Re: Comment on WAI-ARIA Role

From: Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 13:27:49 -0600
To: Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>

Message-ID: <OFBACC5C23.9928AE65-ON862573FB.006ACF37-862573FB.006AEB2D@us.ibm.com>

Taking this one more step, The browser knows the media type and could
convey that information through the accessibility API. You could still use
EQUATION for both an image and MathML.

Rich Schwerdtfeger
Distinguished Engineer, SWG Accessibility Architect/Strategist
Chair, IBM Accessibility Architecture Review  Board
blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/schwer

Richard
Schwerdtfeger/Aus
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02/26/2008 01:21          w3c-wai-pf-request@w3.org
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Re: Comment on WAI-ARIA Role

Hi Neil,

That is super - and something concrete. So, a plug-in potentially could
process the image. If we put it in, would you be willing to write us a best
practices section on it - even if it is not in full detail?

Rich

Rich Schwerdtfeger
Distinguished Engineer, SWG Accessibility Architect/Strategist
Chair, IBM Accessibility Architecture Review Board
blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/schwer
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Subject

Re: Comment on WAI-ARIA Role

We have been doing some experiments, but don't have a product for it.
However, MathType 6 does allow you to copy images from sources like
wikipedia which contain TeX and paste them into MathType. It recognizes
that the TeX and does the conversion to its internal format. So, while not
a web browser solution, there is a proof of concept out there. We have
gotten very positive feedback on this feature (it was added to our latest
release last fall).

Neil Soiffer
Senior Scientist
Design Science, Inc.
neils@dessci.com
www.dessci.com.
~ Makers of Equation Editor, MathType, MathPlayer and MathFlow ~

On Sun, Feb 24, 2008 at 2:23 PM, Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>
wrote:

Hi Neil,

Thank you for the request. WAI-ARIA 1.0 is very close to last call
and we are trying to lock it down. Also, one of our key
implementations, Firefox 3, is close to being locked down. So, we
will discuss this but at this point it is very unlikely we can get
this into 1.0. Also, if we were to add a new role there are a number
of people waiting in the wings that would like to be considered and
this would open up the flood gates.

We have talked about the follow-on for 1.0 and we have been talking
about extensibility for that. Is there a math handler that can do
math interpretation from an image?

I have to ask though: Would it not be better to create a taxonomy for
Math than simply calling something a Math object type?

Rich

Rich Schwerdtfeger
Distinguished Engineer, SWG Accessibility Architect/Strategist
Chair, IBM Accessibility Architecture Review Board
blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/schwer

"Neil Soiffer" <?
Neils@dessci.com>
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Subject
Comment on WAI-ARIA Role

I work for Design Science, which is a W3C member. I am a member of
the MathML Working Group and have been since its inception. I am also
chair of the DAISY/Math Working Group. That WG developed a spec that
added MathML to DAISY; it was approved about a year ago. Our company
developed MathPlayer, the standard "plug-in" for IE to display MathML
both visually and aurally. MathPlayer works with JAWS, Window-Eyes,
TextHELP, and other AT to make math encoded with MathML accessible.
It is capable of generating speech, synchronized highlighting, and
braille from the MathML.

I have a request for an additional "role" to further support math
accessibility. First, some context...

Because of browser implementation issues, MathML adoption has not
been as widespread as it should otherwise be. A lot of people/sites,
including wikipedia, still use images for math. However, the images
often include alt text or embedded comments that could be used to
make the image accessible. An idea that Design Science has been
thinking about is writing JavaScript that grabs the alt text or
embedded comments and provides some level of accessibility. For
example, if the image contains embedded MathML and MathPlayer was
installed, then the javascript could rewrite the page as one
containing MathML and MathPlayer could take over display and
interaction with AT. If MathPlayer wasn't installed (for example,
someone is running Firefox on Linux), the JavaScript could still do
the translation of MathML to speech and braille. It wouldn't be able
to magnify or sync highlight. If TeX or some other known format was
found, the JavaScript could translate it to MathML and then make it
accessible.

The same JavaScript accessibility issues arise with this idea as with
other JavaScript -- AT doesn't know about the JavaScript and doesn't
know that the image (or div/span for JSMath) is really math. If it
did know, then it could call on our interfaces (or eventually some
standard expert handler interface) and get an appropriate string to
speak or string to send to the braille display (math has it own
braille codes and they are not identical to what is spoken).

Now for the suggestion... ARIA should have a way to say 'this element
is actually math'. My non-expert suggestion for how to do this would
be to add a "math" role to the list of known roles. 'math' would be
similar to 'grid' in that it represents document structure and
contains other elements. Ideally, an extensible mechanism would be
desirable, but math is an obvious case that maps onto an existing W3C
standard and would enhance existing pages that don't use MathML.

As a real life example from Wikipedia [
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nth_root], the first image in the XHTML
role attribute as
<img class="tex" alt="\sqrt[n]{a}" role="math" src="
">

[Note: the alt text is present on the Wikipedia page. The TeX was
used to generate the image in the first place]

Adding role="math" says that the alt text or comments in the image
contains information that can be used for accessibility purposes. It
alerts AT software so that they can call on some expert math handler
to get information about how to handle the element.

Neil Soiffer
Senior Scientist
Design Science, Inc.
neils@dessci.com
www.dessci.com.
~ Makers of Equation Editor, MathType, MathPlayer and MathFlow ~



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Received on Tuesday, 26 February 2008 19:28:08 UTC

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