The TASC group met on April 3 and the notes are now from that meeting. Some notable takeaways from that meeting were the formation of a new Math in EPUB sub-committee, inspired by the work done at the CSUN code sprint. Neil Soiffer gave an update on a hack-a-thon that he and his son Rory participated in where they used machine learning to convert spoken math to MathML and text that could then be displayed ultimately in a browser. Congratulations to Neil and his son, as they won one the main prize at the event. Larry Goldberg also brought to our attention the ongoing work needed to provide access to emergency information on television, because it is still too difficult to get access to charts and graphs that are onscreen during emergencies.
Now that there is a new Accessibility 1.0 Standard for EPUB and the adoption of accessibility metadata in the 3.2 release of Schema.org, this group has switched its focus to providing guidance and techniques on how to get MathML in EPUB and update our guidelines on extended image descriptions using the soon to be adopted ARIA-details once ARIA 1.1 is formally approved.
Most of the activity with this group has been in the sub-committee for Math in EPUB, we did, however, have one informational meeting on March 27th where we highlighted all the topics we worked on during the code sprint at CSUN. For those interested here are the minutes from that meeting. There was no Drag and Drop meeting this past month but we are currently planning on having one in early May.
The Content Working Group has been actively working to update the Accessible Image Sample Book. Special thanks to working group Member Kimi Sugeno who tirelessly worked on migrating the HTML version of the Sample Book to the DIAGRAM website and Joshua Tallent who acted as technical advisor for the migration project. We are thrilled to announce that the project is complete and you can now read the Sample Book online directly on our website. The next project in the works is adding a new chapter on accessible multimedia to the book. Big thanks to group members Bryan Gould, Geoff Freed and Madeline Rothberg who wrote the chapter.
March 23, 2017, Baltimore, Maryland
- George Kerscher gave the Keynote address, “Ushering in the Born Accessible Era” in which he discussed how the EPUB Accessibility Specification 1.0 will help publishers ensure their content is born accessible. He also reviewed what it takes to meet the minimum baseline for accessibility and explored how the certification of born accessible material can impact education.
- Brad Turner presented a session titled “Toward a Born Accessible World”. His slides are available for download here.
- Rick Johnson, a DIAGRAM community member presented a session called “An Update on What is Possible”.
- Sue-Ann Ma presented a session titled “Content Beyond Text: Making Images Accessible”.
- Amy Mason, also a DIAGRAM community member, presented a session called “Choosing a Reading System: Your Silent Partner in Accessibility”.
Editor’s Note: we will update this post if and when more slide decks become available for download.
April 19 – 22, 2017, Boston, Massachusetts
- Lisa Wadors presented at the CEC annual convention and expo, which is one of the biggest special education professional development events of the year. Her session “Access to the General Curriculum Through Innovative Technology Solutions” explored accessible technology, tools and programs to increase accessibility and access in the K-12 classroom.
- Lisa Dieker, who is a member of DIAGRAM’s General Advisory Committee and Technical Subcommittee, presented a session titled, “Transforming Schools and Classrooms for the Future: Infusion of inclusive Practices and Technology”. Her presentation focused on practice ideas to transform schools and classrooms in the areas of technology, inclusion and high learning outcomes.
May 17, 2017
Charles LaPierre will be giving a thirty-minute presentation on accessibility titled “Convergence: The Web and Publishing On the Web”. His talk will explore how publishing is more web dominated than ever and what that means for accessibility.
May 17, 2017, Denver Colorado
George Kerscher will be presenting two sessions, Impact of the EPUB Standard on Accessible Course Materials and Accessible Content and Publishers: I’m on the Right Track, Baby I Was Born this Way! Both sessions will focus on moving forward with the Born Accessible movement, with the second taking a deeper dive and exploring “Buy Accessible” and “Find Accessible” as well.
June 28, 2017, The Hague, Netherlands
- Brad Turner will be presenting on image description.
- George Kerscher will be speaking during the closing plenary session on how to help delivery of born accessible material.
W3C DPUB Working Group Meeting
June 22-23, New York
Charles LaPierre will be attending the first meeting of the new digital publishing working group meeting. He will be reporting on that in our August newsletter.
Spotlight on Emily Moore
Emily Moore is an educational technology expert and a new member of DIAGRAM’s General Advisory Committee as well as the Technical Advisory Subcommittee. She’s been highly involved in our interactives work as well as helping to build partnerships to further the accessibility work. Emily is the Director of Research and Accessibility for the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder. Founded in 2002, PhET works to creates free interactive math and science simulations based on extensive education research. The purpose of these simulations is to engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery. On a more personal note, Emily is from Georgia but spent her teen years traveling around the western United States in a camper van with her parents. This past August she and her husband welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Adalene Blue, into their family. Congratulations Emily and thanks for joining our community, we are thrilled to have you!
Since the beginning of the year, a lot has happened in the Standards space. Here is a very short summary.
On January 5, 2017 the IDPF officially published the EPUB 3.1 family of specifications for digital publishing. Most interesting for the accessibility community is the inclusion of the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 Conformance and Discovery Requirements for EPUB Publications.
On January 5, 2017 the IDPF officially published the EPUB 3.1 family of specifications for digital publishing. Most interesting for the accessibility community is the inclusion of the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 Conformance and Discovery Requirements for EPUB Publications. http://www.idpf.org/epub/a11y/accessibility.html For the first time we have a formal specification that enables publications to be certified as accessible. This specification builds on WCAG 2.0 and adds requirements specific to published documents.
On February 1, the combination of the W3C and the IDPF was announced. The press release can be found at: https://www.w3.org/2017/01/pressrelease-idpf-w3c-combination.html.en This merger enables all IDPF Members to participate in the W3C Publishing Business Group (PBG) for two years at the same rates as were paid under the IDPF. Also, the EPUB 3.1 family of specifications, including the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 Specification have been submitted to the W3C. We are looking forward to having the W3C Lead the Web to its full potential for publishing! The Work previously conducted by the IDPF is moving to a variety of W3C groups:
- The “Digital Publishing Interest Group” is developing a charter for a publishing working group that will lead to a specification to add the functionality of web publications (books in browsers) as well as an off-line downloadable form (e.g. EPUB 4).
- The “Publishing Business Group” will be formed to lead publishing activities in the W3C.
- An “EPUB 3 Community Group” has been formed to further develop the EPUB 3.1 family of specifications. This is of particular importance because the publishing community needs a rock solid specification to use now and in the future; this provides a clear roadmap for publishing to use EPUB 3 now and eventually move to EPUB 4 and to web publications.
The EPUB 3 Community Group is free to join and open to anybody. You can learn more and sign up at:
Benetech has added two new publishers to the pilot program certifying the accessibility of books and have thus far inspected 30 EPUB books. Here are our current findings:
Based on our review of a broad sample set of publisher files reviewed in the pilot to date, the current average score is 63% and we are observing the following trends:
1. Lists are generally well constructed with a current average of 86%
2. Tables present a challenge to publishers and fail on an average of 55%
3. General accessibility which includes styling, navigation, metadata, etc. is also very poor with an average score of 60%
4. Image accessibility including alt-text, longer descriptions when needed and decorative designations where appropriate is currently averaging 47%
The results thus far provide terrific insight into concrete places for improvement and next steps. Stay tuned for news about upcoming activities in this new certification arena!
DIAGRAM will be hosting a brand new webinar on March 15th at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Andreas Stefik of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Sina Bahram of Prime Access Consulting and Richard Ladner of the University of Washington will be presenting on accessible coding and computer science. Details and registration information coming soon!
The DIAGRAM General Advisory Committee held their first meeting of 2017 which opened with the introduction and welcome of the newest committee member, Patricia Snyder. Attendees were updated on one of DIAGRAM’s newest projects the Registry Repository of Accessible Images (RRAI) as well as on the progress in the Born Accessible arena including the recent publication of the EPUB 3.1 specification family, the IDPF and W3C merger and Benetech’s work on accessibility conformance review. The bulk of the discussion focused around the upcoming DIAGRAM Report which will examine new and upcoming technology that will likely have an impact on people with disabilities. Those technologies consist of:
- Coding/computer science
- Machine learning
- Speech recognition
- Personalized learning
- Multimedia interactives
- Multi modal user interface and tactiles
- Artificial intelligence –which we grouped up into machine learning
- 3D printing
- Gesture recognition
- Augmented reality
- Emotion detection
It was a lively meeting and more detailed accounts of each project discussed will be given in our next newsletter so make sure to check back!
On January 5th 2017 the IDPF released the latest EPUB 3.1 specification and a new Accessibility 1.0 Conformance and Discovery Specification which for the first time finally draws a line in the sand on what makes an EPUB book accessible at a baseline. This specification along with its accompanying EPUB Accessibility Techniques document will help publishers and authors to create truly accessible publications. Not only does this specification help the publishers with creating accessible materials but also will help everyone Find Accessible EPUBs with the new accessibility metadata that must be added to these books in order for them to be certified as being accessible. I was fortunate to be a part of this historic moment as co-chair for this accessibility task force who helped create this accessibility specification, and a big thank you to all those who contributed in making this happen.
While the Content Working Group has not met yet this quarter, that hasn’t stopped them from being productive. The group is currently working hard to migrate the HTML version of the Accessible Image Sample Book to the DIAGRAM website so that it can be linked to the DIAGRAM Image Description Guidelines. This will hopefully make both resources easier for everyone to use. Special thanks to Kimi Sugeno and Joshua Tallent for spearheading this project. The Content Working Group is looking to meet in late March to discuss next steps and implementation of new content for the Accessible Image Sample Book. Exciting things are afoot!