# Re: Comment on WAI-ARIA Role

From: Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 13:18:20 -0600

Message-ID: <OF7A7778C6.4D024648-ON862573FB.0069F4F7-862573FB.006A0CC2@us.ibm.com>

Alright, I'll bite. So, what would you do with a "math" role once you have
it today vs. developing math in more detail in a later release of WAI-ARIA?

Rich

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

"T.V Raman"
>                                                          To
Sent by:                  Neils@dessci.com
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Subject
02/22/2008 05:55          Comment on WAI-ARIA Role
PM

I think role="math" is a sufficiently simple solution to the
problem at hand, and something that we can build on over time.

Neil Soiffer writes:
> 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
> 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 could potentially be made accessible if AT
knew
> <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 ~
>
>
>  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nth_root>

--
Best Regards,
--raman

Title:  Research Scientist
WWW:    http://emacspeak.sf.net/raman/



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Received on Tuesday, 26 February 2008 19:19:02 UTC

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