[BlindMath] Extension for improving math reading experience on Wikipedia

Bill Dengler codeofdusk at gmail.com
Thu May 26 05:41:54 UTC 2022

Wikipedia can produce standard MathML or even LaTeX. You can change your
preferred renderer at https://enwp.org/special:preferences (on the
appearance tab).

-----Original Message-----
From: BlindMath <blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org> On Behalf Of Neil Soiffer via
Sent: Wednesday, 25 May 2022 22:37
To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
<blindmath at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Neil Soiffer <soiffer at alum.mit.edu>
Subject: [BlindMath] Extension for improving math reading experience on

I'm happy to announce a FireFox extension
a Chrome Extension
for improving the math reading experience on Wikipedia pages.

>From the extension's overview:
Increases accessibility of math in Wikipedia pages by reverse engineering
inline representations

Wikipedia makes math accessible by hiding MathML next to the image it
produces. Assistive Technology (AT) can then convert the MathML to speech or
braille. This extension extends that trick to inline math by converting the
"HTML math" in the page into MathML and inserting hidden MathML back into
the document. The original output is hidden from AT by marking it with
aria-hidden="true". Thus, the sighted user sees the original expression and
the AT only sees the MathML.

The improvement this extension makes varies with the page and the language.
In the English pages, it makes a significant improvement: almost all but a
few percent of the mathematical expressions are now accessible with this
extension. The same is true to a somewhat lesser extent for the French
pages. Most German, Asian, and Arabic pages appear to use embedded MathML
and so the extension probably won't help for those languages because they
are already accessible. If in doubt, try it out.

This extension helps for displayed math also (mainly English pages). Many
Wikipedia pages place larger math expressions on their own line inside of a
list tag, probably for presentation reasons. However, this causes screen
readers to say "list with one item" ... "out of list" for each piece of
display math. This extension adds role="presentation" so that AT does not
see the math as being a list and just reads the math. The display of the
math is unaffected.

The extension is only active on wikipedia.org pages. It should work with any
AT that reads math in MathML. This includes JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver, and Orca.

No user data is collected by this extension.

Note: this is an update with several bug fixes of an experimental Firefox
extension my son, a friend of his, and I released 6 years ago. I finally
figured out how to make it work in Chrome. If there is enough interest, I
can work with some to get a Safari version working -- I don't have a mac so
I can't test anything.

I hope some people find the extensions helpful,

Neil Soiffer
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