Tuesday’s Tip

Improved Accessibility features on the Libby App    January 18, 2022

Your favorite library app is making big changes to improve accessibility for all readers.

Overdrive is teaming up with the accessibility platform Fable, to add the following:

 Screen reader support: Low-vision and blind users can use screen readers to browse, borrow, read eBooks and magazines, and listen to audiobooks in Libby. Currently, Libby is tested with screen readers on the native mobile apps for iOS and Android, with plans to expand testing to desktop screen readers like NVDA and JAWS in the


  •   Read from Here: When using a screen reader, low-vision and blind users can enter “Read from Here” mode to

    have the text of an eBook or magazine read aloud.

  •   Navigation Bar labels: There’s an option in the in-app menu to add labels beneath each of the navigation bar

    icons. Note: This setting is currently only available in the English language.

  •   Adjustable text size: Libby uses the text size setting of the user’s device and scales the text in the app

    accordingly. Users can increase the text size in eBooks manually.

  •   Adjustable playback speed for audiobooks: Users can choose from 48 speed settings to find the speed that

    best suits their needs.

  •   Keyboard shortcuts: Shortcuts in Libby’s eBook reader and audiobook player supplement the keyboard


  •   Lighting options: Libby uses the device’s built-in lighting setting and displays the app in light or dark mode

    accordingly. Users can also choose a lighting option (light, dark, or sepia) in the eBook reader manually.

    Additional accessibility updates coming in early January 2022:

  •   Screen reader and voice control improvements: We are refining the labels and descriptions of all interactive elements, making it easier for users of assistive technologies to understand and interact with the app.
  •   Keyboard focus indicators: We are making improvements to help users navigate Libby with a keyboard or any other assistive technology that does not have a pointing device, like a mouse or touch controls.
  •   New accessibility features (under Settings > Accessibility Features):
  •   Reduce Color Variation: By default, Libby adapts to the colors of book covers and the user’s active library. A

    new toggle will allow users to reduce such adaptive changes, favoring neutral colors with good contrast.

  •   Reduce Text Variation: The app uses a variety of font styles to convey meaning, such as italics for important

    actions. Users will be able to adjust this setting to simplify text styles.

  •   Reduce Motion: This setting will reduce most of the transitional motion in the interface. Users can also set this

    preference in their operating system or browser preferences, and Libby will apply it automatically.

  •   Reduce Haptics: On devices that support subtle vibrations (called haptics); Libby uses these to provide feedback

    on certain touch interactions. Users can either turn it off at the operating system level or in the new “Accessibility

Features” menu.

  •   Orientation Locking: By default, Libby uses a “smart orientation” setting that chooses the device orientation that

    best suits the content. WCAG guidelines recommend that users should be able to override the default orientation

    of the app, which will be adjustable in the “Accessibility Features” menu.

  •   Full screen menus: The in-app menu will no longer open from the side of the app. Instead, it will open full

    screen. This makes keyboard and screen reader navigation more consistent and helps all users concentrate on the task they are trying to perform in the menu.

Get started with Libby here! More help with accessibility features here!