Designing More Usable Documents
This section of Designing a More Usable World is dedicated to cooperative efforts linked toward creating more usable documents for all. A number of interrelated efforts and projects are listed below.
- New and Highlighted
- Navigation and reading tools
- Digital Books
- Distance Education
- Print Materials and Alternative Formats
- World Wide Web and other electronic formats
- Governmental Efforts
- Forums for Discussing Document Accessibility Issues
- Organizations, Projects and Technologies Addressing Document Access Issues
- The American Council of the Blind announced the publication of a comprehensive guide for producing reading materials in accessible formats. "A Guide to Making Documents Accessible to People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired," by Jennifer Sutton, is an easy-to-use guidebook for people who need to make printed materials accessible to people who don't read conventional print.
Projects at the Trace R&D Center
- Working on Accessible
Web Content Guidelines and Designing More Usable Documents -
This report outlines work completed at Trace related to document
navigation and provides an overview of the tools listed below. You
may notice that many of our projects only work with Microsoft
Internet Explorer 4.x and 5.x. Why is that? At this time, MSIE4/5
provides the most straightforward programmatic interface for us to
use to accomplish our design ideas. The following tools are
prototypes that we will be testing and refining, and as such we
wanted to get them up and running as soon as possible to collect
- Headers Power Toy (zip archive) (for Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.x and higher) - Our power toy allows a user to select a header from a list of headers to take them to that header in the current page. Developed by Mark Novak.
- Links Power Toy for Internet Explorer 4.x and 5.x (zip archive), for Internet Explorer 6 and higher (zip archive) - This power toy differs from the power toy provided by Microsoft in that the alt-text of images used as links is displayed rather than the document address (URL). Developed by Mark Novak.
- "HelpDB" program (zip archive) (for Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.x and 5.x) - HelpDB uses Microsoft's component object model (COM) and several publicly available application program interfaces (APIs) to communicate and inter-operate with Internet Explorer version 4.0+ and above. HelpDB does not expose or allow the user to interact with all elements on a web page. Helped is being developed as a "proof-of-concept" model, focusing on improving the ability of users to navigate web page tables, as well as the user's ability to infer web page "structure" by listing all link, header, and table elements contained on a particular web page in their order of occurrence.
- Tunnel.dll (for Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.x and 5.x) - This proof of concept tool demonstrates Header Navigation in-process in the Internet Explorer application using a dynamic link library (DLL) application. Tunnel.dll provides a user with a tree view component that contains a list of headers on a Web page and allows users to quickly navigate to the point in the page where each header occurs.
- WAI Evaluation&Repair Working Group
- ASTER --Audio System For Technical Readings-- is a computing system for rendering technical documents in audio written by T.V. Raman.
- Auditory Browsing in Web and non-Web Databases - a list of projects, research, products, and services.
- Adynware Web Keyboard - This software (available for both Netscape and IE) allows users to use keyboard shortcuts to select links as an alternative to pointing and clicking.
- See also a list of Browsers with Built-in Voice or Other Access Features.
- See also Software Toolkits (Freeware/Shareware) - the history of, an outline of, and links to each of the five operating system related toolkits.
Articles and papers about navigation and reading tools
- Increasing the Accessibility of the Web through style sheets, scripts, and "plug-ins" - Wendy Chisholm and Mark Novak
- Table and Document Navigation Tools Evaluation -Liz Fuller. An informal report discussing the feedback we received at the 1999 CSUN (California State University, Northridge) "Technology and Persons with Disabilities" conference.
- AHA: Audio HTML Access - Frankie James. This report discusses the "AHA" system for presenting HTML in audio for blind users and others who wish to access the WWW non-visually. AHA is a framework and set of suggestions for HTML presentation based on an initial experiment.
- MAVIS - Mathematics Accessible to Visually Impaired Students Mathematical Gestalt Rendering Through Nonverbal Cues: An Audio Accessible Equation Browser - Christopher Weaver. Describes the development of an audio equation browser that delivers an audio rendering of mathematics using nonverbal cues and partial readings of deeper objects to convey gestalt.
- An Electronic Conference Program Tool In Accessible Format For Sensory And Physical Disabilities - Howard Shane and Brent Koeppel. The Companion Software; a flexible authoring tool, and the Freestyle, a tablet style, accessible computer, were used to create an electronic conference program simulation enabling access by persons with sensory and motor disabilities.
- Technological Solutions For Teaching Mathematics To Students With Physical Disabilities: The Mathpad Project - Jeannette R. Nelson. Software that supports equal access to mathematics curriculum for learners with physical disabilities.
- Choosing A Reading Tool For Print Access - Renee Clark and Mary Ann Sember. Addresses three options available to individuals with reading difficulties to access print information.
- Speech Recognition + Voiced Mathematics=Accessibility - Henry Gray and Nancilu McClellan. New voiced hands/mouse free arithmetic/mathematics programs ArithmeticTalk(TM), MathTalk(TM), MathBrailleTalk(TM), and MathTalk Pro(TM).
- The Accessible TRIANGLE Graphing Calculator - Randy Lundquist and John Gardner. A Windows 95 program that can be used on a small notebook computer as a powerful scientific calculator, including the ability to compute and plot functions y(x).
- International Community for Auditory Display (ICAD)- several references to research in auditory displays.
- DAISY - Currently the DAISY Consortium is working on the Structure Guidelines which will discuss the navigation of complex documents and how to convert documents into those that are well structured for navigation and for effective reading.
- Digital Talking Books
- Standard Developed for Digital Talking Book - National Information Standards Organization
- Digital Talking Book Production Process - George Kerscher
- File Specifications for the Digital Talking Book (NISO) - This standard establishes the file specifications for digital talking books (DTBs) for blind, visually impaired, physically handicapped, or otherwise print-disabled readers. Its purpose is to ensure interoperability across service organizations and vendors providing content and playback systems to the target population. The standard provides specifications applicable to all aspects of digital talking book production and rendering, including authoring tools for DTBs, hardware- or software-based playback devices, and compliance-testing software.
- Open eBook initiative - developing a specification for eBook file and format structure based on HTML and XML. The goal of the specification is to quickly create a critical mass of compelling content.
- eBookNet - source for electronic books and electronic publishing: hardware, software and content. Services and products available: eLibrary, e-books, digital tablets, electronic readers, e-publishing (electronic publishing), News, hardware reviews, and Forums.
Articles and papers about digital books
- AFB and Time Warner Meet with President Clinton to Unveil New Audiobook Technology that Bridges the "Digital Divide" for Americans with Disabilities - AFB Talking Books and the Digital Audio-based Information System (DAISY) have produced a prototype that exemplifies the kind of reading we may be doing in the near future. The result is a digitally synchronized audio and text version of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. The text of the speech appears on the screen while the actual audio of Dr. King is heard. The arrow keys can be used to navigate through the speech by sentence and by paragraph.
- Surpassing Gutenberg A Historic Opportunity in Access to Published Information for Blind Readers - This article examines how electronic book publishing may grow to become a substantial force in the publishing world in coming years and how open standards and other market forces will come together to benefit blind and visually impaired readers.
- Dayton electronic book classroom pilot to begin Sept. 1 (August 31, 1999) - Dan Caterinicchia. Discusses a pilot study related to the use of portable electronic book readers in the classroom at Resurrection Catholic School in Dayton, Ohio.
- Books In A Box (LD,SL,DD) - Yvonne Romero and Lou Ann Rosario. Discusses how literacy skills can be developed through digitized children's literature supplemented by the use of IntelliPics, Hyperstudio, Ultimate Kid Books, Speaking Dynamically Pro and other technologies. Materials demonstrated will cover Pre-K through 6th grade.
- IMS - a global coalition of academic, commercial and government organizations, working to define the Internet architecture for learning.
- Courseware Accessibility Study - by the SNOW project at the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC), University of Toronto.
- Making Educational Software Accessible - Project at WGBH/NCAM dealing with the development of accessible education software, including math and science solutions.
Articles and papers about distance education and accessibility
- Adding feeling, sound, and equal access to distance education - Jutta Treviranus
- Delivering accessible library services in a distance learning environment - Steve Noble
- Distance Education and Individuals with Disabilities - Ron Stewart
- Lessons Learned When Developing An Assistive Technology Course For Independent Distance Learning - Hal Gritzmacher
- Developing Web-Based Distance-Learning Courses For The AAC Community: A First Step - Russell Cross
- Telecommunication And Distance Learning For People With Disabilities- James Barry
- Preparing Special Education Teachers Through Distance Learning: Lessons From The Net - Stephanie Kurtts and Ada Vallecorsa
- Teaching Mathematics To Students With Physical Disabilities Using The World Wide Web: The PlaneMath Program - Lewis Kraus
- Designing More Usable Documents - Navigation and reading tools
- Distance Education: Access Guidelines for Students with Disabilities - the Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges is requiring compliance with the WAI Accessibility Guidelines.
- A Guide to Making Documents Accessible to People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired - Published by the American Council of the Blind and written by Jennifer Sutton, this document is an easy-to-use guidebook for people who need to make printed materials accessible to people who don't read conventional print.
- NCDDR guidelines for User-Friendly Materials and Alternate Formats - This document reviews strategies for disseminating alternative formats to increase the accessibility of information.
- California Community Colleges Guidelines for Producing Instructional and Other Printed Materials in Alternate Media for Persons with Disabilities - This document outlines strategies for producing educational materials in alternate media such as Braille, tactile graphics, large print, electronic text and audio/readers.
- Library of Congress launches Web-Braille on the Internet for blind and visually impaired library users - This press release from the Library of Congress describes Web-Braille, a new technology that will allow Braille readers to read books and other publications online.
- Refer to the Designing More Usable Web Sites section of the Trace Center Web Site.
- Adobe Acrobat Access -
Adobe's launching point for learning more about universal access to
Adobe products describes recent accessibility improvements in
Acrobat as well as how to use the online PDF conversion tools.
- Enhancing the Accessibility of the Web with Adobe Acrobat Software - This white paper provides an overview of the new capabilities in Adobe Acrobat 5.0 and Acrobat Capture 3.0 that will improve the accessibility of both Acrobat software and the information contained in Adobe PDF files.
- How To Create Accessible Adobe PDF Files - This Adobe PDF booklet is a step-by-step guide for authors who wish to create Adobe PDF files that are optimized for accessibility.
- Adobe also hosts a number of online conversion tools for converting Adobe PDF files to text or HTML. To convert a PDF file to text by email, send the PDF file to email@example.com. To convert a PDF file to HTML, send the PDF file to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Electronic and
Information Technology Access Advisory Committee Final Report
(May 12, 1999)
- Section 5.2.3 - Information, Documentation, Labeling & Support
- Section 5.3.3 - If the E&IT utilizes Web based information or applications
- Accessible Textbooks Clearinghouse - Texas Education Agency
- California law (AB 422) - California Governor signs bill requiring publishers to provide electronic texts - 15 September 1999.
The following discussion lists include information focused on the accessibility of document formats, accessible digital authoring and other related topics.
- The Web Accessibility Initiative Interest Group (WAI IG) provides a forum for discussion of issues relating to Web accessibility, particularly issues related to WAI activities. Subscription information for the WAI IG mailing list is available on the WAI Interest Group Home Page.
- UACCESS-l (hosted by the Trace Center) is a list for discussion of universal access to information systems.
- Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
- Trace R&D Center (this site)
- Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
- ATRC, University of Toronto
- CPB/WGBH National Center on Accessible Media
- Universal Design / Disability Access Program
- World Institute on Disability
- Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)
- National Information Standards Organization (NISO)
- Recording for the blind and dyslexic (RFB&D)