Bay Area Accessibility Meetup
Charles 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. 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 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 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.