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ETD 2008 – Spreading the Light Making ETDs Accessible to the Visually Impaired and the Blind: a project under way.

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Presentation on theme: "ETD 2008 – Spreading the Light Making ETDs Accessible to the Visually Impaired and the Blind: a project under way."— Presentation transcript:

1 ETD 2008 – Spreading the Light Making ETDs Accessible to the Visually Impaired and the Blind: a project under way

2 Ana Pavani Laboratório de Automação de Museus, Bibliotecas Digitais e Arquivos Departamento de Engenharia Elétrica Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro Brazil ETD 2008 – Spreading the Light

3 How did this project start?

4 PUC-Rio and UNESCO sponsor Cátedra UNESCO de Leitura PUC-RioCátedra UNESCO de Leitura PUC-Rio The Cátedras mission is to stimulate reading (leitura) under all circumstances

5 PUC-Rio has the Maxwell System – an institutional repository that makes available, among many other digital contents, almost 4 thousand ETDs in pdf formatMaxwell System

6 A Cátedra faculty member got in touch with the Maxwell team to suggest that conditions be created so that the visually impaired and the blind could access ETDs the same way as persons with normal vision

7 The answer was: sim! [pt] sim = [en] yes

8 James Clerk Maxwell James Clerk Maxwell ( ) was a Scottish scientist who developed the Maxwells Equations of the Electromagnetic Field – our system (1995-) honors this great scientist system

9 What did we do next?

10 FAPERJ FAPERJ A proposal for funding was submitted to FAPERJ – Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Apoio à Pesquisa no Estado do Rio de Janeiro. It addressed 2 objectives: FAPERJ Accessibility of the system (navigating the system) Accessibility of the contents (reading the contents of ETDs) The proposal was accepted by FAPERJ and work began in Jan.2007

11 The learning process of the Maxwell team

12 Subnormal vision is defined in the OMD – Online Medical Dicitionary published by the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne as:University of Newcastle Upon Tyne Vision considered to be inferior to normal vision as represented by accepted standards of acuity (clarity or clearness), field of vision, or motility (ability to move spontaneously). May 3, 2008

13 There are two different problems: Blindness Visual impairment or subnormal vision The solutions to fulfill both objectives (navigation and reading) are different for the two problems Blind persons use TTS – Text-To-Speech SW products

14 Visual impairment is very diverse: Progressive or stationary Different degrees Different types of loss (areas of the vision field for example) Variable according to the environment conditions Variable according to the physical conditions of the person

15 Visually impaired persons prefer not to use TTS solutions if alternatives are available because TTS solutions are: Slower than individual (lonely) reading More limited because the solutions perform linear reading (a problem with math expressions for example) More tiring because they are repetitive

16 The identication of the problems and of the steps to solve them

17 Accessibility solutions for visually impaired persons: Navigation (NV) Reading Contents (CV) Accessibility solutions for blind persons: Navigation (NB) Reading Contents (CB)

18 Examine W3C – World Wide Web Consortium specifications to make sure TTS products could read all pages (NB)W3C Find and examine TTS SW solutions for both MS Windows and the Linux family, and how they navigate systems (NB) Work with visually impaired and blind persons to learn their needs, follow their recommendations and examine the examples they present; get their help and feedback in analyzing and testing systems (NB) & (NV)

19 Find and examine TTS SW solutions for reading of files (specially pdf), and examine how well they read contents (CB) Examine the accessibility tools of the Adobe Reader specially concerning visual adaptations and the Read Out Loud feature (CV) Examine accessibility of ETD systems in terms of: (1) Institutional portals; (2) DL systems; and (3) Contents; for both blind and visually impaired persons (NB) & (NV) (under way)

20 Partial solutions

21 To the visually impaired: navigation & reading contents

22 (1) Allow increase of font size (2) Allow change of contrast (3) Do NOT use underlines (4) Do NOT use fonts with serifs




26 There is still work to do concerning: (1) increasing the sizes of images (icons) (2) dealing with combo boxes



29 Two comments: (1) Increasing font size introduces horizontal scroll – it is a fact! (2) PUC-Rio requires Times New Roman for text T&Ds

30 There are tools that come with the OSs and/or the web browsers, and can be combined with the system tools

31 Shift+Alt+PrtSc

32 Magnifier

33 Zoom

34 To the blind: navigation & reading contents Require TTS products

35 The first step was to find and examine TTS solutions: (1) suitable to MS Windows and Linux; (2) to navigate and to read contents; and (3) that read pdf or could be combined with other solutions

36 DOSVOX developed by Núcleo de Computação Eletrônica of Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil JAWS – Job Accessibility with Speech developed by Freedom Scientific in the USA LINVOX developed by Núcleo de Computação Eletrônica of Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil

37 ORCA development led by the Accessibility Program Office of Sun Microsystems Inc. in the USA with contributions of many others Virtual Vision developed by MicroPower in Brazil Window-Eyes developed by GW Micro in the USA

38 OSLanguagespdfWeb pagesAcquisMisc DOSVOXWpt-BRNOnly text with WINVOX Free(5) JAWSWManyYY – W3C compliant Comm LINVOXL (1) pt-BRNTo be used with ORCA (4) Free ORCAU, LManyNYFree(6) Virtual Vision Wpt-BR, en, any SAPI-5 voice Y (2) Y (3) Comm Window- Eyes WManyY (2) Y – W3C compliant Comm

39 Observations in the table: (1) Kurumin Linux + Wine Windows emmulator ( + DOSVOX (2) Special action required to start reading pdf files (3) Problems with frames (4) V3 (to be used with ORCA) under development (5) Some office applications; Braille printer formatting (6) Magnification; Braille display control

40 Some comments are necessary concerning DOSVOX, JAWS and Adobe Reader Read Out Loud feature

41 DOSVOX was initially examined because: It was the first TTS product to have a pt-BR voice synthesizer It is free Many blind people are used to it There are some office applications that can use it It prepares texts for Braille printing There are 2 ways of overcoming the limitation of not reading pdf files

42 Afterwards, DOSVOX was disconsidered for this first part of the project because: It would be more complicated to read pdf files Reading T&Ds requires a lot more sofistication due to images, mathematical expressions, tables, etc that DOSVOX does not support There are texts in languages other than pt- BR

43 JAWS was chosen for this first part of the project because: Many blind people (in Brazil and worldwide) use it It comes with many languages, including pt- BR It reads many text formats It deals well with formulas and images, if authors are aware of accessibility and prepare their works in a proper manner

44 The Adobe Reader has a Read Out Loud feature that: Reads pdf files Is independent of the OS Can be use with solutions that do not read pdf files

45 These were the results of the examination of the TTS solutions & They have to be applied to navigation and to reading contents

46 Navigation: Adobe Reader Read Out Loud feature is not considered because it reads pdf files Is only possible when the W3C specifications are followed, if they are not, navigation becomes impossible when there are combo boxes, radio buttons, etc In some sites, reading becomes slow and confusing due to many levels of menus (some we tested had menus with 3 levels!!) The use of frames makes navigation difficult, sometimes the SW gets lost

47 The whole process is very slow because every new page is read from the top left, even if the only information to be changed (from the previous page) was in the middle of the page The use of shortcuts on the top left or all over the top is very helpful – a blind person does NOT use the mouse, all navigation is performed with tab,,,, PgUp, PgDn, etc

48 The difficulty comes from screens being bidimensional; people who can see are trained to interpret bidimensionally displayed info on graphical interfaces TTS products are linear readers!

49 Reading contents: Both JAWS and Adobe Read Out Loud feature were examined After using the products to read ETD files, 3 types of problems were identified There is much work to do to find solutions for them

50 Problem type # 1: Nature of ETDs They are scientific works – they have images, graphs, tables, formulas, etc They can have parts (titles, abstracts, keywords) in languages that are not that of the text They may be bilingual, as for example in a graduate program in translation

51 Problem type # 2: Generation of the original document in the authoring tool and conversion for the pdf format Authoring tools have functions (styles, bullets, numbering) that help both the conversion to pdf and the screen reading – they must be used by authors In this first part of the project, only MS Word was examined since this is the most popular word processor to generate T&Ds (and ETDs) at PUC-Rio

52 The pdf format has tags to indicate the document formatting or some special characteristics it may have, some examples: (1) Bibliography entry element ; (2) Quote entry element ; (3) Code entry element ; (4) Figure entry element ; (5) Formula entry element ; (6) Link entry element ; (7) Note entry element ; and (8) Reference entry element For a document to be accessible, its structure must be identified by tags

53 There are 2 very useful documents on how to create accessible documents; they are Open Access and are listed in the References

54 The tags are the guides for the TTS products to read the documents Documents that are not properly tagged are poorly read Tags must be added to the document when the pdf is generated Students can generate tagged pdf files if PDFMaker is used (see the paper for the URL of this reference) TTS products do NOT read images, formulas, graphs, etc – texts must be included for the SW to read the corresponding description

55 When a document is converted to pdf the language properties are NOT preserved The tags language properties must manually be edited

56 There is a very useful document on how to use accessible documents; it is Open Access and it is listed in the References

57 Problem type # 3: Behavior of the TTS products The 2 TTS products presented different behaviors in some situations and similar behaviors in others Language is a problem (no news!) Language Another serious problem occurs with math symbols that are present in ETDs in science, technology, business administration, etc. It can be very serious if symbols are used along with plain text symbols Formulas present another problem even when written with an equation editor; authors are expected to include an alternative text for the screen readers Formulas

58 Another problem occurs with the reading order of the document; this is particularly true when footnotes are used – both products could not deal with them Drawings must be created using the drawing tool of the word processor; in this situation if the author writes an alternative text, the TTS is able to read it, otherwise a problem occurs Images and graphs require alternative texts ?

59 JAWS comes with many voices (pt-BR!) and considers language properties of the tags There are 2 problems related to voices when the Read Out feature is used: It uses the default voice synthesizer that comes with Windows – Microsoft SAPI – Speech Application Interface It uses the language that is set in the preferences and disregards the language properties of the tags – if someone knows the solution to this problem, please, help!

60 Microsoft SAM (Speech Articulation Module) – is a male voice that speaks en- US; it is built on SAPI5 that comes with Windows XP SAM reads a horrible Portuguese!!! It was not a reasonable option for our ETDs

61 Other voices for SAPI5 can either be bought from vendors (different languages and male/female) or can be freely downloaded from SourceForge.NetSourceForge.Net A lot more free voice options (different languages and male/female) are available for SAPI4, so the user can install SAPI4 and use them; this is not a serious problem, it just takes time – we will include instructions on this matter in the Help areaproblem

62 Examples problems with symbols along with text: - JAWS reads greater than and Read Out Loud does not read - TTSs get lost since this is a character of the Greek alphabet and they had been set for languages using the Latin alphabet Obs: in both cases the symbols had been inserted in the text without using an equation editor text

63 Formulas: JAWS reads the alternative text; if there is no text, it tries to read the formula Adobe Reader Read Out Loud feature tries to read the formulaformula

64 Authors must create documents with accessibility in mind – if they do use tags, formulas and drawings tools, and alternative texts, problems can considerably be reduced

65 Making scientific documents available to blind people is a big challenge!

66 Problems have been presented so far – because they require solutions

67 Many good things have happened by the use of ICT!

68 Our blind student said that for the first time in her life she could read newspapers by herself This was unthinkable 20 years ago, but there is still a lot to do…

69 Action concerning text ETDs

70 Present accessibility as a key issue in terms of Open Access (hard!) Instruct authors on how to create accessible documents and try to convince them that the additional effort is worthed (very hard!) Make the web site and the digital library accessible so that all can navigate, search, retrieve and access contents of ETDs (easy!) Add elements to the metadata set to identify accessible documents (easy!)

71 Explore other solutions (besides TTS products) when scientific documents are the target – some examples follow Examine other authoring tools

72 AsTeRAsTeR – Audio System for Technical Reading It was developed by TV Raman, a blind mathematician, as his doctoral dissertation at Cornell University

73 Braille Displays A braille display is a tactile device consisting of a row of special 'soft' cells. A soft cell has 6 or 8 pins made of metal or nylon; pins are controlled electronically to move up and down to display characters as they appear on the display of the source system - usually a computer or braille note taker. Soft braille cells have either 6 or 8 dot pins depending on the model. Advanced braille code features 8 dot braille, but most will probably only use the 6 dot code. Dots 7 and 8, if present, can be used to show the position of the cursor in the text or for European 8 dot braille. They can also be used for advanced maths work and for computer coding.

74 Braille Displays Transform texts to tactile sensations instead of hearing stimulus.

75 Two comments: (1) Braille displays are linear devices, just like TTS products (2) There is not a universal math notation for Braille

76 FedStats Recommendations The Government of the United States has an agency called FedStats that makes statistics from more than 100 agencies available to citizens A very interesting white paper (in the references) was published with recommendations to make web sites available to all persons, in order to comply with federal legislation; this white paper is an excellent guide

77 A new tactile device, using ICT tools, is under research/development It will go beyond text and formulas…

78 Haptic (hap-tik) adj. Of or relating to the sense of touch; tactile. haptikoshaptesthai [Greek haptikos, from haptesthai, to grasp, touch. (1890)] The Haptic Community Web Site May 18, 2008

79 Dynamic Tactile Interface for Visually Impaired and Blind People This project is funded by NSF – National Science Foundation of the USNSF It aims at developing a haptic displayhaptic The time frame to have results is 3 years

80 Dynamic Tactile Interface for Visually Impaired and Blind People According to Prof. Ilona Kretzschmar, a faculty at The City College of New York and the team leader, the idea is to develop a viable dynamic tactile interface that allows graphic and pictorial information to be presented in real time in tactile rather than visual space The haptic display will include a touch screen to execute commands by pressing specific areas

81 Comments: (1) When results of this project are available, a real breakthrough will occur because information will not be restricted to Braille dots (2) The graphical display will allow users to feel graphics, images, expressions, etc

82 (3) The control of the display, to be executed by electric signals, will be at pixel level (4) Some of the difficulties that TTS products present are derived from the nature of some types of information

83 (5) TTS products are linear readers (6) A Hapitics display will be bidemensional as a screen

84 Multimedia ETDs were NOT considered They present a new set of problems that must be addressed due to the evolution of ETD formats – making ETDs accessible to deaf and hearing impaired persons will have to come into consideration too

85 What we do next

86 Develop all v 4 of the Maxwell System compliant to W3C specifications so that all system enviroments can be used by persons who are blind or visually impaired; the original proposition was only for the digital library (under way) Add metadata elements to the database model to identify works that can be read by TTS products (under way) Contact the Dean of Graduate Studies to support the efforts of stimulating students to write accessible ETDs Examine other authoring tools and how they convert to pdf

87 Aknowledgements

88 [01] This work was partially financed by FAPERJ – Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Apoio à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Under the Cientistas do Nosso Estado Grant E-26/ /2006 [02] IBM AIX and DB2 used in this project were made available through the IBM Academic Initiative Program Prof. Rosana Kohl Bines [03] Prof. Rosana Kohl Bines of the Languages Department and the Cátedra suggested this project

89 Raphaella Costa Duarte [04] Raphaella Costa Duarte (an undergraduate student in Languages) has shared her knowledge on the needs of persons with subnormal vision and has given many good suggestions; she has been a light to guide the Maxwell team Catiane Araújo Pimentel [05] Catiane Araújo Pimentel (a graduate student in Languages) has helped by testing and suggesting solutions to the problems of blind persons Prof. Agnes Christian [06] Prof. Agnes Christian of the Law Department has helped with specifications and testing of solutions to the problems of persons with subnormal vision

90 Referencess

91 Creating Accessible PDF Documents with Adobe Acrobat 7.0: a Guide for publishing PDF documents for use by people with disabilities [1]Creating Accessible PDF Documents with Adobe Acrobat 7.0: a Guide for publishing PDF documents for use by people with disabilities Available May 12, PDF Accessibility: Defining Acrobat PDF Accessibility [2]PDF Accessibility: Defining Acrobat PDF Accessibility Available May 11, Using Accessible PDF Documents with Adobe Acrobat 7.0: a Guide for people with disabilities [3] Using Accessible PDF Documents with Adobe Acrobat 7.0: a Guide for people with disabilities Available May 12, er7_accessibility.pdf

92 TV Raman [4]TV Raman Mathematicas for Computer Generated Spoken Documents PhD Dissertation, Cornell University Available April 30, Issues for Statistical Agencies: Implementing Section 508 on Agency Web Sites [5]Issues for Statistical Agencies: Implementing Section 508 on Agency Web Sites FedStats White Paper No. 1, January 2004 Available April 30, #formulas

93 Phil Cain [6]Phil Cain Beyond Pencil and Paper Section Three: Focus – Mathematics, January 2002 Headstar Ltd. ( Available May 10, R Collin Johnson [7]R Collin Johnson Haptics display sought to bring graphics to the blind EE Times, November 2007 Available May 17,

94 Thank you! Muito obrigada!

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