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.
New WCAG Conformance Requirements for @Alt on Images
Submitted by Geoff Freed
There have been lively discussions on various accessibility lists this month regarding new delivery methods for image descriptions. In what may be a shock for some, WCAG 2.0 has relaxed its conformance requirements around the inclusion of @alt on images. Authors may now not use @alt if descriptions are included in the <img> element through some other accessible method. The method for determining what is called an accessible name is discussed in detail at http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/roles#textalternativecomputation. Accessible names include aria-labelledby, aria-label, @alt and @title; presumably aria-describedat will be added to that list when it becomes part of ARIA 1.1.
Note that this doesn’t mean that authors should stop using @alt on images. In fact, authors should always use @alt unless there is a good reason not to do so. DIAGRAM’s recommendations on providing image descriptions (e.g., those found in the Accessible Image Sample Book) are still valid, as are the other recommendations found elsewhere, such as NCAM’s Effective Practices for Description of Science Content Within DTBs or the W3C’s Techniques for Providing Useful Text Alternatives. The loosening of the @alt restriction in WCAG, however, provides authors with conforming alternatives that previously were not accepted as conforming. There’s a good article from SSB Bart on this topic at https://www.ssbbartgroup.com/blog/2014/04/08/is-the-alt-attribute-dead/.
Elsevier Announces EPUB 3 Standard
“Book Business,” a mainstream publishing industry magazine, posted a press release announcing Elsevier’s decision to adopt EPUB3 as their standard format for books and journals going forward. Elsevier is one of the world’s largest publishers of academic journals and books. Notable in the press release is the mention of MathML and better accessibility as two of the main benefits of the move. Many of you in the DIAGRAM community helped shape the conversations in the AAP working groups last year to make sure that accessibility was part of the conversation. Thank you for all your efforts to make sure that accessibility is incorporated into publishing standards for all.
Standards Working Group Update
The DIAGRAM Standards Working Group held its last quarterly meeting of the program year on April 14, 2014. Refer to the notes from this meeting on the Standards Working Group wiki for updates on EPUB 3.01 and EDUPUB. Please contact co-chairs George Kerscher and Mark Hakkinen if you would like more information.
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
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.
Here are a few items that caught our attention in the last month:
- MOLinsight: A web portal for the processing of molecular structures by blind students
- The shape of things: Fellows Friday with Anthony Vipin Das, on FITTLE, a toy that helps blind children read TED blog, August 2013
- Computer Program Allows the Blind to ‘See’ With Sound Science Now, March 2014
- Fujitsu Labs develops prototype haptic sensory tablet Gizmag, March 2014
- The March 2014 issue of Information Technology and Disabilities Journal:
- Pondering the Future: The Four Things I Want to See by 2024 by Steve Noble
- Focus on Inclusive Publishing: Making Content Accessible From Day One by George Kerscher
- Can Mainstream Graphics be Accessible? by John Gardner
- Still Much to Learn… by Sean Keegan
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.
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 1.0. The 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.
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.
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.
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:
- There was a packed house for DIAGRAM’s panel on Latest developments in math accessibility with Gerardo Capiel, David Tseng, Neil Soiffer, and Robert Wall Emerson. “Oohs and aahs” were audible as presenters demoed the latest and greatest in accessible math across many platforms.
- It was a full session (at 8am on Friday no less) for Emerging development in content accessibility with Betsy Beaumon, Elaine Ober, and George Kerscher, where there was a great discussion of where the accessibility “gaps” currently are in the content supply chain and how we might go about filling them.
- The audience got a chance to try out A template-guided system for improving quality of textbook descriptions (a.k.a. The Decision Tree) with Josh Miele, Yue-Ting Siu, Lucia Hasty, and Valerie Morash. We had fun creating our own “Mad Lib” style image description!
- Audience engagement was lively for Access to 2D and 3D graphics using vibrotactile feedback and sonification with Markku Hakkinen, Shrirang Sahasrabudhe, and Jukka Liimatainen as participants got to see actual prototypes.
- Robert Jaquiss brought several examples of 3D printed objects for the audience to check out for themselves during his presentation, New 3D graphics products from American Thermoform Corporation.
- Clara Van Gerven of the National Federation of the Blind was unexpectedly serenaded by an enormous brass brand outside the hotel window as she presented 3D Printing and 3D Creation for Tactile Graphics, giving us an excellent rundown on hardware, software, and file libraries for creating tactiles.
- Facebook presented Scaling Web Accessibility at Facebook. Notable was their “photo caption generator” tool for image accessibility. Their main message: accessibility should be taught in all computer science curricula as a basic part of good code for all products.
- Tripp Narup of Elsevier laid out an impressive plan for making all new Reed-Elsevier content (books and journals) accessible by 2015 in his talk, Accessibility Challenges for Large Publishers. The convergence of customer demand, legal requirements, and technological advancements in electronic publishing are driving the move.
Office Hours with the DIAGRAM Center
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!
The 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.