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Press Release: MathPlayer

From: Neil Soiffer <NeilS@DesSci.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 14:21:01 -0700
Message-ID: <233d01c470fa$f4f4b7f0$6601a8c0@raindrops>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

One of the early promises of MathML was to increase accessibility of Math on
web pages.  Most implementations of MathML in Web browsers have always
supported matching the font size, color, etc., with the surrounding text,
thereby aiding readers with reduced vision.  This latest version of
MathPlayer has audio support for the blind and works with the JAWS,
Window-Eyes, and HAL screen readers.  This press release and others are
available on our web site at:  http://www.dessci.com/pr


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

MathPlayer 2.0 Makes Math in Web Pages Accessible
to Visually Impaired Readers

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- July 22, 2004 -- Design Science announced today
the release of version 2.0 of its free MathPlayer mathematics display
engine for Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6.0 web browser. MathPlayer
enables Internet Explorer to display, and now speak, mathematical
notation embedded in HTML and XHTML web pages using MathML. Its new
features include math-to-speech technology, compatibility with screen
reader software used by the visually impaired to read web pages,
increased cross-browser compatibility via XHTML support, and improved
mathematical formatting. MathML is an XML-based language for
representing mathematical notation standardized by the World Wide Web
Consortium (W3C) in 1998.

The accessibility of online content to visually impaired readers is
already a requirement in many environments. Section 508 of the US
Rehabilitation Act mandates that government web sites be useful to the
visually impaired and accessibility is virtually required for online
educational material. Visually impaired readers often use software
packages, called "screen readers", to speak the content of the web page
using a computer-synthesized voice. Until the release of MathPlayer 2.0,
screen readers were unable to speak the math embedded in a web page
because equations were often merely bitmapped images. Using Microsoft's
Active Accessibility (MSAA) interface, screen readers can now take
advantage of MathPlayer's math-to-speech technology to read web page
text and math together, providing a seamless experience for the reader.
Screen readers known to work with MathPlayer include JAWS, Window-Eyes,
HAL, Read & Write, and BrowseAloud. Another MathPlayer 2.0 feature,
MathZoom, aids partially sighted readers by providing an enlarged view
of an equation whenever the reader clicks on it.

MathPlayer 2.0 also includes better cross-browser compatibility by
supporting the XHTML+MathML format also supported by the Mozilla and
Netscape browsers. This allows online content providers to publish a
single web page format for which a compatible browser is available on
virtually all platforms, and eliminates the need for a special
stylesheet to provide browser-compatibility. MathPlayer 2.0 also
provides better math formatting than earlier versions and, with the
addition of expression alignment, provides virtually complete MathML
support. According to Paul Topping, Design Science's CEO, "With the
release of MathPlayer 2.0, we have made it possible for scientific,
technical, and educational publishers to have a powerful new way to add
value to their online content. Not only will MathML-enabled content make
it possible for the visually impaired to hear the mathematics in web
pages, MathPlayer also allows engineers, scientists, and students -
sighted or not - to copy math from a web page into MathML-enabled
computational software packages."

In an effort to accelerate the adoption of MathML in the math, science,
and education communities, MathPlayer can be downloaded free from the
MathPlayer product area (www.dessci.com/mathplayer) of the Design
Science website. Anyone publishing web pages that include MathML can
use the company's "Download MathPlayer" button on their web pages,
linking their readers to the free software.

About Design Science
Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Long Beach, California, Design
Science develops software used by educators, scientists and publishing
professionals, including MathType, Equation Editor in Microsoft Office,
WebEQ, MathFlow, MathPlayer and TeXaide, to communicate on the web and
in print. For more information please visit: http://www.dessci.com

###

PRESS CONTACT:

Bruce Virga, VP of Sales & Marketing
brucev@dessci.com
562-433-0685

http://www.dessci.com

4028 Broadway
Long Beach, California 90803
USA

Design Science, Inc. "How Science Communicates"
MathType, WebEQ, MathPlayer, MathFlow, Equation Editor, TeXaide
Received on Friday, 23 July 2004 17:21:35 UTC

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