[Blindmath] Somewhat positive yet disappointing press release

Steve Jacobson steve.jacobson at visi.com
Sun May 29 16:57:08 CDT 2011


Birkir,

My understanding is the same as yours, but I try to be careful not to be too negative since I don't know if recent 
progress could have been made.  My understanding is that spreadsheets on the MAC can be handled by copying 
them into a table in one of the word processors, but that is not ideal.  .  I also do not believe that Excel for the MAC is 
accessible.  However, perhaps there are Apple users here who can correct me if I am wrong.

Best regards,

Steve Jacobson

On Sun, 29 May 2011 15:18:18 +0000, Birkir R. Gunnarsson wrote:

>Steve

>We're going way outside the realm of math I suppose. But I wanted to
>say that I tested a spreadsheet app on the Mac and it was absolutely
>impossible to do anything in it. Voiceover could not tell apart cells
>with numbers or formulas or comments, and it was tricky to navigate.
>I used the Numbers app from the iWork packages, not Excel for Mac, so
>there could be a difference.
>But in my testing spreadsheet programming or calculations is not
>doable with Voiceover at this time.
>If you ahve other sources that indicate Voiceover works better with a
>spreadsheet app I'd be happy to hear about it on or off list.
>Cheers
>-Birkir


>On 5/29/11, Steve Jacobson <steve.jacobson at visi.com> wrote:
>> Ken,
>>
>> You are all right then with a publisher choosing the voice you will here as
>> long as it is streamed and you don't have to use a screen reader?  It won't
>> bother you if they don't implement interruptability when you want to skip to
>> the next paragraph?  Interruptatbility is often overlooked along with other
>> things
>> that we take for granted with our screen reader.  You won't mind if they
>> don't stream with and without punctuation, or don't provide a way to get aq
>> spelling?  If they use a synthesizer that mispronounces a name used
>> throughout a long book, you won't mind not having an exception dictionary?
>> If we
>> want this stuff to me accessible and useful, we have to have general
>> standards that are not too bad to follow and a screen reader that will
>> handle some of
>> the interface issues.  I find your dream world to be a nightmare world
>> because there are simply some subtleties that I get from my screen reader
>> that
>> general developers just don't get.  Let me give you a trivial example.  A
>> commercial entity created a talking thermostat that I bought.  It's very
>> good, but if I
>> want to turn it down five degrees, it has to complete the announcement of
>> each setting before it will accept the next press of the DOWN arrow, so a
>> job
>> that should take a little more than a second takes perhaps seven or eight
>> seconds.  It's not a big deal, but it's the kind of thing I have seen when
>> less
>> experienced entities try to make things accessible for me.  Perhaps we need
>> some kind of funding to help people get screen readers, and maybe there will
>> be something built right into Windows at some point.  I have misgivings
>> about that, too, but that is a separate issue.  If my brother were building
>> a web
>> page and I told him that for me to use it he needed only to look at the WCAG
>> standards, he'd give up.  I'm not saying they are bad, just that they
>> already
>> are more than most people can digest.  I truly wish it could all be done as
>> you suggest, but the inconsistency and the variability that we would
>> experience
>> in my opinion would likely be very difficult.  It could be we are too picky
>> about what we feel we need when interacting with a computer;, but often the
>> inexperienced developer thinks that accessibility is to great by itself that
>> they don't consider efficiency at all.  College students can't afford that,
>> and neither
>> can those of us who are working.  Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect
>> world, and we are forced to make compromises.  I think there is just too
>> much
>> to lose in what you are suggesting, and it just isn't likely to happen in
>> the short run.  As much as Apple is doing, there are still apps there that
>> are not
>> accessible.  As I understand it, spreadsheets are accessible but not has
>> seamlessly as in Windows.  However, the inclusion of a screen reader is very
>> interesting and may set a trend that will get us part way to your ideal
>> situation.  However, since VoiceOver on Apple is free, nobody else is
>> developing a
>> screen reader and there is no competition.  We'll have to see how that all
>> works out.
>>
>> Best regards,
>>
>> Steve Jacobson
>>
>> On Sat, 28 May 2011 23:37:19 -0400, Ken Perry wrote:
>>
>>>If mathml does not render the math in an accessible manor without screen
>>>access software then I don't see it as accessible.  It would be like saying
>>>tall browsers are low vision compliant if you have a screen enlarger.  If
>>>mathml is really going to be accessible then it should have streaming audio
>>>that reads the math to you but again this is a dream world.  One in which I
>>>can sit at anyones computer and use it.  Sort of like a Mac but on
>>>stearoiods
>>
>>>Ken
>>
>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>>>Behalf Of Sina Bahram
>>>Sent: Friday, May 27, 2011 12:55 PM
>>>To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'
>>>Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Somewhat positive yet disappointing press release
>>
>>>By the way, this is standards compliant. Ken mentioned standards, and yet
>>>this entire conversation is about authors who use
>>>standards like MathML for example.
>>
>>>It's like saying, why does jaws need to support html5 specific elements, if
>>>everything is standards compliant then it will
>>>automagically work. That makes no sense. The standards are there, affording
>>>jaws and others a stable target to develop against and
>>>clear guidelines to implement; however, they are not doing so.
>>
>>>Take care,
>>>Sina
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>>>Behalf Of Neil Soiffer
>>>Sent: Friday, May 27, 2011 1:07 AM
>>>To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
>>>Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Somewhat positive yet disappointing press release
>>
>>>There are definitely things that authors can do to improve access, and
>>>Pearson has been a leader in the textbook field in producing accessible
>>>materials.  I commend you/Pearson on providing long descriptions of graphs
>>>and charts. Doing so greatly increases the readability/understandability of
>>>math texts.  MathPlayer does nothing for those kinds of content, although I
>>>suspect John Gardner might chime in about the importance of using SVG for
>>>that kind of content.
>>
>>>Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do as an author to enhance
>>>accessibility.  For example, do you have a way so that Nemeth code is
>>>generated for expressions or some other math code for those outside the US?
>>>What about navigation of the math?  If screen readers make the appropriate
>>>calls to MathPlayer (in the future), then those other capabilities will be
>>>present, and they will be present with no effort from the author.
>>
>>>Neil Soiffer
>>>Senior Scientist
>>>Design Science, Inc.
>>>www.dessci.com
>>>~ Makers of MathType, MathFlow, MathPlayer, MathDaisy, Equation Editor ~
>>
>>>On Thu, May 26, 2011 at 9:45 PM, Ken Perry <kperry at blinksoft.com> wrote:
>>
>>>> Well from talking to the Pearsons coders they are trying to make the
>>>> subject
>>>> matter accessible no matter the access difficulties. For example in the
>>>> chapter I have in front of me right now if you go to a diagram that is a
>>>> bar
>>>> chart.  Or how about a parabola it has access in two ways one is a long
>>>> desc
>>>> like alt that works in any screen reader but another for a better
>>>> description is you click on the picture and it brings up a full
>>>description
>>>> of the graph in question as if a person was describing it to you.  They
>>>are
>>>> using math player to read the functions and things and the test I took as
>>>a
>>>> sample was accessible whether I be totally blind, visually impaired, or a
>>>> regular sighted user.  I just think if things are designed correctly it
>>>> doesn't matter the access software.
>>>>
>>>> Ken
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>>> On
>>>> Behalf Of Steve Jacobson
>>>> Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 10:41 PM
>>>> To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics;
>>>> patti at 4dewitt.com
>>>> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Somewhat positive yet disappointing press
>>>> release
>>>>
>>>> Maybe Neil will feel like explaining more, but the odds are that whatever
>>>> GW
>>>> Micro does will likely benefit Freedom Scientific.  I must say that I'm a
>>>> little surprised that people would feel that Freedom Scientific was
>>>wronged
>>>> here when they chose to not put anything into this project and to sit
>>>> back
>>>> and benefit from the work of others.  I'm not sure there is any way to
>>>> interpret math in a way that is so standard that screen readers won't
>>>> have
>>>> to do some work.  In addition, the model of how software is made
>>>accessible
>>>> is changing and screen readers are having to make some adjustments.  We
>>>are
>>>> very much moving away from MSAA toward UI Automation, and this does
>>>require
>>>> some effort on the part of screen readers.  Over time, there will be more
>>>> standard ways of handling this, but it does worry me some that there
>>>> seems
>>>> to be a significant amount of work that screen readers have to do to make
>>>> individual software accessible.  Time will tell how it all works out.
>>>>
>>>> Best regards,
>>>>
>>>> Steve Jacobson
>>>>
>>>> On Fri, 27 May 2011 01:26:06 +0000, patti at 4dewitt.com wrote:
>>>>
>>>> >In addition, as a technology teacher of the blind in nj, most kids are
>>>> >at the mercy of the commission or the schools for their technology.
>>>> >They get them
>>>> jaws most times.
>>>> >Universal access is my dream. It should all be interconnected On the
>>>> >other hand, Jaws users have a huge underground of script writers who
>>>> >may already have solved my problem
>>>>
>>>> >Sent on the Sprint. Now Network from my BlackBerry.
>>>>
>>>> >-----Original Message-----
>>>> >From: "Ken Perry" <kperry at blinksoft.com>
>>>> >Sender: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org
>>>> >Date: Thu, 26 May 2011 20:57:31
>>>> >To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in
>>>> >mathematics'<blindmath at nfbnet.org>
>>>> >Reply-To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
>>>> >       <blindmath at nfbnet.org>
>>>> >Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Somewhat positive yet disappointing press
>>>> >release
>>>>
>>>> >See this is where I have to ask.  If you use standards like html 5 and
>>>> >make sure that things are more than just accessible to screen readers
>>>> >it won't be hard for companies like FS to keep it accessible.  This
>>>> >shouldn't be a war against companies it should be a war to make Math
>>>> >accessible whether a person uses sight or sound or smell to read math.
>>>> >If standards of the world are followed rather than making up a standard
>>>> >just for the blind then it won't be an issue.
>>>>
>>>> >Ken
>>>>
>>>> >-----Original Message-----
>>>> >From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org
>>>> >[mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Neil Soiffer
>>>> >Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 4:13 PM
>>>> >To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
>>>> >Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Somewhat positive yet disappointing press
>>>> >release
>>>>
>>>> >We are adding new functionality (eg, navigation for math and being able
>>>> >to read math directly in a word doc without saving to a web page first).
>>>> >Unless JAWS or other AT adds code to their product to take make the
>>>> >appropriate calls to the new interfaces that get defined, it won't pick
>>>> >up that new functionality.
>>>>
>>>> >Neil Soiffer
>>>> >Senior Scientist
>>>> >Design Science, Inc.
>>>> >www.dessci.com
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> >On Thu, May 26, 2011 at 12:32 PM, Patti Mitchell <patti at 4dewitt.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> >> Is Jaws using something else?
>>>> >>
>>>> >> -----Original Message-----
>>>> >> From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org
>>>> >> [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>>> >> On
>>>> >> Behalf Of Neil Soiffer
>>>> >> Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 3:08 PM
>>>> >> To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
>>>> >> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Somewhat positive yet disappointing press
>>>> >> release
>>>> >>
>>>> >> We would like as many screen readers as possible to be part of this
>>>> work.
>>>> >> Freedom Scientific did not want to participate in the grant, GW Micro
>>>> did.
>>>> >> I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you want math support
>>>> >> in
>>>> >your
>>>> >> AT, you need to make it very clear to your AT vendor that if they
>>>> >> don't support math well, you'll use a different product that does.
>>>> >>
>>>> >> Neil Soiffer
>>>> >> Senior Scientist
>>>> >> Design Science, Inc.
>>>> >> www.dessci.com
>>>> >> ~ Makers of MathType, MathFlow, MathPlayer, MathDaisy, Equation
>>>> >> Editor ~
>>>> >>
>>>> >>
>>>> >> On Thu, May 26, 2011 at 10:30 AM, Jose Tamayo <jtblas at hotmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> >>
>>>> >> > In the press release below, JAWS is not mentioned at all.  This is
>>>> >> > such a significant press release yet a market player such as JAWS
>>>> >> > is not even mentioned, any reason?
>>>> >> >
>>>> >> >
>>>> >> >
>>>> >> > http://www.dessci.com/en/company/press/releases/110524.htm
>>>> >> >
>>>> >> >
>>>> >> >
>>>> >> > http://www.
>>>> >> >
>>>> >> > dessci.com/en/company/press/releases/110524.htm
>>>> >> >
>>>> >> > >
>>>> >> >
>>>> >> >
>>>> >> >
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