In keeping with the DIAGRAM Center goal of dramatically changing the way image and graphic content for accessible instructional materials (AIM) is produced and accessed, DIAGRAM both conducts its own research and partners with other organizations to conduct research to achieve this goal.
DIAGRAM Research Products:
One of the first research efforts performed by the Center has been a comparison of DAISY Talking Books (DTB) and e-book hardware and software. The tables in the section present the features and functional testing results for the devices or applications in the following categories:
- DTB Hardware
- DTB Software
- DTB Authoring Software
- e-book Hardware
- e-book Software
- Image Authoring Software
You can view the entire set of matrices on one page or view them individually by following the appropriate category links. As this research continues, the tables in this section will be updated accordingly.
Image Description Metadata for Accessibility
This working paper, Potential Use of Image Description Metadata for Accessibility (click here for Word version), originally published in March 2011, outlines the current barriers and opportunities for providing image description within publishing tools, technologies, and production processes. Ongoing discussion with standards groups, Adobe and other tool developers is exploring the feasibility of extending support for alt text and longdesc within image formats and authoring tools. In April 2012, an Addendum to the report was produced, covering relevant developments over the past year, including the release of DIAGRAM-sponsored tools for image description and the content model for image description metadata. In May 2013, a further Addendum was published, including a detailed summary of latest developments, including the status of @longdesc vs aria-describedat vs epub:describedat.
This report, DIAGRAM Center Product Analyses (click here for Word version), captures the status of the field as of June 2011 and provides baseline data to measure future progress within the field related to support of specific accessibility features within DTB and e-book technologies. Throughout the life of the DIAGRAM Center, the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) will continue to conduct and revisit product evaluations and the matrix will be regularly updated to provide all stakeholders with a current listing of capabilities and feature sets.
Reading Technology Survey
In February 2012, the DIAGRAM Center conducted a Reading Technology Survey (click here for Word version) in order to better understand what technologies are being used currently by blind and visually impaired readers. Most of the 230 respondents were blind and employed, retired, or in school. In every category of reading material, the same five reading technologies dominated the responses, with screen readers leading the way. As anticipated, the brief survey provides fodder for additional follow up studies.
SVG and 3D Printing Report
In the DIAGRAM-sponsored report Assessments of Raster-to-Vector (SVG) Conversion software and 3D Printers for Tactile Graphics (click here for Word version) National Braille Press assesses SVG software to find a version that is affordable, and easy to use for publishers and individual content providers, so that they can incorporate SVGs in materials at the beginning of the production cycle. The report also looks at the viability of current 3D printing technology for use in the creation of tactile graphics.
Publisher Interviews on Image Accessibility Practices
During Year 3 of the DIAGRAM Center
project we conducted interviews with targeted publishers to discover
current practices and challenges surrounding image accessibility in order to
provide guidance for ongoing DIAGRAM activities. These interviews delved into
existing and planned digital publishing processes and are intended to help us better
understand the changes necessary for adequately supporting accessible images
and graphic content. The in-depth interviews were conducted by NCAM's Bryan Gould
and Larry Goldberg from June 2012 through April 2013, with three mainstream
publishers and one publisher of accessible instructional materials. The responses from these highly cooperative publishers have
already begun to guide DIAGRAM's work, and many answers echo what we've learned
from our close working relationships with many publishers, from our advisory
board and from attendance at numerous conferences throughout the year. Results from the publisher interviews about image accessibility practices are available by following this link.
Integrating Haptic Feedback for Image-based STEM Assessments within eTextBooks – Mark Hakkinen, ETS This project will build upon existing research at ETS in tablet-based haptic display of graphical information and extend it to explore the inclusion of this technology to eTextBooks based on EPUB3. As the first step, ETS will develop a prototype, haptic-enabled version of an EPUB3 sample eTextBook containing approximately 10-16 interactive quiz items incorporating line graphs and shapes, implemented using a prototype of HapticCSS. The sample publication would be tailored to visually impaired students in grades 6-8 and focus on questions regarding identification of geometric shapes and line graphs. A pilot study will be conducted to evaluate the usability of the interface and the accuracy of haptic image identification by students with visual impairments.
Accessible Dynamic Scientific Graphics – Kyle Keane, Wolfram Research This
project will survey the current best practices for making dynamic
scientific graphics accessible to persons with severe visual impairments
in order to better understand the most effective practices for
providing pedagogically-equivalent information about common scientific
visualizations using audio feedback and verbal description. The
objective is to create a freely available report and a single working
example which can be used by creators (publishers and authors) of
dynamic scientific graphics to provide equivalent information to end
users with severe visual impairments. The results presented will aim to
be general in scope and applicable to any technology that can perform
similar functions to the capabilities of the Wolfram CDF Player (http://www.wolfram.com/cdf/). Click here to download the slides from Kyle's presentation at EDUPUB in October 2013
3D Printing for Accessible Materials in Schools – Yue-Ting Siu, TVI and NLCSD Fellow Do 3D printers in schools represent a practical solution for teachers to output low-cost, reproducible tactile graphics in a timely manner to students? This research focuses on delivering information about how tactile content may be handled in schools, the use of 3D printers to deliver such content, and identifying teachers’ needs with accessible instructions materials (AIM) and how they must be supported to adopt new strategies. The work plan includes preliminary research, a survey, and at least 3 case studies of 3D printer use in schools.
Guidelines for Audio-Tactiles - ViewPlus Technologies, Inc. - An in-depth usability study of text-tactile graphics in order to create best-practice guidelines for software developers or anyone who creates or edits SVG files. Will include guidelines for how to create images that are accessible visually, audibly, and audio-tactually.
Mathematics e-Text Research Center (MeTRC), University of Oregon - Evaluating the efficacy of text descriptions of math-related images for visually-impaired students.
Please refer to our Development Overview page to see a listing of the software development subcontracts completed or in progress.