October 2012 Software Development Update
We continue to make improvements to Poet, focusing on helping describers produce the best descriptions they can and do so efficiently. We’ve updated the help pages and are working on providing contextualized help on how to describe common STEM images such as bar charts and Venn diagrams. We’re updating the interface to more seamlessly incorporate NCAM’s description guidelines so users don’t have to go searching for help — help prompts will be available in context as they are working. Considering the very large number of registrants for our recent webinar on how to describe complex images, we see that there is a need to be filled in this area.
Readium EPUB3 Reader
Benetech is also building an accessible EPUB 3 reader based on IDPF’s Readium. We will be releasing an open source web-based ebook reader based on Readium in Q1, 2013; it is currently in limited beta. Accessibility capabilities include support for variable font and colors, as well as text to speech and synchronized word-by-word highlighting (initially only supported in Chrome), and support for image descriptions. The new web reader will work in conjunction with a cloud-based bookshelf in Bookshare, allowing qualified users with print disabilities to read online, directly in a browser, without user-driven download, as well as the ability to access their books from school, home, and mobile devices.
The new reader is designed to present fully accessible EPUB 3 materials, which are those that follow the guidelines outlined in the book Accessible EPUB 3, by Matt Garrish; in 2013 we’ll also expect to support accessible images that follow the Content Model specified by the DIAGRAM Center.