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DIAGRAM Out and About: March 2014 Update

2014 March 31
by jnoblitt

Report from CSUN 2014
Submitted by Julie Noblitt

As I arrived in San Diego for CSUN 2014, I had one question on my mind: How was I possibly going to choose among all the amazing concurrent sessions on image and math accessibility? There was nothing to do but jump in with both feet! Here is a brief roundup of the sessions I got to attend:

Office Hours with the DIAGRAM Center

Photo of crowd at DIAGRAM Office Hours

Office Hours with the DIAGRAM Center at CSUN 2014

Our second annual “Office Hours” for DIAGRAM Advisory Board and Working Group members was just as lively this year as it was last year, as community members got a chance to catch up and/or meet up in person for the first time. Judging from the full room and energetic conversation, I think it’s safe to say that we will hold this event again next year at CSUN 2015.  Many thanks to everyone for coming!

Highlights from the Exhibit Floor

Notable to me this year was the interest in 3D printing for accessibility, and the American Thermoform Corporation did not disappoint on their live demos from the exhibit floor. And, nothing livens up a conference like the surprise appearance of an international superstar. In case you missed this, here is a fun clip from the local San Diego news about Stevie Wonder having shown up at CSUN – the loop they show the most frequently in the background? Our own Mark Hakkinen chatting it up with Mr. Wonder.

More Notes from CSUN 2014: The Great Big List

Thanks to George Kerscher for pointing us to The Great Big List from the 2014 CSUN International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference where you will find wonderful roundups of the highlights of the conference. Do you have insights, links, or comments to share about your experience at CSUN? Post them below!

March 2014 Training & Outreach Update

2014 March 31
by jnoblitt

Next DIAGRAM Webinar: 3D Printing of Accessible Educational Materials
How are teachers using 3D printing to create accessible materials for students with visual impairments? Hear the results of newly completed research exploring this question, and the challenges of using this technology for creating accessible materials. Examples of how 3D printing can create better learning and teaching experiences will be discussed for classroom implementation.

Title:                3D Printing of Accessible Educational Materials
Date:                Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Time:               11:00 a.m. Pacific (2:00 p.m. Eastern; 19:00 GMT)
Presenter:        Yue-Ting Siu is a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI), Bay Area Unified School Districts; NLCSD Fellowship recipient and doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley
Register:          https://cc.readytalk.com/r/mphepsbx86xy&eom

Outreach Working Group Update
The DIAGRAM Outreach Working Group will hold its last quarterly meeting of the program year on April 14, 2014 at 11:00 am. Pacific Time. Contact Outreach Working Group Chair Julie Noblitt at julien [at] benetech [dot] org if you would like more information or have ideas for discussion. See the DIAGRAM Outreach Working Group wiki for past meeting notes.

What We Are Reading

2014 March 31
by jnoblitt

Here are a few items that caught our attention in the last month:

Interview with DIAGRAM Center Director, Anh Bui

2014 March 31
by jnoblitt
Anh Bui

Anh Bui, DIAGRAM Center Director

This month Benetech’s Communications Manager, Noa Ronkin, sat down with DIAGRAM Center Director, Anh Bui for an a conversation about math and image accessibility, global literacy innovation, women in technology, and of course our work here in the DIAGRAM Center. Don’t miss this article on Benetech’s Blog for the big picture of what Benetech is doing in Global Literacy.

March 2014 Standards Update

2014 March 31
by jnoblitt

ARIA Now a Full W3C Recommendation
Submitted by Geoff Freed

The W3C announced in March that ARIA 1.0 was finally released as a full W3C recommendation.  For those who like to read specifications, go directly to ARIA 1.0The ARIA Implementation Guide is also of great interest for Web site authors and application developers.  The Implementation Guide provides advice on how user agents should support and respond to various ARIA states and properties.  On the other hand, if none of this makes sense, go read the ARIA Overview.

Next up will be ARIA 1.1, now in FPWD (first public working draft) status. A primary new feature of this recommendation will be a new description property, aria-describedat, which will be the long-awaited and eventual replacement for HTML’s longdesc attribute.

Standards Working Group Update
The DIAGRAM Standards Working Group will hold its last quarterly meeting of the program year in April 2014 on a date TBD. Please contact co-chairs George Kerscher and Mark Hakkinen if you have ideas to add to the next meeting agenda. See the Standards Working Group wiki for past meeting notes.

March 2014 Software Development Update

2014 March 31
by jnoblitt

Tools Working Group Update 
The DIAGRAM Tools Working Group will hold its last quarterly meeting for the program year in April 2014 on a date TBD. Please let co-chairs Gerardo Capiel or Geoff Freed know if you have ideas to contribute. Past meeting notes are available on the Tools WG wiki.

March 2014 Content Working Group Update

2014 March 31
by jnoblitt

The DIAGRAM Content Working Group next meets on April 28, 2014 at 11 a.m. Pacific time to discuss possible updates to Version 1.0 of the Accessible Image Sample Book, and the design of an accessible image registry, for which research and requirements-gathering has begun. If you have any questions about this Working Group please contact co-chairs Elaine Ober and Lucia Hasty or visit the wiki page to see past meeting notes.

Accessible Image Sample Book Now Available

2014 February 27
by jnoblitt

Accessible Image Sample Book Cover ImageThe Accessible Image Sample Book, created by the DIAGRAM Content Working Group, is a free online resource that shows you what some of the many options are for creating accessible versions of digital images such as maps, bar charts, diagrams, mathematical expressions, photographs, and more. Each of the seven chapters in the book shows a different complex image in context of the book it came from, along with helpful tips and the code used to provide the accessible image in a digital book. See (and hear!) the different ways that an image can be made accessible, including: short and long descriptions, tactile graphics, MathML, sonification, audio description, and 3D printing. This resource can be used as a guide when creating accessible images in your own digital books and other digital publications. You can learn more what the book contains by listening to the webinar about the Accessible Image Sample Book presented by its authors. The book is available to download in EPUB 2, EPUB 3, and HTML formats.

February 2014 Training & Outreach Update

2014 February 27

Next DIAGRAM Webinar: 3D Printing of Accessible Educational Materials
How are teachers using 3D printing to create accessible materials for students with visual impairments? Hear the results of newly completed research exploring this question, and the challenges of using this technology for creating accessible materials. Examples of how 3D printing can create better learning and teaching experiences will be discussed for classroom implementation.

Title:                3D Printing of Accessible Educational Materials
Date:                Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Time:               11:00 a.m. Pacific (2:00 p.m. Eastern; 19:00 GMT)
Presenter:        Yue-Ting Siu is a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI), Bay Area Unified School Districts; NLCSD Fellowship recipient and doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley
Register:          https://cc.readytalk.com/r/mphepsbx86xy&eom

Accessible Image Sample Book Webinar Draws Hundreds of Registrants
Geoff Freed, Bryan Gould, Suzy Haines, Lucia Hasty, Steve Noble, Elaine Ober, and Madeleine Rothberg were the fantastic hosts of DIAGRAM’s February 6, 2014 webinar introducing the new Accessible Image Sample Book. We had a record-breaking 440 registrants from all over the world for this session, of which more than 250 logged in for the live webinar. Attendees included staff from publishers, universities, community colleges, K-12 schools, government agencies, and many more.  A closed-captioned recording of the webinar along with the PowerPoint slides and a written summary of the extensive Q & A, is now posted on the DIAGRAM webinars page. These resources are freely available – please share them with anyone who may be interested.

Outreach Working Group Update
The DIAGRAM Outreach Working Group met on Wednesday February 5, 2014. The group welcomed Gaeir Dietrich, director of the High Tech Center Training Unit (HTCTU) of the California community colleges as its newest member, and discussed the newly refreshed DIAGRAM Center web site, as well as promotion ideas for DIAGRAM webinars and the new Accessible Image Sample Book. Contact Outreach Working Group Chair Julie Noblitt at julien [at] benetech [dot] org if you would like more information or have ideas for discussion at our next quarterly meeting in April 2014. See the DIAGRAM Outreach Working Group wiki for meeting notes.

February 2014 Content Working Group Update

2014 February 27

The DIAGRAM Content Working Group met on February 12, 2014 to celebrate the release this month of Version 1.0 of the Accessible Image Sample Book, written by the Content Working Group, which now joins the growing list of standards guidelines for accessible images available on the DIAGRAM site. Discussion turned to the design of an accessible image registry, for which research and requirements-gathering is just now beginning. The image registry design will also be the topic of the next meeting on a date TBD in April 2014. If you have any questions about this Working Group or have ideas to contribute, please contact co-chairs Elaine Ober and Lucia Hasty or visit the wiki page to see the meeting notes.

What We Are Reading

2014 February 27
by jnoblitt

Here are a few articles that caught our attention in the last month:

  • Invisible Visualization (YouTube, 44 mins) – talk by Doug Schepers at OpenVis Conf 2013. Inspiring solutions for accessible data visualization. It’s high-level, but also drills down into technical details about SVG, CSS, ARIA, a bit of Canvas, and neurology. Note that Doug will be speaking at CSUN 2014 on Wednesday, March 19 at 3:10pm.
  • IBM standardizing on EPUB to reduce digital barriers and increase mobile support from IDPF blog February 13, 2014. Excerpt: “‘Accessibility and other EPUB features will redefine what we know as textbooks by expanding its utility to all students, including those with speech, hearing or vision challenges, to ensure they have the same opportunities to gain skills and training to compete in the 21st-century workforce,’ said Michael D. King, Vice President, Global Education Industry at IBM.”
  • Purdue graduate wants to make hands-on science accessible to blind, visually impaired from jconline February 9, 2014. Cary Supalo won the AFB’s Access Award for his work on developing products that make it easier to record and report scientific information. Achievement includes development of the “Logger Pro App, which offers audible or tactile representations of graphs and data tables.”
  • An Open Letter to Textbook Publishers from Inside Higher Ed February 25, 2014. Community college Dean Matt May offers a plea to textbook publishers to make their materials accessible. Excerpt: “Taking the extra step upfront to make your stuff accessible isn’t only virtuous, although it is; it’s also a way of maintaining market position in the face of an increasing array of alternatives.”

DIAGRAM Out and About: February 2014 Update

2014 February 27

DIAGRAM at WebWise (sponsored by the IMLS): February 10-12, 2014 – Baltimore, MD

  • Marcy Goot (Director, Global Literacy Marketing at Benetech) and Sue-Ann Ma (Product Manager, Global Literacy at Benetech) facilitated a workshop entitled, “DIAGRAM: 3D Printing and Accessible Images.”

DIAGRAM at EDUPUB2: February 12-13, 2014 – Salt Lake City, UT

DIAGRAM at CSUN: March 17-22, 2014 – San Diego, CA
CSUN is a key event for those who follow image and math accessibility, and there are a record number of DIAGRAM community members speaking at this conference. If you would like a copy of our one-page “short-list” of recommended talks related to images and math, please send us a note at <info [at] diagramcenter [dot] org> and we will send it to you. Here are just a few highlights from that list:

Guide to DTB Authoring & Reading Tools Revised

2014 February 27
by jnoblitt

Submitted by Geoff Freed

A major update is underway to DIAGRAM’s guide to DTB authoring and reading tools (a.k.a. the product matrices). Revisions have been completed for e-book software reading systems, DTB software reading systems, DTB hardware reading systems, and DTB authoring systems, with updates to the matrices for image-authoring software and e-book hardware reading systems to follow shortly.

February 2014 Standards Update

2014 February 27
tags: ,
by jnoblitt

Standards Updates: IBM, MathML
Submitted by Geoff Freed

  • IBM recently announced that it will begin using EPUB 3 as its primary portable document format.  See also a detailed explanation of this decision by Rich Schwerdtfeger, CTO of accessibility in IBM’s software group. By moving to EPUB 3, users will be able to read documents produced by IBM on mobile devices using a variety of reading systems, and take advantage of the transformational capabilities that EPUB offers.  EPUB 3 also offers improvements in accessibility to users of assistive technology.
  • MathML 3.0, 2nd Edition, now in Proposed Edited Recommendation status, is available for comment at http://www.w3.org/TR/2014/PER-MathML3-20140211/.  Comments must be sent to the working group no later than March 11, 2014.
  • IE 11 and Chrome have officially eliminated support for MathML. In addition, IE 11 removes support for plug-ins, such as MathPlayer.  (Firefox and Safari both continue to natively support MathML.)  These actions by Microsoft and Google may result in increased usage of MathJax to deliver math to all browsers, which in turn will have a significant effect on the accessibility of math in other browsers.  While MathJax provides visual consistency for the display of math across all browsers (as well as accessibility features such as zooming), it also requires the use of MathPlayer in order to make equations screen-reader accessible in IE.  Without support for MathPlayer in IE, screen readers will not be able to read equations aloud in that browser.  Additionally, equations presented in Safari using MathJax cannot be read by VoiceOver, whereas equations presented in native MathML can be read by VoiceOver. Work on MathML Cloud and other initiatives continue work on bridging the gap between MathML and reading tool support.

Standards Working Group Update
The DIAGRAM Standards Working Group met on February 19, 2014, and welcomed Keith Creasy of the APH as its newest member. Discussion focused on recent developments in standards, including IBM’s announcement to shift to accessible EPUB 3 as a default, the EDUPUB2 new profile of EPUB 3, and much more. Please contact co-chairs George Kerscher and Mark Hakkinen if you have ideas to add to the next meeting agenda. See the Standards Working Group wiki for the meeting notes. The next meeting will be held on a date TBD in April 2014.

Refreshed DIAGRAM Web Site

2014 February 4
by jnoblitt

When you next visit the DIAGRAM web site you may notice that it has had a face lift! We have reorganized the site and added a few more features that we hope will make it easier to find the information you are looking for.  The changes include:

  • Twitter and blog feeds that appear on the home page so you can see all the latest DIAGRAM news at a glance
  • Additional accessibility features:
    • a “Skip to” widget that allows you to see a menu of the contents of each page and quickly navigate to the content you want
    • a widget that allows you toggle for gray scale, high contrast, and font size
  • Refreshed text to reduce jargon and clarify the benefits of DIAGRAM initiatives
  • New “About DIAGRAM” page that consolidates key information, with a link to a new testimonials page, “What People Are Saying About the DIAGRAM Center

We hope you enjoy the refreshed site! We welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Bookshare Reader Survey Reveals Interesting Data About Images and Reading Tools

2014 January 31

At the end of 2013, the Global Literacy marketing team at Benetech conducted a Bookshare Reader Survey whose goal was to determine which technologies Bookshare members use to read their digital books. The 2,218 respondents included Bookshare members, parents, teachers, and trainers. In addition to the extremely useful information about which tools Bookshare readers use to access their books, the survey also captured information about Bookshare users’ desire and ability to read image descriptions with their preferred reading tools. Of the 2,182 respondents to the image-related questions:

  • just under 20% (429) said that their reading tools were capable of reading image descriptions; 48% (1,058) said they did not know, and 32% (695) said no.
  • of the 80% without access, or who did not know if their tool had access to image description reading capability, 65% (1,150) said they wished that their reading tool could read detailed image descriptions.

At the DIAGRAM Center, our goal is the close this gap between the desire and the ability to obtain accessible images. We are looking forward to doing further analysis of these fresh and valuable survey results to see what correlations can be made, if any, between reading tools and users’ ability to access image descriptions. Bookshare plans to conduct the Reader Survey annually, and so we hope to be able to benchmark progress in future surveys. Stay tuned!

DIAGRAM Out and About: January 2014 Update

2014 January 31
tags: , ,
by jnoblitt

DIAGRAM at ATIA: January 29 – February 1, 2014 – Orlando, FL

DIAGRAM at WebWise (sponsored by the IMLS): February 10-12, 2014 – Baltimore, MD

  • Marcy Goot (Director, Global Literacy Marketing at Benetech) and Sue-Ann Ma (Product Manager, Global Literacy at Benetech) will facilitate a workshop entitled, “DIAGRAM: 3D Printing and Accessible Images”

DIAGRAM at CSUN: March 17-22, 2014 – San Diego, CA

CSUN is a key event for those who follow image and math accessibility, and there are a record number of DIAGRAM community members speaking at this conference. If you would like a copy of our one-page “short-list” of recommended talks related to images and math, please send us a note at <info [at] diagramcenter [dot] org> and we will send it to you. Here are just a few highlights from that list:

http://blog.diagramcenter.org/wp-content/plugins/wp-accessibility/toolbar/css/a11y-contrast.css