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DIAGRAM Advisory Board Notes – October 22, 2014

2014 October 29


Betsy Beaumon, Anh Bui, Jim Downs, Geoff Freed, Bryan Gould, Mark Hakkinen, Lucia Hasty, Glinda Hill, Sue-Ann Ma, Brian McDonald, Julie Noblitt, Elaine Ober, Melissa Parkin, Ike Presley, James Pritchett, Madeleine Rothberg, Lore Schindler, Robin Seaman, Jane Thompson, Ge Vue


Jim Allan, Jim Fruchterman, Markus Gylling, George Kerscher, Andrew Kirkpatrick, Jim Koopman, Helen Popper, T.V. Raman, Mike Sharpe, Laurie Vasquez


  1. Poet Training Module – see accompanying slide deck (Sue-Ann & Bryan)
    1. Benetech has been conducting many image slams and gathering data from volunteers about what is challenging about image description.
    2. Hurdles for describers include: Image description expertise varies. Subject matter expertise varies. Time & cost of producing accessible images (keeping up with standards, post-production processes). Lack of training materials (not broad enough, need concrete examples). Training materials sometimes hard to understand.
    3. DIAGRAM solution: Poet Training Module – provides more user-focused training materials. Collaborative work with partners made it possible.
    4. New Training Module includes: Why accessible images are important. When to describe (incorporated Touch Graphics work – decision tree, as well as info from Accessible Image Sample Book).
    5. Includes NCAM research and expanded image description guidelines: Draws on NSF research to refine description approaches for STEM and surveys of blind/VI STEM professionals and students. Brevity, data, clarity & consistency of language. Focus on description for K-12 assessments – English, language arts, social students. NCAM has written tens of thousands of descriptions; feedback from Benetech image slam participants also helped shape new guidelines.
    6. Expanded list of guidelines from 10 to 26 different image types, including liberal arts subjects. Renamed and regrouped categories – e.g. relational diagrams, works of art, etc. Broke out attributes of images such as insets.
    7. Coming next: (1) outreach – getting the word out at conferences, more image slams. ongoing feedback from industry (2) Expanded features – more guidelines, more Touch Graphics work from templates. Building more interactive self-paced tools.
    8. Question: is training module a stand-alone piece? Yes. You don’t have to be registered in Poet to use it.
  2. Tools WG update (Geoff):
    1. beta release of JAWS 16 – support for MathML w/out a plugin, still a little limited, but good progress.
    2. Last WG meeting was IBM demo on RAVE for accessible complex charts. Recording available at .
    3. Next tools WG meeting: Volker Sorge will talk about ChemAccess. Likely early December for that. Volker also works on ChromeVox and MathML Cloud – looking for standard ways to describe chemistry. Please come to that.
    4. Anh: anyone have any experience with IBM products with Watson and Cognos that use this? Please send feedback.
  3. Standards WG (Anh & Mark, in George’s absence):
    1. Meeting biweekly or weekly in conjunction with TIES. Now updating the DIAGRAM Content Model.
    2. Moving Content Model to be incorporated into QTI – Question Test Interoperability for tests items. Has the longdesc attribute, but not much uptake. Hurrahs from Glinda & Betsy.
  4. Content WG topics (Lucia). Image repository. Accessible Image Sample Book. BISG accessibility WG. Expanded description guidelines.
  5. Outreach WG (Julie): Metrics of success – new topic for group coming out of Airlie. Looking at whether we can analyze a11y listservs to see what topics are discussed over time, quantify references to DIAGRAM initiatives, and related topics. Gaier Dietrich and others forming liaison to Standards WG in order to rename the Content Model to make it clearer who it is for and what it is for. Next webinar: Mark Hakkinen on haptics.
  6. (Anh) How does 3D printing grant integrate into DIAGRAM? Incorporation of tactile graphics & metadata into content model and other DIAGRAM R & D. (e.g. expanding decision tree to include 3D and incorporating into Sample Book, etc.)
  7. BISG a11y WG (Robin): Book Industry Study Group – generates field guides and working papers. Robin is chairing new WG — reports into EPUB 3 group led by Bill Kasdorf. Over next 6 months will produce “quick start guide” to a11y for publishers. George & Elaine are on the committee. Must be a BISG member to join. Have a wide range of experts on the committee. 1st meeting is 3rd week of November. Hoping to do a Book Sprint to produce it. Outgrowth of all the work we did with AAP – our ability to marshall the DIAGRAM community to quickly get useful info to the group. Our influence in mainstream publishing has been visible. If it goes well, we might be able to tackle a more ambitious project such as a field guide.
  8. CSUN: 3 proposals submitted by DIAGRAM, one by NCAM. DIAGRAM Office Hours event on Thurs March 5th 5:30-7pm with a maker space to show and tell what is going on with IMLS grant work. Mark suggests adding haptics – great idea, will pursue.
  9. W3C meeting next week here in Santa Clara next week. Standards WG folks, publishers, web developers here.

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