[texhax] Teaching TeX to Visually Disabled

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Wed Feb 29 13:48:14 CET 2012

On Feb 29, 2012, at 12:31 AM, Uwe Ziegenhagen wrote:

> I'll give a LaTeX tutorial next week and will have a blind participant who will bring a 40-line Braille reader.
> Can anyone give me hints how to TeX best if one cannot see the results? Are there packages aiding in finding bugs? Any editors that are preferable in comparison to  others?

We've had a bit of discussion about this in the past (well worth searching the archives for ``Braille'', ``visually impaired'' and ``blind''). From my notes on it:

Major Issue:

 - portions of math equations / rules being rendered as graphic elements, not as text characters so that they were invisible to screen readers

Key here would be to use LaTeX markup which includes explicit use of Unicode code points (so as to help screen readers) and has as well, especial support for annotations (i.e., alt-text for [tagged] .pdfs --- pdftex command is \pdfliteral, then use /ActualText ) 

Of course, there is a bit of irony here, in that the TeX source is used as the alt text for many graphic representation of equations on the web, most notably at Adobe's Opensource site.

Other technologies / techniques:

 - Aster, a TeX-math reader: http://www.cs.cornell.edu/Info/People/raman/aster/aster-toplevel.html

 - speech and Braille out of MathML: http://www.daisy.org/projects/mathml/

 - Nemeth, a special notation / extension for math: http://www.rit.edu/~easi/itd/itdv01n4/article8.htm

 - http://www.cse.ohio-state.edu/~gurari/TeX4ht/ --- some files in this are explicitly used for speech support as noted by Victor Ivrii


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications
Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.

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