The Issue with ISSUU: A full-screen reader is not a screen reader

As I was preparing for the interview with my next guest on The Accessible Podcast, I have received an electronic copy of a magazine featuring him. That took me to a website that my interviewee cannot really use, as it is not accessible to screen readers.

The website is ISSUU and it hosts numerous magazines. People have been complaining about the lack of accessibility since 2013, as I could find on a WebAIM discussion thread 

ISSUU promised on Twitter they are working on it, sometimes in 2016. To the day, ISSUU’s idea of accessibility is a full-screen reader included in a paid plan, starting at 19 USD per month.  At first sight, you might expect that for 19 dollars per month, your readers will get access to the information you are posting on ISSUU. Surprise! They don’t. They just get “fewer distractions”.

This full-screen reader isn’t accessible to screen reading software, either. As I understand, it just takes away the adverts and the covers of other magazines, but it does not solve the accessibility problem. No matter what assistive devices or software a visually impaired reader might use, when they get to the actual pages of the magazine, there is a great silence. Nothing comes out of the speakers.

So don’t let yourselves be tricked by this pun: a full-screen reader is not visible to screen readers, it means just a bigger page on your screen. The actual information you might be expecting is still embedded in a Flash element that assistive software cannot access.

I would really like to hear from my readers who use assistive technologies:  what platforms do you use to get your information online? Which are the friendliest magazine websites that you can really access?

Thank you in advance!

 

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