One of the first research efforts performed by the Center has been a comparison of DAISY Talking Books (DTB) and e-book hardware and software. The tables in the section present the features and functional testing results for the devices or applications in the following categories:
- DTB Hardware
- DTB Software
- DTB Authoring Software
- e-book Hardware
- e-book Software
- Image Authoring Software
You can view the entire set of matrices on one page or view them individually by following the appropriate category links. As this research continues, the tables in this section will be updated accordingly.
Image Description Metadata for Accessibility
This working paper, Potential Use of Image Description Metadata for Accessibility (click here for Word version), originally published in March 2011, outlines the current barriers and opportunities for providing image description within publishing tools, technologies, and production processes. Ongoing discussion with standards groups, Adobe and other tool developers is exploring the feasibility of extending support for alt text and longdesc within image formats and authoring tools. In April 2012, an Addendum to the report was produced, covering relevant developments over the past year, including the release of DIAGRAM-sponsored tools for image description and the content model for image description metadata. In May 2013, a further Addendum was published, including a detailed summary of latest developments, including the status of @longdesc vs aria-describedat vs epub:describedat.
This report, DIAGRAM Center Product Analyses (click here for Word version), captures the status of the field as of June 2011 and provides baseline data to measure future progress within the field related to support of specific accessibility features within DTB and e-book technologies. Throughout the life of the DIAGRAM Center, the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) will continue to conduct and revisit product evaluations and the matrix will be regularly updated to provide all stakeholders with a current listing of capabilities and feature sets.
Reading Technology Survey
In February 2012, the DIAGRAM Center conducted a Reading Technology Survey (click here for Word version) in order to better understand what technologies are being used currently by blind and visually impaired readers. Most of the 230 respondents were blind and employed, retired, or in school. In every category of reading material, the same five reading technologies dominated the responses, with screen readers leading the way. As anticipated, the brief survey provides fodder for additional follow up studies.
SVG and 3D Printing Report
In the DIAGRAM-sponsored report Assessments of Raster-to-Vector (SVG) Conversion software and 3D Printers for Tactile Graphics (click here for Word version) National Braille Press assesses SVG software to find a version that is affordable, and easy to use for publishers and individual content providers, so that they can incorporate SVGs in materials at the beginning of the production cycle. The report also looks at the viability of current 3D printing technology for use in the creation of tactile graphics.
Developed by Touch Graphics, Inc., the Decision Tree (Word document) is a tool for choosing which print images need tactiles and which need descriptions. A digital decision tree allows the creation of tools that will expedite the work of making textbooks accessible by allowing non-specialists to make good decisions about which images need what kind of treatment to make them accessible. The tool was found to be a successful method for novices to categorize images (mean 66% correct). Future improvements to the tool's success will come with better understanding and agreement among experts as to whether certain images need verbal or tactile treatment. The open-source tool was built using Lime Survey, and you can see it by visiting this link. The related survey questions and the xml are freely available. A flow chart is also available (Word version here) that shows how the decision process was captured in the sorting rubric.
Tactile Graphics with a Voice
The Tactile Graphics Project at the University of Washington has created the TGV (Tactile Graphics with a Voice), a QR-code reading app that allows text within images to be read and voiced by a mobile device such as an iPhone or Android phone. For those who are interested in creating tactile graphics that include QR-codes for embedded text in images, there is a revised Tactile Graphics Assistant Manual (PDF version here) that includes information about how to include QR-codes. The TGV Design Document is available for both the iOS (PDF version here) and for the Android (PDF version here). The open source code is available for both the iOS version and the Android version of TGV as well.
Funded Projects in Process
ViewPlus Technologies, Inc. (subcontract)
- Guidelines for Audio-Tactiles - An in-depth usability study of text-tactile graphics in order to create best-practice guidelines for software developers or anyone who creates or edits SVG files. Will include guidelines for how to create images that are accessible visually, audibly, and audio-tactually.
gh, LLC (subcontract)
- Web-Accessible Virtual Electronic Scratchpad (WAVES) - Tool that will enable students and teachers to easily type Algebraic equations for any purpose, such as homework or other assignments. Can be used in Digital Talking Books, online learning, accessible assessment, and other applications.
Mathematics e-Text Research Center (MeTRC), University of Oregon
- MeTRC - Evaluating the efficacy of text descriptions of math-related images for visually-impaired students.