New Models for Creating Accessible Interactive Widgets for STEM Learning
On August 7, 2014, Kyle Keane of Wolfram Research and Madeleine Rothberg of NCAM teamed up to present new DIAGRAM research into current best practices for making dynamic scientific graphics accessible to persons with print disabilities. A walk-through of a working example and its source code was included as well as demos of examples of interactive widgets forthcoming from Pearson. More than 60 publishers, UX designers, accessibility researchers, and developers tuned in, and reactions were enthusiastic to say the least. Here is a sampling of comments that came in via the chat window during the webinar:
“This is fantastic…”
“Thank you for such amazing work! This is fantastic! REALLY great stuff!”
“I am stunned with amazement over this accessible drag-and-drop…”
“I am alerting all my Facebook and Twitter friends to your code…”
“Thanks everyone for making this happen!”
“THIS IS AWESOME!!!!”
Visit the DIAGRAM Center webinars web page to download the PowerPoints and view the closed-captioned recording of the webinar. You can also download a copy of Kyle Keane’s full report and experiment with his working example by visiting the Research page on the DIAGRAM web site.
Outreach Working Group Update
After a break following the DIAGRAM strategic planning meetings in June, the DIAGRAM Outreach Working Group will resume regular meetings next month. Working Group members, please watch your in-box for a note on scheduling for that meeting. Following on outcomes from the Airlie strategic planning meetings, we will be focusing on synthesizing the DIAGRAM tool suite with narrative of our story to show clearly how students can benefit from our work and discussing what we can use to determine metrics for success of DIAGRAM initiatives. If you would like to join this Working Group, please contact Julie Noblitt at <julien [at] benetech [dot] org>. As always, you can access past meeting notes on the Outreach Working Group wiki.
- OSEP Project Director’s Conference – July 21-23, 2014 – Washington, D.C. Betsy Beaumon presented a discussion of the latest research and development at DIAGRAM.
- American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Annual Meeting – October 16-18, 2014 – Louisville, KY. Jim Downs will deliver a DIAGRAM update to Ex-Officio Trustees and special guests.
- Accessing Higher Ground (AHG) – November 17-21, 2014 – Westminster, CO. Sue-Ann Ma and Gaeir Dietrich will present New Developments in Image and Math Content Accessibility
- Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) – January 27-31, 2015 – Orlando, FL. Betsy Beaumon and Karen Erickson will present, “3D Printing: New Educational Opportunities for Students with Disabilities.”
In June 2014 the SETDA (State Educational Technology Directors Association) published a policy brief entitled, “The Accessibility of Learning Content for All Students, Including Students with Disabilities, Must Be Addressed in the Shift to Digital Instructional Material.” The brief includes a recommendation that readers follow DIAGRAM’s “Top Tips for Creating Accessible EPUB 3” (see page 8 of report). Full text of brief is available in PDF. An article about the report is here: http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/06/23/setda-releases-brief-on-accessible-resources.aspx
Content Working Group Update
After a break following the DIAGRAM strategic planning meetings in June, the DIAGRAM Content Working Group will soon resume regular meetings. Working Group members, please watch your in-box for a note on scheduling for that meeting. Following on outcomes from the Airlie strategic planning meetings, the WG will continue to discuss possible updates to Version 1.1 of the Accessible Image Sample Book, and the design of an accessible image registry, as well as work on updates to the image description guidelines. If you would like to join this Working Group, please contact co-chairs Elaine Ober at <elaine [dot] ober [at] pearson [dot] com> and Lucia Hasty at <lucia [at] tactilegraphics [dot] org>. Visit the wiki page to see past meeting notes.
DIAGRAM Resources Cited in New CAST UDL Web Site
As part of CAST’s web-based resource called “UDL On Campus: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education,” the Accessible Image Sample Book, and DIAGRAM’s Top Tips for Creating Accessible EPUB 3 are cited the section called, “EPUB: Supporting Learner Variability in EPUB Creation.”
New DIAGRAM Subcontract with the AMS
Submitted by Sue-Ann Ma
Tools Working Group Update
After a brief summer break following the DIAGRAM strategic planning meetings in June, the Tools Working Group will resume regular meetings next month. Working Group members, please watch your in-box for a note on scheduling for that meeting. We will be working on our refreshed goals from the Airlie strategic planning meetings and hope to have some interesting guest speakers this fall as well. Stay tuned! In the meantime, contact Tools Working Group chair Geoff Freed <geoff [underscore] freed [at] wgbh [dot] org> if you have any questions. And, as always, you can access past meeting notes on the Tools Working Group wiki.
Standards Working Group: New Temporary Meeting Schedule for 2014
Submitted by George Kerscher
Following the strategic planning meetings at Airlie in June, the DIAGRAM Standards Working Group has accelerated its meeting schedule from quarterly to bi-weekly in order to quickly resolve issues related to the DIAGRAM Content Model. Because of the large membership and interest overlap between the DIAGRAM Standards Working Group and the DAISY Transition to Inclusive EPUB 3 Ecosystem (TIES) project, the two groups have converged for the purpose of discussing the Content Model outstanding issues. The weekly meeting agendas will focus alternately on TIES and DIAGRAM topics until the Content Model discussion has concluded, most likely through November or December 2014. The DIAGRAM Standards WG will then resume its previous schedule.
The last meetings were held on July 15, August 12, and August 19, 2014. Meetings are generally held on Tuesdays at 8:00am Pacific, 11:00am Eastern, 3:00pm GMT. Please contact George Kerscher at <kerscher [at] montana [dot] com> if you would like more information. Meeting notes continue to be posted on the DIAGRAM Standards WG wiki.
EPUBTest Now Includes Accessibility Characteristics of E-book Systems
Submitted by Geoff Freed
EPUBTest (http://epubtest.org) now includes the accessibility characteristics of e-book reading systems, thanks to work done by George Kerscher, Marisa DeMeglio and others. If you want to participate by contributing evaluations, please send a note to Marisa at marisa [dot] demeglio [at] gmail [dot] com.
In June 2014, forty members of the DIAGRAM Community met at the beautiful Airlie Center in Warrenton, VA (near Washington, D.C.). We celebrated what we have achieved so far and set our agenda for the final funding year under the current award, which concludes on April 30, 2015. Our strategic planning included ideas for how to extend our work beyond the end of the award. Several important themes emerged from the two days of active discussions:
- Legacy: leaving clear and useful assets, nurturing the community no matter what the future brings
- Impact: making sure our tools and standards are used
- Synthesis: putting all the pieces together to create comprehensive solutions
- More: doing more of what works, more guidelines, more training, more tools, etc.
- Future: Thinking big! Tackling new technologies (3D printing, online math, etc.), getting new funding
We left our meeting a great sense of satisfaction, connection, and excitement about the future as well as refreshed and expanded goals for the remainder of the award. We also emerged with a new understanding of our group’s amazing talents when it comes to things like championship Foosball, impromptu a cappella singing, and skeet shooting. (Sorry, no room to elaborate here, but I encourage you to ask your colleagues for details!) We were glad to see that 100% of respondents to our post-meeting survey agreed or strongly agreed that the meeting was worthwhile, useful, and relevant to future planning. From our point of view here at DIAGRAM, the community input that came from the meeting was an essential part of our planning, and we thank you!
The notes from our breakout discussions and a summary of our Goals and Objectives have been made available in a DIAGRAM-only blog posting entitled, “DIAGRAM Strategic Planning Meeting at the Airlie Center.” Note: you must be a registered user to access this article. Contact Julie Noblitt at <Julien [at] benetech [dot] org> if you need assistance with registering. In addition, a webinar to debrief the event will take place on Wednesday August 6th at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time. All DIAGRAM Advisory Board and Working Group members are welcome to attend. Look for webinar registration details via email.
It is hard to convey in this short article the deep connection we felt as we planned for the future. The DIAGRAM Center truly is the center of creativity and commitment for creating access to images for students with print disabilities. We can’t wait for all that is to come!
Next DIAGRAM Webinar: New Models for Creating Accessible Interactive Widgets for STEM Learning
Are you a publisher, UX designer, accessibility researcher, or developer who has wondered whether it is possible for interactive graphics to become effective learning tools for learners who rely on screenreaders for access, especially in the STEM classroom? Tune in to this webinar to hear the results of new DIAGRAM research into current best practices for making dynamic scientific graphics accessible to persons with print disabilities. Kyle Keane will discuss his framework that describes the information flow in interactive widgets, a set of guidelines for providing this information to users, and a freely available working example to aid content creators in the implementation of guidelines. A walk-through of the working example and its source code will be included. Madeleine Rothberg will discuss exciting developments happening elsewhere in the field, including examples of interactive widgets currently available from Pearson and others. She will also discuss the wide range of widgets being delivered in new K-12 assessments and the accessibility challenges they create.
Title: New Models for Creating Accessible Interactive Widgets for STEM Learning
Date: Thursday, August 7, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m. Pacific (2:00 p.m. Eastern; 19:00 GMT)
Presenters: Kyle Keane, Wolfram Research and Madeleine Rothberg, National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM, WGBH)
Version 1.1 of the Accessible Image Sample Book posted this month. The first code sample line under “Making These Images Accessible” in “Sample 7: Decorative and Redundant Images” has been updated. The old statement <img src=”image.jpg” alt=”” function=”decorative” /> has been replaced with the new statement in accordance with Image Guidelines for EPUB 3.
The DIAGRAM Content Working Group met on April 28, 2014 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. Notes from the meeting have been posted. 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.
The DIAGRAM Center Advisory Board held its last quarterly meeting of the DIAGRAM program year on April 14, 2014. In addition to the reports from each of the Working Group co-chairs, we heard an interim report from Yue-Ting Siu on her DIAGRAM subcontract research on 3D printing in schools. Lively discussion ensued about the importance of 3D printing for accessibility in education. Notes have been posted in the community area of the DIAGRAM blog. You must be registered and logged in as a DIAGRAM Community member to see the notes. If you have any questions, please write to Julie Noblitt, Community Manager, at julien [at] benetech [dot] org.
gh, LLC Updates WAVES Math Tool to Enable Internet-based Use
Submitted by Wunji Lau
The new JSWAVES update consists of almost entirely new code, duplicating most functions of WAVES, but in a form that doesn’t require anything to be installed on the user’s computer. Instead, JSWAVES can be run in a web browser directly from a website, so any computer with an Internet connection can have access to the tool.
|Program is installed on local hard drive||Program runs on a remote server, and is accessed via the Internet|
|Limited customization options: toolbar contents, button arrangement||Extensive customization options: complete graphical themes, icons, order of character entry (e.g., Reverse Polish notation), and operator precedence (e.g., how complex fractions are displayed)|
|Voice feature reads math out loud||No voicing|
|Designed for accessible math input/output||Designed as a “sandbox” for developers to build from|
Website owners can make JSWAVES available to visitors to their site, providing an easy-to-use accessible math reading and input interface for a wide range of applications. JSWAVES is currently tested on Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox browsers.
Tools Working Group Update
The DIAGRAM Tools Working Group held its last quarterly meeting for the program year on April 21, 2014. The main topic of conversation was the idea of using a protocol handler instead of a browser plugin to launch assistive technologies and other applications for mathematics. Detailed notes of the discussion are on the Tools WG wiki, but please also see Gerardo’s write-up of the proposed approach. Comments are welcome at the bottom of that page (you don’t need to login, but please sign your name at the end of the comment). Please let co-chairs Gerardo Capiel or Geoff Freed know if you have any questions.
Webinar: 3D Printing of Accessible Materials in Schools
Yue-Ting Siu, a TVI and doctoral candidate at Berkeley was joined by Mike Cheverie, a TVI at LAUSD, to deliver a fun and information-packed DIAGRAM webinar on April 30, 2014. The topic was research and case studies on the use of 3D printing in schools to create accessible educational materials. The audience of more than 150 participants was augmented by brisk conversation in the Twitterverse started by Sina Bahram, Josh Miele, and others. The slides, handouts, and a closed-captioned recording of the webinar will be freely available at http://diagramcenter.org/webinars.html. It will take about a week to get the recording up, but the handouts and slides are available now.
Our next webinar will be held on August 7, 2014 when Kyle Keane of Wolfram Research and Madeleine Rothberg of the National Center for Accessible Media (WGBH) will be discussing accessible interactive widgets. Not to be missed! Registration will open in July.
Outreach Working Group Update
The DIAGRAM Outreach Working Group held its last quarterly meeting of the program year on April 14, 2014 to discuss ideas for assessing use and impact of the Accessible Image Sample Book, as well as ideas for topics we should focus on during this last program year for DIAGRAM. 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.
DIAGRAM Community Meeting Set for June
May 1, 2014 marks the first day of the fifth and final year of the DIAGRAM award. The Asilomar meeting in 2012 demonstrated the incredible value of bringing the DIAGRAM community together face-to-face, and so the DIAGRAM Advisory Board and Working Groups will be once again be meeting in person on June 24-25, 2014 to continue and refine the discussion. Everyone’s favorite meeting facilitator, Allen Gunn (or “Gunner”), will be back to expertly shepherd us through the meetings. We are fortunate to have secured a spot at the beautiful Airlie Conference Center, located near Washington, D.C. and 35 miles from Dulles airport. Airlie’s natural setting and mission to provide “a distraction-free and neutral environment to candidly exchange ideas on issues, ignite thought and inspire collective action” is especially aligned with the goals of our meeting. We are looking forward to reporting on the outcomes of what promises to be another productive meeting.