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CSUN 2017: Final Countdown

2017 February 10

Day and Time set for the annual DIAGRAM Office Hours

  • Thursday, March 2
  • 5:00 – 7:00pm Pacific Time
  • Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, DIAGRAM Hospitality Suite

A DIAGRAM Center tradition at CSUN, the Office Hours event is a great time for DIAGRAM community members to grab a snack,  have a drink, catch up with friends face to face, make new connections, exchange ideas and share work. We’ll even have tables set up for anyone who feels like doing an impromptu demo.It’s a lot of fun and we hope you’ll join us!

Office Hours with the DIAGRAM Center at CSUN 2016

Office Hours with the DIAGRAM Center at CSUN 2016

 Of course, there is also another DIAGRAM Center tradition at CSUN. We won’t know the exact suite number until we’ve checked in, at which point we will send out an email to those of you who have expressed interest in stopping by. So please let us know if you are interested in coming and/or if there is someone you think we should be sure to include. Email us at info[at]diagramcenter[dot]org and we will make sure you are on the event notification list.  We are looking so forward to CSUN and can’t wait to reconnect with as many of you as possible!

DIAGRAM Interactive Code Sprint at CSUN

Accessible Math Sprint at CSUN 2016

Accessible Math Sprint at CSUN 2016

The DIAGRAM Center is thrilled to announce that we will be hosting a one-day code sprint in partnership with Macmillan Learning on Tuesday, February 28th  in San Diego. Following on the successes of last year’s math-focused code sprint, which brought together over 20 participants from the accessibility community, the DIAGRAM Center is excited to continue this open source, community-driven tradition with a second-annual event targeting challenges and solutions related to interactives. For instance, we’ll look at developing ways to support various drag-and-drop scenarios, interactive tables/charts, and further progress in digital math solutions. At the end of the day, we hope to ignite collaborative momentum towards developing at least one new tool aimed at making it easier, faster, and cheaper to interact with digital content.

Sessions that are explicitly about DIAGRAM or DIAGRAM products:

Thursday, March 2, 9:00 am PT – Balboa C, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Sue-Ann Ma, DIAGRAM Center; Lisa Wadors Verne, Benetech and Sina Bahram, Prime Access Consulting

Learn how to use the Repository-Registry of Accessible Images (RRAI), a collaborative web-enabled collection, to eliminate redundancies in the production of alternate formats in STEM.

Thursday, March 2, 2:20 pm PT – Mission Beach C, 3rd Floor, Between Harbor and Seaport Towers

Presenters: Lisa Wadors Verne and Robin Seaman, Benetech

We are in a golden age of digital information. Unfortunately, students with disabilities are often at a disadvantage because educational content is often not accessible.

Friday, March 3, 10:00 am PT- Golden Hill AB, 3rd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Charles LaPierre, Benetech; Ginny Grant, Bookshare; Sue-Ann Ma, DIAGRAM Center and Volker Sorge, MathJax Consortium, Progressive Accessibility Solutions

Learn about the latest advances in research, standards, and tools, all in efforts to provide more personalized access to digital mathematics.

Friday, March 3, 3:20 pm PT – Balboa AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: George Kerscher, DAISY Consortium; Charles LaPierre, Benetech and Rachel Comerford, Macmillan Learning

Publishers can now claim conformance to WCAG 2.0. “Certified by Benetech” guarantees the conformance claims are true. The process follows the approved EPUB Accessibility Standard.

Sessions hosted by DIAGRAM community members related to DIAGRAM’s goals:

Wednesday, March 1, 9 am PT – Mission Beach C, 3rd Floor Between Harbor and Seaport Towers

Presenter: Joshua Miele, Smith-Kettlewell

We will discuss overTHERE, a free iOS app for blind pedestrians that uses audio and gestural feedback to accurately pinpoint nearby businesses and other places.

Wednesday, March 1, 10 am PT – Gaslamp AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Rick Johnson and Chris Auclair, VitalSource Technologies; Amy Salmon and Andre Lukatsky, Tech for All

This presentation provides information on how VitalSource developed a robust, interactive, and accessible EPUB3 experience with interactive activities that work in different environments.

Wednesday, March 1, 11 am PT – Ocean Beach, 3rd Floor, Between Harbor and Seaport Towers  

Presenters: Taliesin Smith and Clayton Lewis, University of Colorado

With a study of 12 users, we examine strategies for making an interactive science simulation accessible using descriptions accessed via a screen reader and keyboard.

Wednesday, March 1, 11 am PT – Balboa C, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Jason White and Mark Hakkinen, Educational Testing Service

We explore the interplay of sensory and cognitive issues in the design of accessible user interfaces, then examine their implications for research and standards development.

Wednesday, March 1, 11 am PT – Hillcrest AB, 3rd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenters: Quentin Christensen, Michael Curran, James Teh and Reef Turner, NV Access

An overview of recent developments concerning the popular, free NVDA screen reader, plus an introduction to some exciting new NV Access products and projects.

Wednesday, March 1, 11 am PT – Golden Hill AB, 3rd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenter: Geoff Freed, WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM)

NCAM participated in the DoT’s Advisory Committee on Accessible Air Transportation. Learn how the committee is solving the problem of inaccessible in-flight entertainment and communication.

Wednesday, March 1, 3:20 pm PT – Balboa AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Sina Bahram, Prime Access Consulting and Andreas Stefik, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Quorum now supports physics and has an accessible visual editor. This enables students with disabilities to create engaging, complex, and accessible games, accessibly.

Wednesday, March 1, 4:20 pm PT – Balboa AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenter: Ed Summers, SAS

Join a blind data scientist for a demonstration of SAS statistical analysis software that is free for students of all ages.

Thursday, March 2, 8:00 am PT – Balboa C, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenter: Wendy Holden, Central Washington University

The Central Access Reader is a free text to speech program and a useful tool for producing accessible STEM content.

Thursday, March 2, 10:00 am PT- Mission Beach C, 3rd Floor, Between Harbor and Seaport Towers  

Presenters: Luis Perez, Inclusive Learning Consultant and Yue-Ting Siu, San Francisco State University

This session will focus on tools and strategies for developing successful online communities of practice for assistive technology professionals and inclusive educators.

Thursday, March 2, 10:00 am PT- Gaslamp AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower 

Presenters: Rachel Comerford and Kelly Lancaster, Macmillan Learning

Is technical compliance the ultimate goal for educational materials? We share insights from testing products with screen reader users for usability, not just compliance.

Thursday, March 2, 11:00 am PT- Mission Beach C, 3rd Floor, Between Harbor and Seaport Towers  

Presenters: Steve Noble, University of Louisville;Shari Butler and Su Park of Pearson; Cricket Biddleman and Edgar Lozano

Online testing environments for ELA and mathematics tests will be discussed, with a focus on usability testing with students with visual and learning disabilities.

Thursday, March 2, 11:00 am PT -Balboa C, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenter: Steve Landau, Touch Graphics, Inc.

Touch-responsive, 3D printed models of animals bring universal access to zoos and aquarium exhibits. This presentation explains how these exhibits were fabricated and programmed, and how Touch Graphics is working with museums to add multi-sensory displays that invite every visitor to touch, listen and learn.

Thursday, March 2, 1:20 pm PT – Gaslamp AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenters: Mark Hakkinen, Cary Supalo and Carlos Cavalie, Educational Testing Service

Consistent pronunciation and presentation of content by Text to Speech Synthesis can be achieved if AT were to support the Speech Synthesis Mark Up Language.

Thursday, March 2, 1:20 pm PT – Seaport Ballroom F-Deque, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Glenda Sims Deque and Jim Allan

The next version of WCAG is being drafted right now! The W3C Low Vision Task force has been researching user needs and writing proposed WCAG 2.1 success criteria and sufficient techniques. Come see what is proposed for low vision in WCAG Next.

Thursday, March 2, 2:20 pm PT- La Jolla A, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Bryan Gould and Geoff Freed, WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM)

NCAM is developing CADET (Caption and Description Editing Tool), free, downloadable caption-authoring software that enables anyone to easily produce high-quality, web-ready caption files.

Thursday, March 2, 3:20 pm PT- Mission Beach C, 3rd Floor, Between Harbor and Seaport Towers

Presenters: Larry Goldberg, Yahoo; Mary Bellard, Microsoft; Kate Sonka, Michigan State University; Jeff Wieland, Facebook

The Teach Access Project: tech companies and universities collaborating to expose ALL students in relevant majors to the fundamentals of accessible design and development.

Thursday, March 2, 3:20 pm PT – Seaport Ballroom H-Microsoft, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower 

Presenters: Elise Livingston and Seth Fox, Microsoft

Microsoft Office helps users create accessible content using the accessibility checker along with emerging image recognition technology.

Thursday, March 2, 4:20 pm PT- Cortez Hill AB, 3rd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenters: Jeanne Spellman, Paciello Group; Shawn Lauriat, Google; Andrew Kirkpatrick, Adobe; Michael Cooper, W3C

Learn the goals, process and priorities of the next major upgrade to accessibility guidelines after WCAG 2.1. Get the latest status and opportunities to contribute.

Friday, March 3, 8:00 am PT- Balboa AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: BJ Epstein, Greg Kehret, Frank Welte of LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Jerry Kuns and Theresa Postello

Learn best practices of how to design, use, and teach tactile graphics in this presentation and hands-on demonstration, based on the authors’ expertise and experiences.

Friday, March 3, 8:00 am PT- Golden Hill AB, 3rd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenter: Gian Wild, AccessibilityOz Inc

Covering the accessibility issues of each of the four main social media sites (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn).

Friday, March 3, 9:00 am PT- Balboa AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenters: John Gardner, ViewPlusTechnologies Inc. and Volker Sorge, Progressive Accessibility Solutions, Ltd

Developing software for fully automatic creation of accessible SVG diagrams.

Friday, March 3, 10:00 am PT- Ocean Beach, 3rd Floor, Between Harbor and Seaport Towers

Presenter: Shaun Kane, University of Colorado Boulder

Smart garments offer new possibilities for assistive technology. We reflect on the evolutionary trajectory of this area and identify future directions for assistive wearables.

Friday, March 3, 10:00 am PT – Balboa AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Eric Hansen, Mark Hakkinen, Jason White and Carlos Cavalie of Educational Testing Service

We report on the usability of a web-based tool for sonification of numerical data tables for screen reader users in realistic science assessment tasks.

Friday, March 3, 11:00 am PT – Balboa C, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Rick Johnson, VitalSource Technologies, Inc.; George Kerscher, DAISY Consortium and Benetech and Jonathan Thurston, Pearson

Accessibility leaders will discuss the challenges of implementing accessibility standards to create an end-to-end solution for students and will highlight recent steps toward that goal.

Friday, March 3, 2:20 pm PT – Balboa AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Richard Orme and George Kerscher of DAISY Consortium and Amaya Webster, Benetech

Digital publishing should mean regular books can be inclusive. Come and learn how to tell which reading systems are accessible (and legal) for everyone.

Friday, March 3, 2:20 pm PT- Golden Hill AB, 3rd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenters: Michael Cooper and Judy Brewer of W3C and Andrew Kirkpatrick, Adobe

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 builds on WCAG 2.0 to provide updated guidance that reflect technology changes and new needs.

Other sessions of possible DIAGRAM interest:

Wednesday, March 1, 9 am PT – Old Town AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenters: Dana Marlowe and Sharon Rosenblatt, Accessibility Partners

A presentation of case studies on how museums both big and small can implement accessibility for their patrons with disabilities.

Wednesday, March 1, 9:00 am PT – Golden Hill AB, 3rd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenters: Lainey Feingold, Law Office of Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian, Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho

Join two internationally recognized disability rights lawyers for a fast-paced review of digital accessibility legal settlements, court cases, laws and regulations. Web, mobile, kiosks, and more.

Wednesday, March 1, 10 am PT – La Jolla A, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenter: Abraham Glasser

An evaluation of Automatic Speech Recognition services showed that there was a relationship between ASR accuracy and readability levels by IBM Watson and Microsoft Azure.

Wednesday, March 1, 2:20 pm PT – Old Town AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Gareth Ford Williams and Nigel Megitt, British Broadcasting Corporation

Over 100 years of learnings from key research into the readability, legibility and accessibility of fonts are explored in this presentation.

Wednesday, March 1, 4:20 pm PT – Balboa C, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Jennifer Gauvreau, Michael Bennett and Elizabeth Whitmer, CGI

CGI will explore potential accessibility barriers with charts, graphs, and interactive dashboards and share practical lessons learned in designing and developing inclusive data visualization solutions.

Wednesday, March 1, 4:20 pm PT – Old Town AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenter: Atsushi Imai, Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK)

At present, audio description services are mainly for pre-recorded programs, such as dramas. We propose a new audio description service for live TV sports programs.

Thursday, March 2, 10:00 am PT- Golden Hill AB, 3rd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenter: Lisa Seeman, IBM Corporation, and facilitator of WCAG‘s Cognitive Accessibility Task Force

IBM is getting ready to address new success criteria in WCAG 2.1 for people with cognitive disabilities. What tools will be useable by all?

Thursday, March 2, 11:00 am PT – Balboa AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenters: Chaals McCathie Nevile, Yandex and Léonie Watson, The Paciello Group (TPG)

What does it take to make SVG accessible? How accessible can SVG be today?

Thursday, March 2, 1:20 pm PT- Balboa AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenters: Ken Perry and Jeanette Wicker of American Printing House for the Blind and Venkatesh Chari, Orbit Research

The Graphiti™ is a dynamic multilevel tactile touch display that allows students and adults to access a wide variety of on-screen graphics by touch.

Thursday, March 2, 1:20 pm PT- Balboa C, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenter: Michael Kolitsky, nextgenEmedia

iPad or iPad Pro audio buttons located directly beneath complex image tactile template regions provide one-to-one link between audio information and tactile location being touched.

Thursday, March 2, 1:20 pm PT- Golden Hill AB, 3rd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenters: Lisa Seeman, IBM Corporation, and facilitator of WCAG‘s Cognitive Accessibility Task Force, Maureen Kraft and Will Scott, IBM

Thursday, March 2, 3:20 pm PT- Seaport Ballroom G-Google, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower 

Presenters: Caile Collins and Noah Wang, Google

Learn about improvements and innovations in automatic closed captioning.

Thursday, March 2, 4:20 pm PT- Mission Beach C, 3rd Floor, Between Harbor and Seaport Towers  

Presenter: Jeff Witt, Fidelity Investments

We present practical design and implementation guidelines toward universal usability for charts, including palette design, keyboard interaction, and markup. Related usability research is discussed.

Friday, March 3, 9:00 am PT- Seaport Ballroom A-SSB Bart, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower 

Presenters: Chris Lane and Nat Tarnoff of SSB BART Group

Review the architecture of Angular 2 applications, and explore the use of Components, basic unit testing with Karma, and end-to-end testing with Protractor.

Friday, March 3, 10:00 am PT – La Jolla A, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenters: Julie Grisham, Sandy Watson, Levon Spradlin, Anthony Fernando and Corey Fauble of Pearson

An open discussion on the evolution of accessibility needs for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and how needs change when moving from K-12 to postsecondary education.

Friday, March 3, 10:00 am PT- Seaport Ballroom A-SSB Bart, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Mark Barlet, AbleGamers Foundation and Jessie Hall, SSB BART Group

From AAA titles to indie studio releases, look at game companies doing accessibility right. Delve into best practices, relevant legislation, and trends in the industry.

Friday, March 3, 10:00 am PT – Seaport Ballroom H-Microsoft, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower  

Presenters: Saqib Shaika and Anirudh Koul, Microsoft

When we think about sound, we generally assume it needs to be heard. How can we make the auditory world more inclusive for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing? Drop by our talk to find out how AI and visualizations can help convey the meaning of sounds.

Friday, March 3, 11:00 am PST – Ocean Beach, 3rd Floor, Between Harbor and Seaport Towers  

Presenter: Larwan Berke

To compare methods of displaying speech-recognition confidence of automatic captions, we analyzed eye-tracking and response data from deaf or hard of hearing participants viewing videos.

Friday, March 3, 2:20 pm PT – Seaport Ballroom A-SSB Bart, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenter: Alistair Garrison, SSB BART Group

ML/NLP is all over the news. Let’s look at how we can use it to make accessibility testing faster and easier for QA teams.

Friday, March 3, 3:20 pm PT – Hillcrest CD, 3rd Floor, Seaport Tower

Presenters: Jason Carroll and Martin McKay, Texthelp

This session will focus on and demonstrate various examples of cloud-based technologies that can support a wide range of learners in reading, writing and math.

DIAGRAM Community Spotlight

2016 December 30
by Amaya Webster

This time of year we like to look back and reflect on all the things that we are grateful for here at DIAGRAM and one of the biggest things is the tremendous community we have.  We are in awe of each and every one of you and the work that you do.  That’s why the community spotlight is one of our favorite sections and we are looking forward to highlighting everyone over the course of our award. If you or someone you know has something special coming up, let us know so we can include it in upcoming issues. Similarly, if you would rather not be featured, just let me know. You can email me at amayaw[at]benetech[dot]org.

Spotlight on Kimi Sugeno

 

A head shot photograph of Kimi smiling.Kimi comes to DIAGRAM with a background in publishing, specifically digital content management and workflow creation for digital book production. Kimi is the newest member of the DIAGRAM content working group and is already instrumental in furthering the group’s work through her continued help with the HTML migration of the Accessible Image Sample Book. While anyone who knows Kimi is aware that she is an expert when it comes to content management, project management, and workflow, few are privileged to the fact that she enjoys scuba diving, especially off Hawaii’s Big Island. Welcome, Kimi! We are very excited to have you as part of our community.

Congratulations Jim Fruchterman

2016 December 30
by Amaya Webster

Benetech CEO and Founder Jim Fruchterman was awarded an honorary doctorate from Northern Illinois University. Laurie Elish-Piper, the dean of the NIU College of Education, said of Jim, “Mr. Fruchterman is truly a model of innovation, social justice, and interdisciplinary problem solving.” NIU President Doug Baker talked about the privilege of recognizing Jim, saying, “…He applies his skills in engineering and physics to discover, develop and deliver technology that helps people around the world to lead better and more productive lives, and he has accomplished this in a selfless way.” Jim was nominated by Gaylen Kapperman, a professor emeritus in the Department of Special and Early Education. Jim received his honorary doctorate on December 12, 2016, at the graduate school commencement ceremony. Congratulations to Jim!

DIAGRAM Goes to Accessibility Camp

2016 December 30

Technical Camp

by Charles LaPierre

All the sessions were very well attended and had a tremendous amount of information to share. The sessions I attended were:

  • “Enhancing Accessibility for Date and Time selector: Lessons Learned” by Alan Souza where we coded a date/time selector and saw how it interacted with a screen reader. Experts in the audience offered alternative ways to accomplish the task and insights into some best practices.
  • “Accessibility Testing Tools for Developers” by Gerard Cohen was very interesting and highlighted a number of automated tools for checking a website for accessibility. Gerard, who is visually impaired, took a selfie of his debut presentation with VoiceOver activated on his phone, and it was so cool to hear how Voice Over told him the number of faces it found in the picture as he snapped the shot.
  • “Time to start exploiting ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) 1.1″ by accessibility expert Matt King, who explained that ARIA 1.1 includes eight new roles and thirteen new states. He pointed out some that had deprecated, I was surprised to learn that one was Drag and Drop. Of course, I had to tell Matt about our brand new Drag and Drop Developers sub-committee and he seemed very interested in learning more about it.

All in all the camp was well attended, well organized and had an outstanding lineup of presenters with substantive content. Many thanks to the event sponsors and LinkedIn for hosting.

Accessible User Interface Design Camp

by Deanna McCusker

I attended the session “Inclusive Design Thinking” presented by Bo Campbell, the A11Y design lead from IBM. This session emphasized the importance of including personas of people with disabilities in the task analysis. This session was similar to the one on mockup and wireframe review which discussed ways to ensure that accessibility is included in product development by including specifications in the design and mockups. Both of these sessions encouraged more A11y awareness in the product design phase so that it is carried forward into the development phase.

The session “Android A11y” given by Renato Iwashima from LinkedIn was a review of Android accessibility features, including the new “voice access” feature which was released at CSUN this year, but is still in beta. I also attended a session on law by disability rights attorney Lainey Feingold. She explained what is and is not currently in the legal code regarding digital accessibility and described her efforts at gaining corporate compliance through Structured Negotiation.

This year’s camp was just as good and informative as last year’s camp, and I look forward to attending next year.

Michigan Image Description Workshop

2016 December 30
by Amaya Webster

The University of Michigan Library and Press hosted a workshop with support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, on Describing Visual Resources in Arts and Humanities Publications.  The purpose of the workshop was to engage invited experts, including DIAGRAM Product Manager Sue-Ann Ma and community members Sina Bahram and Bryan Gould, to collaborate with other groups concerned with describing visual resources. Event host Stephanie Rosen was thrilled to have DIAGRAM members present saying that “we are very excited to add forthcoming content to the DIAGRAM [Image Description] Guidelines. The document has served as a model for our project throughout the process.” Needless to say, we are also excited and look forward to further collaboration with Stephanie and the rest of the University of Michigan Library and Press team. Read their full blog post on the event.

Bay Area Accessibility Meetup

2016 December 30

CA photograph of Deanna presenting at the meetup.harles LaPierre, the Technical Lead for DIAGRAM + and Born Accessible; Deep Datta, Benetech’s Head of Technical Volunteer Communities; and Deanna McCusker, Benetech’s Head of User Experience; presented at November’s Bay Area Accessibility Meetup. This month’s event was generously hosted by Google whose charitable arm, Google.org, recently gave Benetech a grant to expand its Bookshare accessibility work globally. Charles Presenting to the participants at the Meetup. Deanna kicked off the presentation by sharing an overview of our Global Literacy Program and highlighting the new features of Bookshare.  Charles then introduced the Born Accessible initiative and the new Accessibility Conformance and Discovery Specification included in the EPUB 3.1 which was met with a lot of excitement. Charles went on to highlight DIAGRAM and our community involvement. He then A photograph of Deep Data presenting to the meetup attendees. demonstrated some of Benetech Lab’s projects, MathML Cloud and Math Support Finder, which have both been released in beta. He also demonstrated the Poet Training Module which, when finished, will adapt the Poet Image Description Tool into a training resource for people to learn how to create quality image descriptions. Deep wrapped up the presentation talking about the opportunities that technologists have in skills-based volunteering with Benetech and participating in open source projects with our partner nonprofits through Benetech’s Code Alliance initiative.

The meet-up was a fun and successful event that reinforced our belief that the work we do with our partners A photograph of the meetup attendees listening to Benetech being introduced.is extremely important. Community drives many of the projects that Benetech Labs and DIAGRAM choose to work on, and we strive to bring the best people together to work on tough and unique challenges. We believe that rather than work in silos, we should leverage each other’s talents to effect change. In 2017, we’re excited to continue our grant work with Google on technology related to artificial intelligence for classifying and making images more accessible on the web.

 

DIAGRAM Product Update

2016 December 30
by Amaya Webster

Poet Training Module

While many people are familiar with the Poet Image Description Tool, we have learned over time that what people really need are examples and best practices for creating quality image descriptions. So in 2017 we will be expanding the Poet Image Description Training Module to address these needs. Stay tuned to learn more as this work unfolds.

3D Tactile Standards Working Group Update

2016 December 30
by Amaya Webster

Sadly, working group chair Mia Lipner had to step down so the DIAGRAM team will be meeting after the holidays to determine the best way for the group to proceed. In the meantime, we want to thank Mia for all of her hard work and dedication. We will miss her leadership!

Content Working Group Update

2016 December 30

The Content Working Group reviewed and approved the newest addition to the Accessible Image Sample Book, a section on how to make multimedia accessible, which will go live early next year. During the review process, the group had an in-depth discussion on the unexpected difficulties around embedding and playing closed captions in an EPUB document. After some back and forth with members of the Transition to Accessible EPUB group, it was determined that the problem wasn’t with the EPUB 3.1 specification, but rather a shortcoming of reading systems that will be tested further by the reading systems group. Other decisions made included how to progress with the HTML migration of the Accessible Image Sample Book which is currently underway and the next steps for the Top Tips For Producing Braille-Friendly Content document which is still in the early stages of production.

Developers Working Group Update

2016 December 30
by Charles LaPierre

The Developers subcommittee discussed strategies on how to represent math in an accessible way but still be able to visually render the equation exactly regardless of what reading system is used.

We also talked about coding and “block languages” which were inspired from the recent Hour of Code where tens of millions of students in over 180 countries learned how to program using drag-and-drop “blocks.” The DIAGRAM center will be researching this area further through the work of the Drag and Drop subcommittee, which is aiming to find accessible methods for this popular drag-and-drop user interface.

Drag and Drop Subcommittee Group Update

2016 December 30
by Charles LaPierre

A new subcommittee chaired by Jason White of ETS is gaining momentum. This group will be identifying multiple categories of Drag and Drop and exploring the various ways to make the interactions accessible for a multitude of disabilities.  This will be one of many areas of interest that we will explore in the upcoming CUSN Accessible Interactive’s workshop that will be held on February 28th in San Diego.

Standards Working Group Update

2016 December 30
by Charles LaPierre

We are creating a registry for braille codes that can be included in EPUB books that contain preformatted braille. We are also looking at the future of Diagrammar and how it can be used in RRAI (Repository-Registry of Accessible Images).

TASC Subcommittee Group Update

2016 December 30
by Charles LaPierre and Amaya Webster

Last month the TASC members met for our quarterly meeting where we touched on the topics of speech recognition, emotion detection, virtual reality, drag and drop and the upcoming DIAGRAM Report. Most of the meeting, however, was spent discussing machine learning when Anh Bui, Vice President of Benetech Labs, asked, “if we have a large number of images, is it possible to get to the point where, through machine learning, images that contain math are automatically differentiated from the ones that don’t, and then taken down a path that would have them treated in a way that would make them accessible?” The group was excited at the prospect. Discussion quickly switched from “if” to “how”, with the focus being on how to build a large enough data set and what implementation would look like. If this is a topic you are interested in, make sure to read the next edition of our Digital Digest, where we will be diving deeper into machine learning and its potential uses for accessibility.