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RE: Nov. 16 2004 Working Drafts Published

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 10:01:38 -0600
Message-ID: <6EED8F7006A883459D4818686BCE3B3B2904D5@MAIL01.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "Neil Soiffer" <NeilS@DesSci.com>, "Ben Caldwell" <caldwell@trace.wisc.edu>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Thanks, Neil. This is extremely helpful!

"Good design is accessible design." 
John Slatin, Ph.D.
Director, Accessibility Institute
University of Texas at Austin
FAC 248C
1 University Station G9600
Austin, TX 78712
ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Neil Soiffer
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2004 12:51 am
To: Ben Caldwell; w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: Re: Nov. 16 2004 Working Drafts Published

First a quick introduction:  I've been a member of the WG for a couple
of months, but haven't had time to catch up with all of the work you
have done -- this is a amazingly prolific group!  I've been a member of
the MathML WG (currently an Interest Group) since it's beginning.  I was
originally Wolfram Research's (Mathematica) MathML representative and
moved to Design Science (MathType, MathPlayer) a couple of years ago and
have been a MathML representative there.  At Design Science, I have
spearheaded the company's efforts to make math more accessible to those
with print-related disabilities (blindness, low-vision, and certain
learning disorders).  To date, this has mainly involved making
MathPlayer (a free MathML plug-in for IE which can be downloaded from
www.dessci.com) work with screen readers and LD software [synchronized
highlighting of subexpressions as their are spoken].

I apologize for the last minute nature of my comments.  Other than a few
easy editorial corrections noted below, my comments probably should be
classified as the first non-WG comments on the working drafts.

Neil Soiffer                     email: neils@dessci.com
Senior Scientist                 phone: 562-433-0685
Design Science, Inc.             http://www.dessci.com
"How Science Communicates"
MathType, WebEQ, MathPlayer, Equation Editor, TeXaide

Section:  Alternative views of mathematical expressions

MathML will typically scale with the rest of the text.  One of
MathPlayer's features is "MathZoom" which redraws the expression using
larger fonts (click on the expression to make it bigger).  This is not
hard to do and could be easily added to Mozilla/Netscape/FireFox's
MathML support if the
developers decide to do it.   Because of this, I feel that MathML should
listed before SVG as a suggested method to allow for zooming.

Section:  Markup and style sheets rather than images: the example of

FYI:  there are at least three projects that I know of that are working
on searching math based on MathML.

FYI:  two of the largest math websites, mathworld.wolfram.com and
functions.wolfram.com, will be offering their mathematical content as
MathML as part of an NSF grant.  This allows their math content to be
searched and also allows it to be used as input to many mathematical
computation systems.

Although TeX is widely used in a number of very important communities
such as research mathematics and physics, a survey of technical
publishers done by Design Science a few years ago found that over 80% of
their submissions were Word documents -- math was typically done by the
built-in equation editor to Word or by MathType, the equation editor's
"professional" upgrade. Hence, the phrase "TeX is commonly used..."
overstates TeX's prominence.

Also, an important option for those using TeX to publish on the web are
TeX tools that produce MathML for the math part of the output.  Some
examples are Hermes (www.aei.mpg.de/hermes), TeX4ht
(www.cse.ohio-state.edu/~gurari/TeX4ht/mn.html), and Ttm
(hutchinson.belmont.ma.us/tth -- site seems dead right now).  These
allow people to author in TeX/LaTeX and still produce documents that
have the accessibility benefits of MathML.  The option of generating
MathML from TeX should be mentioned here, and it probably should be
listed as desirable approach to take.

The MathML reference should point to MathML V2.0 (Second Edition)
(http://www.w3.org/TR/MathML2/) -- the current recommendation.
Currently, MathML 1.0 is referenced.
Received on Thursday, 18 November 2004 16:01:40 UTC

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