Full Build

Benetech Bookshare

Client since
Main Site Compliance
Live Site

Giving people with reading barriers across the globe new opportunities for learning and literacy.

Across the globe, an estimated 1.3 billion people live with some form of distance or near vision impairment. That’s a staggering number that doesn’t even begin to include the 700 million people with dyslexia, 10 million with Parkinson’s disease, or the many other disabilities that make reading printed text difficult or impossible. 

Without access to books in accessible formats, print disabilities can create an insurmountable barrier to information that can limit the potential of billions of people of all ages, across the globe. 

Benetech is helping address this issue by making more than 700,000 titles available in accessible online formats through its Bookshare project. With features that include searchable text, synchronized text and audio, highlighting, and customizable font size and contrast, Bookshare gives people with reading barriers new opportunities for learning and literacy. And thanks to a recent partnership with Kanopi Studios, Bookshare can quickly expand to serve developing nations in any language. 

The Solution

Expanding accessible reading across the globe

Benetech’s goal is to be able to easily create Bookshare sites to serve every nation across the globe. To do that, they needed to expand their ability to translate the site into new languages as quickly and simply as possible. 

Kanopi’s development team provided front and back-end development of the platform in Drupal, partnering with LingoTek for translation functionality and implementing the designs that Benetech provided. 

A Kanopi team member’s young daughter has dyslexia and volunteered to help test the site’s design, offering feedback on fonts and text sizes that were difficult to read. She joined a group of print disabled users on the Benetech team to help ensure that the site upheld AAA accessibility standards, the highest level of accessibility for the web. 

Kanopi’s work resulted in the ability to create a fully-functional, Bookshare website in less than two hours and complete translation within two weeks. Before the project, similar work would have taken more than two months. 

In addition to planning and building the framework, the Kanopi team supported translation and deployment of new sites for five countries, including:

  • Bolivia
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Peru 
  • and Tanzania 

to be translated into seven languages …

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Hindi
  • Marathi
  • Tamil
  • and Telugu

… all within an incredibly rapid two-month timeframe.

Supporting continued growth

Several sites have been successfully launched already, including the United Arab Emirates and, in mid-September 2019, a site for the National Council for the Blind (NCBI) in Ireland. Both are examples of how each organization was able to tailor Bookshare to their needs and audiences.

With near-future plans to translate the site into more than 100 languages, there is incredible potential for Kanopi Studios to support Benetech’s goal of offering Bookshare in every nation across the globe. 

We’re incredibly proud of this work with Benetech Bookshare to unlock the power of reading, allowing people of all abilities access to printed materials that can expand their success in school, their ability to find jobs, and their pure enjoyment of everyday life.

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