This week DIAGRAM Co-P.I. George Kerscher and Benetech’s Director of Content Acquisition Robin Seaman are in New York at the Accessibility Executive Breakfast, speaking to a large collection of publishing industry notables about taking concrete steps toward born accessible publishing. With back-to-back talks on June 9, Robin will give an overview of how far the publishing industry has come in regards to accessible content, while George will provide a high level view of the practical IDPF accessibility work, insight into what conformance means, the metadata that will inform the public on the accessibility features, how the public can discover what accessible publications are available, and finally the software development initiative to help in the process. One of the big topics at the meeting will be the ongoing work on accessibility certification, as the pressure to create accessible content is intensifying, driven most dramatically by the demands in the education space. DAISY received a Google impact challenge award to come up with an accessibility EPUB certification program, inclusivepublishing.org, and in alignment with one of DIAGRAM’s goals of making “born accessible” a reality, Benetech will be helping with assessment and definition. Stay tuned for updates and opportunities to give feedback as this exciting endeavor unfolds!
This year has been very exciting for our 3D printing work. Building on the momentum of the 3D forum last summer, DIAGRAM members spoke about the use of 3D printed tactiles at two very prestigious conferences. Lisa Wadors Verne, Benetech and Charlie Wapner, American Library Association, discussed the need for using 3D objects for learning and reinforcing complex spatial concepts that are difficult to convey or explore using pictures alone. At SXSWedu in Austin Texas, they examined the idea of schools, libraries and museums all collaborating to help support teacher in providing multi-modal access to complex STEM topics as well as utilizing student talent to create innovative learning tools. Read more here http://www.districtdispatch.org/2016/03/reflections-on-sxsw/
With our new Diagram Center + award, and after a few internal meetings here at Benetech, it has been decided that this DIAGRAM Tools WG (Working Group) will be disbanded. In its place will be a new Developers WG which I am in the processes of forming and will be reaching out to all you developers out there for your buy-in to this exciting new opportunity to provide code samples and contribute to an open-source code repository of accessible widgets, tools and so much more! For those interested in joining the new Developers Working Group, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to all of the Tools Working Group member who have worked so hard over the past five years and achieved so much, you have been amazing to work with and we can’t wait for all that we will continue to achieve in this new iteration of the group!
The 3D Printing Standards Working Group last met on April 25 to discuss Next meeting: May 16, 2016 where they decided to continue holding bi-weekly meetings. The group also settled on modular publishing for the 3D printing standards that they a creating. The first topic they will be addressing is the best way to print braille. The group will next meet on May 16. For more information or to join the working group, please contact 3D Printing Standards Working Group chair Jim Allan at email@example.com.
https://wiki.benetech.org/display/3DS/3D+Standards+Working+Group (closed work – available to people working on the Diagram 3D Standards. Contact me for access.
Welcome the DIAGRAM Center’s new General Advisory Committee!
We are absolutely thrilled to have formed a new, expanded General Advisory Committee for the DIAGRAM Center, thanks to our new award from the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs. The new group—more than 50 members strong—builds on the existing DIAGRAM Advisory Board and combines returning members and new participants. Members represent a wide variety of stakeholders, including educators, parents of students with disabilities, publishers, developers, researchers, representatives from standards bodies, accessible media, and leading technology and disabilities organizations. In expanding the Committee we also wanted to emphasize the associations and skills necessary to reflect the needs of students with disabilities other than traditional print disabilities, including students with autism spectrum disorders, hearing impairments, intellectual disabilities, or other disabilities. We welcomed new members from Gallaudet, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Colorado, the NCLD, and more. A full roster of members is available on the DIAGRAM website at http://diagramcenter.org/about/advisory-board.html.
W3C Digital Publishing Interest Group (DPUB) has been working on a new Portable Web Publications for the Open Web Platform (http://w3c.github.io/dpub-pwp/). In addition DPUB has created a WAI ARIA module for Digital Publishing (http://www.w3.org/TR/dpub-aria-1.0/). The W3C Accessibility Task Force for the DPUB is in the process of publishing to the W3C our Accessibility Note entitled “Digital Publishing and Accessibility in W3C Documents” (http://w3c.github.io/dpub-accessibility/).
The EPUB Working Group’s Accessibility Task Force has been working on the new ePub 3.1 specification and has created an editor’s draft of “EPUB Accessibility” (http://www.idpf.org/epub/a11y/) which has been published for general review. The goal of this document is to be pointed to from the 3.1 ePub specification as a guide to make accessible ePub documents. It is our hope that the EDUPUB profile would require conformance to this specification.
The Content Working Group is going full steam ahead. Potential objectives for the first year of the new DIAGRAM + award were brainstormed during the meeting that took place in the first quarter. The second quarter meeting will be held towards the end of May at which points the objectives will be finalized and the group will begin work on what we can be sure will be exciting new content around making information accessible!
A Tenure to Remember
Geoff Freed has been a champion of multimedia, broadcast and web accessibility for more than 25 years and the DIAGRAM Center has been tremendously lucky to be able to collaborate with him. In 2012 Geoff graciously agreed to co–chair the newly formed DIAGRAM Tools Working Group, eventually becoming the sole chair of the group in 2014.
He has been a pillar in the DIAGRAM community and his leadership, guidance, and willingness to share his considerable knowledge and expertise has not only helped further the goals of DIAGRAM, but has furthered the field of accessible digital content as a whole.
Notably, with the deep knowledge and great humor he has shown in everything from the DIAGRAM product matrices to key webinars, Geoff has helped make the complex world of standards and assistive technology easier to understand and a whole lot more fun.
Thank you Geoff for all the work you have done as chair of the Tools Working Group and all that you have helped us accomplish!
Be like Geoff. If you are interested in joining the Tools WG, let us know!
DIAGRAM at ATIA
Orlando, Florida – February 3 – 6, 2016
- On Thursday, February 4, Lisa Wadors, Carol Stanger, James Leahy, Joseph Lane, Kathleen Hanek, Lisa Dieker and Lori Geist hosted an interactive session called Researcher-Industry Collaboration: Establishing and Maintaining Value-Added Partnerships. The session explored case examples of successful researcher-industry collaborations in all aspects of generating new or improved assistive technology (AT) products, including scientific research, engineering development, and industrial production. For more information visit http://goo.gl/qE16Sk.
- On Friday, February 5, Lisa Wadors presented on 3D printing for accessible educations in a session entitled Enhancing Educational Opportunities for Tactile Learners Through 3D Printing. Participants learned about the work DIAGRAM has been doing in this area, the findings from the 2015 3D Printing for Education Technology Forum and how teachers have incorporated this technology into their accessible classrooms for STEM education. For more information visit http://goo.gl/6cH86H.
DIAGRAM at IDPF EPUB Accessibility Meetings
Baltimore, Maryland – February 23-24, 2016
- George Kerscher, DIAGRAM community member and Secretary-General of the DAISY Consortium gave the kickoff speech to open the meetings which had a general theme around EPUB Accessibility as a Baseline by giving the keynote address.
- Charles LaPierre, Technical Lead for DIAGRAM and Born Accessible, presented a technical Note on behalf of the Digital Publishing Interest Group’s (DPUB) Accessibility Task Force. The Note, currently in draft status, addresses what is missing from WCAG in terms of Digital Publishing and can be found at http://w3c.github.io/dpub-accessibility/ .
Three domains are interacting making for some exciting developments: the W3C in the DPUB Interest Group, IDPF in the EPUB 3.1 Standards development, and DAISY driving an EPUB Accessibility Profile and the nascent developments of a certification approach. All three groups are closely collaborating in efforts to harmonize the work. The DPUB work is focused on an ARIA module for publishing, and their accessibility group is developing a formal “note” on WCAG 2’s application to digital publishing. IDPF Kicked off the EPUB 3.1 Standards development in November and is targeting the completion of this standard by the end of 2016. In Boston on February 24 & 25 at the EPUB for Education conference, the concept of an EPUB Accessibility Profile, which can be applied to any EPUB 3 Standard, was launched. To elevate the importance of accessibility, discussion of how to develop a formal certification process was started.
Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module 1.0
In EPUB 3, semantics were added using the EPUB-type attribute. Using WAI-ARIA roles, states, and properties, will better align EPUB developments with the web. I expect this module to be approved by the W3C when ARIA 1.1 is approved, which is expected in 2016.
Digital Publishing Accessibility Note
The Digital Publishing Accessibility Note is intended to examine the W3C/WAI (Including but not limited to WCAG 2.0) to identify their applicability to digital publishing, as in the EPUB Standards. It goes on to identify areas where W3C/WAI technologies are absent, such as in packaging a set of HTML documents in a single publication or where “page numbers” exist in digital publications. It is expected that this note will be submitted to the W3C as an informative document in the second quarter of 2016.
EPUB 3.1 Editors Draft Published
EPUB 3.1 is focused on refining the 3.01 Standard and reducing implementation barriers. There is also an area of development that will enable a “web manifestation,” which means the publication can be placed on the Web unzipped. The web manifestation would make it much easier for cloud-based reading systems to present EPUB publications. EPUB 3.1 is expected to be completed by the end of 2016
EPUB for Education (was EDUPUB)
The second editor’s draft of “EPUB for Education” was released on February 19. This introduces a name change from EDUPUB to EPUB for Education. It also introduces an IMS Global “Learning Tools Integration” (LTI) Section. It is expected that many educational publishers will use these advanced features to create more interactive educational content using the EPUB Standard.
EPUB Accessibility Profile (baseline) and Certification
On February 24 at the EDUPUB Alliance meetings in Baltimore, the development of an EPUB Accessibility Profile and Certification was kicked off. The presentations and panels saw the publishing, technology, and disability communities come together to jointly figure out solutions that will ensure that we have an Inclusive Publishing Society. Please bookmark http://inclusivEPUBlishing.org/ and sign up to track the efforts or to join in on the work. This website was also formally launched on February 24 and we [DAISY] plan to make this an important website for information related to accessible publishing.
The DIAGRAM Tools working group held its quarterly teleconference on February 10, where Sue-Ann Ma led a discussion about the upcoming Math Sprint to be held at CSUN on March 22, 2016. This event will assemble technical experts to discuss open-source resources for improving the accessibility of math, and also to talk about the direction that the DIAGRAM community may want to take with respect to the resources. The working group discussed various approaches for the focus of the event, including server-side production tools, protocol handlers, browser support for various types of input, and braille support. Watch this space for information about the results of the sprint.
In other news, Geoff Freed has decided to step aside as the current chair of the DIAGRAM Tools working group. “It’s election season,” explained Geoff.
“What better time to announce my self-imposed term limit?”
Luckily for all of us, while Geoff will be stepping down as chair, he will still continue to participate as a Tools Working Group member.
Taking over for Geoff will be Charles LaPierre, DIAGRAM’s Technical Lead. He is excited to carry on Geoff’s legacy, saying, “With the extension of the DIAGRAM grant beyond accessible publishing and images, and expanding into other disability areas, we are at a pivotal time and I’m looking forward to helping continue the work and impact that Geoff and the Tools group have begun!”