernie is there to help him avoid the neutrons.


Since I added an Accessibility Description, VoiceOver will now read out loud:

Niles is climbing up the nucleon trellis. Ernie is there to help him avoid the neutrons.

To make the interactive review guides accessible, first you want to create a review guide by tapping on the Widgets button at the top in the menu bar. Then click Review. When you do that, it automatically opens up the Widgets Inspector filled with “Lorem Ipsum” text.


If you type in the question and answers in the review guide in the book, it automatically fills in the Accessibility Description in the Widget Inspector. Press Tab on the keyboard to save it and to fill out the next section.


Now if you were to do the review section in the book, VoiceOver will read out loud the review section.

Now you can make iBooks that you create in iBooks Author accessible.

Author’s Note: I would like to thank Dr. Cindy Schwarz, physics professor at Vassar College for allowing me to use her book Adventures in Atomville: The Macroscope as part of my demonstration, as well as giving some of our loyal 9to5Mac readers some free codes to check out her awesome new type of “science fiction” book.

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4 Responses to “How-to: Make accessible iBooks with iBooks Author”

  1. madzhidov says:

    what are the codes for? I am confused


  2. Mark Granger says:

    All of us need “accessible” books when we can’t look at or touch the screen. When we drive or are walking we can’t look at the screen to read an iBook. The one feature that would make all text based iBooks accessible is text to speech yet iBooks does not have this feature. You can only get text to speech when you turn on accessibility and that requires a lot of touches to get it to work. The reason iBooks does not have text to speech is because publishers won’t allow it. Apple needs to be more proactive on this issue by requiring that publishers allow text to speech or using very visible flags for books that don’t allow it in the iBook Store. Apple could even use the new law that requires accessibility to media to force publishers to allow text to speech of all iBooks.


    • A small change to yoru comment. I’m visually impaire dso right away when I got my IDevice set up tripple click home to turn on and off voice over or what ever I need. This is a little somethign all sighted and blind people can use to quickly inable and idsable voice over. Smae iwht the mac. cmd f5 will enable and disable voice over at the drop of a hat.


  3. Frank Lowney says:

    Nice work Sarah. The next challenge is to make video accessible. Since iBooks Author now allows *.m4v files with alternate audio (and other ‘extra’) tracks, a video can have an audio description track as well as the regular audio track. GarageBand is a great tool for this kind of work because you can see and hear the video as you add your description atop the regular audio. The ducking feature is a big help too.
    Invoking the alternate audio track might be a bit tricky though. What would be great is if Apple were to auto switch to an alternate audio track with a specific name, say, “description” whenever VoiceOver is active. It’s worth exploring I think.