Readium for Chrome: Getting Started Guide
Readium for Chrome is a free Chrome browser extension for reading EPUB books. It supports most features of EPUB 3 including media overlays. Readium is keyboard accessible and works reasonably well with screen reading software like JAWS for Windows.
This article applies to the Readium extension for Chrome. Note that Readium for other browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox is under development.
Installing the Readium extension in Chrome
From the Chrome web browser visit the Readium page on Chrome Web Store and click the FREE button to install. Chrome will prompt you to sign in using your Google ID if you are not already signed in. Click the Add button in the pop up Confirm New App message box. After a few moments Chrome should display the installed apps page which will also include Readium.
Alternatively, you can also visit the Readium website and click the Install from Chrome Web Store link.
Opening Readium and adding books
Open Chrome and click the Apps button in the toolbar. Keyboard users should press F6 when the focus is in the Address Bar to move to the toolbar. Then press Tab or Shift+Tab to move to the Apps button and press Enter. The browser window will now display all the installed Chrome extensions. Click the Readium icon. Using the keyboard use the Arrow keys or Tab to move to the Readium icon and press Enter to activate it. Note that keyboard users may have to press Tab once to move to the browser window.
When Readium is activated, the first screen is the Library view.
To add EPUB books to Readium Click the Add to Library, the "plus" shaped button on the right corner of the Readium toolbar. Readium provides three options for adding EPUB files: From the Web, From Local File and From Unpacked Directory. If you want to select a file from your hard drive then click the first Choose File button and browse to the file location and select it. The selected EPUB will be added to the Readium Library and its book cover will be displayed. Readium version 2.24.0 includes support for importing more than one file at a time. Multiple files can be added via drag and drop onto the library pane or via the normal “Add File” dialog. The books added this way to the Readium Library can be arranged in a list or grid using the List View/Thumbnail View toggle button on the Readium toolbar. In the List View you can click the Details button to get more information about the book, click the Read button to open it or click the Delete button to remove it from the Readium Library.
Reading EPUB books
In the Library View click on the book that you want to open for reading. The first page of the book will be displayed. If the book was opened and read earlier, the last read page will be displayed.
To move to the next or previous page use the arrow shaped buttons on the left and right of the screen.
The Table of Contents button on the Readium toolbar at the top opens the TOC in a pane on the left side of the screen. You can click on any entry in the TOC to move to it. The TOC view can be closed by clicking the Close icon at its top.
Using media overlay
If the EPUB book contains media overlay that is pre-recorded audio then playback controls will appear in the Readium toolbar in the middle.
The controls available are: Previous Audio Phrase, Play/Pause, Next Audio Phrase, Mute Audio and Audio Volume.
On clicking the Show Advanced Audio Controls button the Audio Time Cursor, Audio Playback Rate, Enable Skippability, Highlight Color and other controls are displayed.
These controls can be used to play the audio with simultaneous highlighting of text in the preferred color and at desired speed.
Customizing the reading experience
The gear shaped icon at the right corner of Readium toolbar opens the Settings dialog with following options.
- Font Size: The font size can be increased or decreased
- Margins: The left and right margins can be adjusted using this slider.
- Text and background color: One can choose from the different presets available.
- Display format: The choice is between single page and two page view in the screen.
The display can also be toggled between Day and Night mode to improve readability.
Accessibility and Keyboard shortcuts
The HTML-based interface has been designed to accommodate the needs of users with disabilities, such as people with visual impairments. Readium has been tested with several screen readers (e.g. ChromeVox, NVDA, Window-Eyes, SuperNova), but; due to technological limitations in web browsers and screen readers; the most suitable level of accessibility can effectively be achieved using VoiceOver on Mac OSX, and JAWS on Windows OS.
In order to navigate the application's user interface and to activate commands, the following basic keyboard actions can be used (with or without a screen reader):
- "tab" and "shift+tab" moves the keyboard focus across the main controls (buttons, links, sliders, etc.). Note that the focused item gets highlighted using a dotted border + glowing surround.
- "enter" or "space" keystrokes activate buttons and associated commands.
- "left" and "right" arrow keys change slider values, and select radio button options.
- the "escape" key closes popup dialogs.
- To reach the frame containing the actual e-book pages, screen reader users can navigate via the TOC (table of contents) sidebar: each time a heading link is activated, the keyboard focus is automatically redirected to the content frame. Once there, screen readers should be able to read the document presented within the frame.
The list of all available keyboard shortcuts is provided below. HTML "access keys" identical to the single-key shortcuts are also exposed. This redundant access mechanism is necessary, because some screen readers disable Readium's standard keyboard gestures. In Chrome when the screen reader is running, accesskeys can be triggered using the "alt" modifier. Press "alt" in combination with the accesskeys mentioned below to trigger the associated action. On some system configurations, querying an access key results in the keyboard focus moving to the corresponding button, which then requires an extra keystroke for activation ("enter" or "space" key).
The Readium Settings dialog" contains a section for configuring keyboard shortcuts. For the new configuration to take effect, the browser page must be reloaded (a popup message reminder is displayed when keyboard shortcuts are changed).
- Go to previous page: 'left arrow' or '1'
- Go to next page: 'right arrow' or '2'
- Show / hide the TOC sidebar (table of contents): 't'
- Switch to library view: 'b'
- Toggle "night theme" mode: 'n'
- Hide the toolbar: 'x'
- Show the toolbar: 'v'
- Enter / leave fullscreen mode: 'h'
- Open settings dialog: 'o'
- Close settings dialog (save and apply options): 's'
- Close settings dialog (ignore options changes): 'c'
- Audio Media Overlays - play / pause: 'p' or 'm'
- Audio Media Overlays - previous phrase: 'y'
- Audio Media Overlays - next phrase: 'u'
- Audio Media Overlays - show / hide advanced control panel: 'g'
- Audio Media Overlays - escape current context: 'r'
- Audio Media Overlays - increase speech rate: 'l'
- Audio Media Overlays - decrease speech rate: 'j'
- Audio Media Overlays - reset speech rate: 'k'
- Audio Media Overlays - increase volume: 'w'
- Audio Media Overlays - decrease volume: 'q'
- Audio Media Overlays - mute / unmute: 'a'
Text is available under the terms of the DAISY Consortium Intellectual Property Policy, Licensing, and Working Group Process.