Public Service Announcement – Jukes

One of my favourite people Matt Jukes is taking a blogging hiatus (like the Black album I hope). It was Matt who first encouraged me to blog about the ‘digital stuff’ I do. So over the past year or so I have been writing bits and pieces and one of the issues I still have is that of ‘voice and direction’. Am I writing for myself as a diary? is it to give back to the community? do i have to write long form? can I just point to things I think are interesting with/without adding a comment? should it always be digital focused or can I just take a moment to post my thoughts on my travels?

Now we are at the top of the year I think I have finally grown comfortable in what my blog is: MY place to do as I please for myself, much like an independent artist. One day it may be posting something epic about digital books and the next it will be a photo of me and my brothers because I can.  I will never top anybody’s top e-learning lists nor ever ‘break through’ to the mainstream and I think I am now comfortable with that. Numbers don’t mean much around here. A few posts that I really took my time over have led to bits of work and praise from people who THANKED ME for writing them. My blog has helped me and a few others which is enough for me.

Keeping on the music theme I guess my blog is more of a ‘freestyle’ (…”I record on duct tape so that my words stick…”) and I’d like to thank Mr Jukes for the encouragement and I look forward to the new you in the 2013 and beyond.

EPUB check v3.0 now available

Whenever you make an EPUB ebook you should check that it validates (required to convert to kindle too). You can use the web upload or download epubcheck which has just hit version 3.0.

Get it now and join me in tearing your hair out at 1am when you can’t interpret the error code!

DIY Multimedia Ebooks for Distance Students

Seeing as I constantly lose track of the comments I make on other peoples websites I think I may try and make a note here.

Read about how Phil Wood and Terese Bird from the University of Leicester are getting on with an interesting ebook student programme and then feel free to read my comments.

Read the post.

Event: Accessible Bristol launch

Last week I attended the launch of Accessible Bristol, a local group who are hoping to gather anybody with an interest or expertise around accessibility. After an introduction from Steve Hilton, director of futures for the Bristol City Council, there were three talks and here are my notes from their talks.

Leonie Watson, Director of Accessibility at Nomensa with a talk called Digital inclusion reasons, challenges and action


  • Liberty – Our day to day is now digital – Shopping, council services and travel
  • Economy – 20 percent may not have access and this is money being lost
  • It is digital common sense ( SEO, speed of access is important) to reach a wider and larger audience and is no longer a luxury.


  • People’s attitude
  • Technology – we should ensure we kick out all the old technology that doesn’t aid accessibility
  • Lack of education


  • As a nation we can use the equality act, hopefully give the legislation more weight
  • As individuals be vocal to call out bad practices and technology
  • Change one thing about some technology that you have control over

Joshua marshall, Developer and accessibility lead for

  • Digital by default without leaving anybody behind
  • Getting 30 million visits a month which is the equivalent of everybody in the UK over 16yrs old
  • Why should we care ?
  • All gov.UK stuff needs to meet wcag 2.0
  • They started from scratch to purposefully leave behing crap tech and make it inclusive from the start.
  • Small teams, build fast and iterate, agile with a small a.
  • Aim to deliver the minimal viable product and get it in front of users.
  • Got developers? Ask really nicely or lie, cheat, beg, steal to get stuff done.
  • Start small, making tiny changes is still a step in the right direction and won’t be noticed if you didn’t ask for permission.
  • Add aria roles.
  • Have an ideal. Not all gov guidelines are equal, a WCAG double aa may not be best just because it passes
  • There is always more work to be done
  • Gov are trying to help by being an example.
  • They have the design principles
  • Trying to position digital by default by April 2013 as a service standard similar to BIS.
  • New and redesigned services that no need meet the standard will not be hosted on gov.UK
  • If he can do it for millions so can you for our smaller audiences
  • has had over 1000 releases since launch in October
  • Keep it lean as much as possible, hence no images until everybody complains ha!

Tim Taylor

  • Lloyds bank has around 103,000 employees and has been behind.
  • Laying the foundation for IT accessibility
  • Battery on phone dies…

The how and why of making ebooks out of conferences

Writing a few thousand words in the space of a couple of days is obviously a big effort, but there are a couple of reasons I don’t charge for the books. Firstly, although everything is written by me, the book exists because of the generosity of the people who have given their time to talk, and the people who took the time and risk of setting up the event. I’d hate people to think I was trying to profiteer off their efforts to make a quick buck by selling an ebook. Even if it only ever upset a couple of people, the tiny amount of money it would generate isn’t worth it.

Read the post.