Re: Proposed Open and Interactive Widgets for STEM Community Group

Hi, Jennifer–

Sorry it's taking a little while to get rolling.

Based on the introductions, it seems there aren't that many folks that 
can write tests, who also have free time. Since tests are a critical 
part of the next steps, we need to either train people to make them, or 
find time for the people who do know how to make tests to do so, or some 
combination thereof.

Speaking for myself, I tend to work in bursts on any given project; I 
load up the necessary skills in my brain, set aside some dedicated time, 
and crank out the results. I have been busy with other projects, and 
haven't had the time to do the SVG accessibility tests, but I have been 
thinking about them, and I do plan to set aside some time in late 
November (after my travel to China for W3C's TPAC meeting) to write a 
set of tests, which we can then proceed to test with screenreaders.

Having a hackathon or workshop before we have tests doesn't seem like 
the most productive use of time and resources, so I'll start organizing 
that once we have some starter tests.

If any of you will be at TPAC, I'd be happy to organize a quick meeting 
there to drill into the topic; that would be a good opportunity for us 
to brainstorm. I'll try to have a small set of tests ready before then.

Once we have some tests, and results of those tests in various 
browser/screenreader combos, we can file bugs and improve basic 
interoperability. After that, we can explore more advanced topics like 
extensions to SVG. This process will take several months, at least, so 
let's set our expectations accordingly.


On 10/18/13 8:02 PM, Jennifer Sutton wrote:
> Gerardo and all interested in SVG (beyond ebooks):
> This is certainly good for the land of ePub, as a whole (I trust, not
>  just Benetech's constituencies). I hope these efforts trickle down
> to whoever they can help, wherever. Unfortunately, I needed (was at
> least hoping for) substantive action on interactive SVG more quickly
> than it could happen, so I'm mostly now moving on to other projects.
> I'll stick around on the list and do what I can, but my attention's
> turned elsewhere, for the most part.
> Where *I* needed interactive SVG, and saw a huge gap is on the Web,
> with interactive data, that generated tables on the fly.
> There's a ton of big data.  We need a ton of interactive and
> accessible SVG to go with it.  Anybody got a lead on government
> funding to fix the tools that do *not* generate accessible SVG, as
> far as I could determine?
> Please, let's not forget this need for data accessibility on the Web,
> in the midst of Benetech's pointer in another direction. But as we
> all know, "follow the money" is key, and based on what I've seen, it
> looks like Benetech's got plenty these days.
> Good luck to whoever can do whatever.  Why not revise the notes on
> the subject of accessible SVG since all that's out there is from
> 2000, or something?
> When you and I spoke at Open Web Camp, Doug, I had funding that I
> could have directed (to pay for some of my time), but I'm afraid
> that's now gone.
> I'm left wondering, then, if maybe these two community groups should
>  merge and get some action going.
> Best to all, Jennifer
> At 04:17 PM 10/18/2013, Gerardo Capiel wrote:
>> Jennifer,
>> I agree with Doug.  T.V Raman and I are proposing this group in
>> advance of a presentation at the EDUPUB workshop on 10/29.  The
>> presentation will be making a case for an open source repository of
>>  accessible widgets to enable publishers to easily deliver advanced
>>  interactive educational widgets on the web and in EPUB 3 without
>> sacrificing accessibility [4].  SVG's accessibility features will
>> facilitate our born accessible goals for these widgets.
>> In preparation for EDUPUB, Doug and I have been prototyping an
>> example widget that integrates SVG with the Web Audio and Web
>> Speech APIs to more broadly deliver the capabilities of a an open
>> source tool called MathTrax [1], which was developed by NASA over 6
>> years ago to help blind and visually impaired students with
>> mathematical graphs commonly used in STEM education [2].  You can
>> check out a demo using the WebKit or Chrome with the experimental
>> web platform feature flag turned enabled [3]:
>> <>
>> Upload any of these sample SVGs:
>> <>
>> Gerardo VP Engineering, <>Benetech
>> [1]
>> <>
>> <>
>> [3]
>> <chrome://flags/#enable-experimental-web-platform-features>chrome://flags/#enable-experimental-web-platform-features.
>> [4] Workshop on The Need for a Library of Open Source Accessible
>> Interactive EPUB 3 Widgets: An EPUB 3 book is essentially a
>> mini­website packaged up as a book ­­ it can contain HTML5 content,
>> augmented by CSS for presentation and JavaScript for interaction.
>> In addition, EPUB 3 content can encapsulate scientific and math
>> content using markup languages such as MathML and SVG.
>> We postulate that a key differentiator of EPUB 3 books from a
>> publisher point of view is the cross­platform interactivity that
>> they enable ­­­ imagine a high­school Physics textbook containing
>> interactive widgets that enable the student to play with different
>>  variations of a specific scientific experiment. In a sense, EPUB 3
>>  books bring to scientific education what graphing calculators
>> initially brought to learning Calculus ­­­ if successful, every
>> aspect of education can be made interactive within the confines of
>> an EPUB 3 textbook.
>> It is critical that these new interactive capabilities not render
>> EPUB 3 textbooks inaccessible to students with disabilities and
>> that they integrate as much as possible with the assistive
>> technologies, such as screenreaders, students prefer and know how
>> to to use.
>> To date creating accessible non­interactive content has been
>> challenging for publishers, particularly within the STEM field. We
>>  recognize that interactive content will worsen the difficulties
>> for publishers. Thus we propose to provide publishers with tools
>> and templates for creating accessible widgets.
>> Specifically we intend to create a library of openly licensed tools
>>  and widget templates that publishers can style, configure, enhance
>> or modify to incorporate interactive content in EPUB 3 textbooks.
>> Examples of templates may include graphing calculators, common
>> physics simulations, assessment items, interactive video players
>> and sonified mathematical graphs.
>> By doing so, we hope to turn an accessibility challenge into an
>> accessibility opportunity ­­­ the rich, interactive, accessible
>> learning materials that will result can be expected to enhance the
>>  education experience for all students!
>> In preparing to write this position paper we reached out to
>> existing creators of interactive content and received strong
>> interest in helping to seed this library with openly licensed
>> templates and tools. In addition to the presenters of this session,
>> interested parties included Educational Testing Services (ETS),
>> PHeT Interactive Simulations at University of Colorado, Wolfram and
>> the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) at OCAD University.
>> PHeT Interactive Simulations has developed various HTML5 open
>> source simulations for example to teach Ohm’s Law, gravity and
>> molarity in chemistry. IDRC has been working with PHeT to make
>> their simulations more accessible to students with disabilities.
>> ETS has been working on accessible number lines to be used with
>> assessments. And Benetech along with the Worldwide Web Consortium’s
>> Accessible SVG Community Group are working on sonified SVG
>> mathematical graphs.
>> One advantage of this approach is that the authors of the
>> contributed widgets and other developers will be able to identify
>> common functions and components across their widgets that they can
>> work together on to further simplify and bring consistency to
>> implementing accessibility best practices. We expect for example to
>> be able to draw upon the award winning work of Bryan Garaventa on
>> accessible HTML5 user experiences, such as accessible drag and
>> drop. We also expect to add accessibility to many existing open
>> source interactive HTML5 based interactive widget frameworks, such
>> as those created with Mozilla’s Popcorn.js technology for
>> interactive HTML5 video.
>> This will be important as there is widespread expertise around
>> creating interactive widgets with JavaScript, but there is limited
>>  expertise with regards to accessibility for iterative widgets
>> using W3C standards, such as WAI­ARIA and newer community driven
>> standards for Web Audio and Web Speech. Mobile and touch­based
>> devices further complicate implementation and will be further
>> reason to create common components. Those components will also
>> greatly benefit from emerging standards, such as Indie UI and
>> <> Accessibility Metadata.
>> This library will also provide a testbed for developers of
>> accessible Reading Systems. We plan to initially test the widgets
>> against emerging accessible reading systems, such as those based on
>> Readium SDK, which in turn is based on WebKit. Over time we hope to
>> expand the range of Reading Systems that the widgets have been
>> tested with, so that publishers are further incentivized to use
>> this library.
>> In summary our proposed EDUPUB workshop will intend to answer the
>> following questions:
>> • What interactive capabilities are enabled by EPUB 3?
>> • What types of widgets publishers will be looking to use in
>> textbooks?
>> • How can these widgets be made accessible?
>> • Why there is a need for a library of open source widget
>> “templates” and authoring tools?
>> • What support for scripting and web standards will need to be
>> supported by developers of Reading Systems?
>> • Demonstrations of accessible widgets
>> • What organizations are involved in the creation of widgets
>> today?
>> • What open source licenses will be used?
>> Gerardo Capiel VP of Engineering benetech
>> 650-644-3405 - Twitter: <>@gcapiel - GPG:
>>  0x859F11C4 Fork, Code, Do Social Good:
>> <>
>> On Oct 18, 2013, at 3:08 PM, Doug Schepers
>> <<>> wrote:
>>> Hi, folks–
>>> Good catch, Jennifer! I think this will be relevant to many
>>> people on this group.
>>> Great news, the group has enough support, and is now launched.
>>> You can read more here:
>>> <>
>>> You can join here:
>>> <>
>>> Regards- -Doug
>>> On 10/18/13 3:45 PM, Jennifer Sutton wrote:
>>>> Greetings SVG Community Group:
>>>> I'm not sure what this group is actually going to do. But I
>>>> thought I'd pass the following tweet along, since there is (or
>>>> should be, as I see it), considerable overlap between this
>>>> group and the other one that is being proposed.
>>>> Of course, not all interactive content for STEM will need SVG,
>>>> but plenty could.
>>>> Best, Jennifer
>>>> @w3c tweeted:
>>>> #w3ccommunity Proposed Group: Open and Interactive Widgets for
>>>> STEM Community Group
>>>> Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 11:20:07 PM

Received on Saturday, 19 October 2013 08:09:06 UTC