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July 2013 Software Development Update

2013 July 31
by Amaya Webster

Description “wizard” for Poet has launched
In July 2013 DIAGRAM released a new enhancement to its Poet image description tool, a “help wizard.” As described in last month’s update, the wizard is available from a drop-down menu and provides in-context help and guidance to describers for common types of complex images such as flow charts and Venn diagrams. Ten common image types following the NCAM guidelines are provided. For each one, there is an example, description guidelines, and even a template (if it applies). Please try it out and let us know what you think! Next up for Poet: we are currently working on an enhancement that will allow users to describe images for books in EPUB3 format, in addition to DAISY format. Stay tuned.

New DIAGRAM-funded project: Description Templates for Common Graphics
We are delighted that Touch Graphics with Lucia Hasty, Yue-Ting Siu, Josh Miele, and Val Morash are embarking on a new project under subcontact with the DIAGRAM Center. The team will be creating description templates for common graphics. Rather than being expected to develop unique prose for each image they are tasked to describe, image describers should be supported to describe according to established guidelines. This will simplify their work, and may reduce cognitive load for readers. This project will create software that prompts describers with image description templates for common types of graphics, based on the NCAM STEM description guidelines. Image describers will respond to questions regarding the basic characteristics of a diagram, and then be guided through a fill-in-the-blanks process, which will generate the first paragraph of an image description. The describer is then free to edit that paragraph and to append additional explanatory language. An assessment program built into the proposed project will provide feedback on the consistency and accuracy of descriptions provided by users of the templates.

Tools Working Group Update
Co-chairs Gerardo Capiel and Geoff Freed will hold the next quarterly meeting of the Tools Working Group in August 2013 on a date to be determined. Please visit the Tools Working Group wiki page for past meeting notes and other resources, and let Gerardo or Geoff know if you have ideas to contribute for next month’s discussion.

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