Monday, July 11, 2011

AHEAD is hosting AIM!

'AHEAD is hosting AIM!'

July 11-12, 2011
Meeting and Public Hearing

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    Meetings and Events of the Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional ...

    Meetings and Events of the Advisory Commission on Accessible ...

  • 'EnjoyHi5!Autism' Highlights: The Advisory Commission on Assistive Instructional Materials in PostSecondary Education for Students with Disabilities

    Tues. July 12, 2011 @9:20am/pst

  • CAST  : Real Time Text
    ADOBE Presentation and Q & A Session
    {Accessibility, Instructional Materials, Assistive Technology and Technology Usage terminologies are highlighted.}

  • >> MATT MAY: So I can move through the pods here.
    (Screen reader reading) control F6, share pod graphics. Control F6. Video pod. Press control F6. Share pod graphics. Share pod. Adobe underline connect underline point or button. Stop sharing button. Full screen button. Pod options button. Previous button. Next button. Show sidebar button. Closed captioned pod button. Stop share full screen button. Pod option --
    >> MATT MAY: ... But the actual contents of PowerPoint slides or Captivate presentations that are in this are in the accessible tree. So users can actually navigate along with the PowerPoint presentations as they are being done here.

  • So the other side of Adobe, part of this was Adobe Connect is our Flash environment which is one of these frameworks that Ed was talking about, where one of the core issues is making this content -- is making content directly accessible to the greatest extent possible without there actually needing to be any accessibility remediation work done. And to that extent one of the tools that we make available, and this is really the most popular development environment for creating Flash content in an educational or corporate environment is Adobe Flex. Flex is a language that's based on XML Action Script which is like our JavaScript language, and CSS. Users can create components that are that have a lot of dynamic capabilities.  

  • Users can create components that are that have a lot of dynamic capabilities. You can change the way that they look in a number of different ways so that people have really unique kinds of experiences, and that's really what developers and designers want to have access to. But what's important is that the underlying technology is still something that users of assistive technology can understand. What we do to enable that is we have components that are skinable. You can do a lot of different things with, for example, a check box to match your kind of interface. But underneath that the accessibility work is done so that to a user of assistive technology, this is going to say, "I am a check box." So all of the role information is taken care of. We handle this in the background. If you develop something in Flex 4, not only will you have the support built into the platform, but it's turned on by default as well. So there still obviously remains more work to be done particularly involving things like reading order, but connected is one of the applications that using Flex as its framework. So we have enabled to a great extent over 60 different components that come with the Flex SDK to have accessibility support by default.

  • And that is something that we think is particularly important not only does -- not only is it the right thing to do, it's good business. We can show users this is how far we'll go. This is the support that we build in. And give them the expertise and information that they need to create more innovative interfaces and user experiences as they go along, knowing that they are building on a foundation that has -- that has thought about that accessibility work. To that end, we're actually improving the accessibility support in the Flash player. We've announced support for multiple platforms. So we're going to expand the Flash player support to non-windows platforms. So that work is targeted for 2012. We have support for iAccessible 2 as the core API for assistive technology access. And we are planning on building that support into future versions of the Flex SDK and other components so that we can make things more broadly accessible, including things that really hadn't been thought of in earlier accessibility APIs. And that's one of the issues that creative professionals have with accessibility in general, that they don't like to feel limited in what they are capable of doing, and they want to know that if they are doing something that actually pushes the envelope that they're going to be able to do that in a progressively more accessible way even if the -- as the technology allows. So we appreciate the flexibility that something like -- that Section 508 has offered us in things like equivalent facilitation, et cetera, but we also like a lot of the features of web content accessibility guidelines 2.0 from which the Section 508 refresh is being based because it is more focused on outcomes than version 1.0 was. So we think that that kind of flexibility is a net benefit to everyone involved because if you take things and boil them down, the issue is you need to know that a technology is mature, and that we know what the limits are with the technology for it. And we have a lot more that we can do. This isn't mature. We continue to grow. We continue to expand what people are doing. I think Ed's demo is a good example with that with charting capabilities. So we appreciate the functionality that we're enabled to provide within the framework of Section 508.

  • AIM Commissioner Question:

  • >> JIM FRUCHTERMAN: ... The first question was early on in your presentation you talked about the ability in end design to use metadata about an image as the alt-text. I guess the question is how usable would that be? In other words, do what kind of metadata would you like to just push a button and it will be usable alt-text? Can you give me an example of the metadata that would qualify what we need to do in terms of alt-text?

  • ADOBE Answer:

  •  >> MATT MAY: Sure. let me say first off that this is not done by default. It gives you a selection of areas where you can draw that text from. So whether it's from XMP metadata, you can add your own, and you can tie it to some other piece of content. But in like in larger organizations, particularly ones that are using stock photography or maybe getting images from a wire service, they will have metadata attached to that image. So instead of picking a photo of Will and Kate and putting it on your front page and then having to put a caption along with that, if you are pulling it off of the API wire the caption is already physically encapsulated in the image. So the -- but all of that data is already there. So when you are putting alt-text on something that already has that information, you basically have thrown that away, and now you have to reconstitute it. So we consider that data loss. This enables those kinds of organizations to have meaningful alt-text in the case of wire services edited alt-text appear in an appropriate environment without having to reconstitute it.

  • AIM Commissioner Question

  • >> JIM FRUCHTERMAN: ... Adobe and eBook accessibilities have off again, on again kind of relationship. A couple of years ago under pressure from the reading rights coalition, like the L.A. public library said they were going to stop buying Adobe editions. I know that you guys have been working on a lot of things. Has that boycott ended? Are you at a point where L.A. public libraries will buy digital editions because you have done accessibility work, or as far as you know is that still an open issue? 

  • ADOBE Answer:

  •  >> MATT MAY: I don't know at this point who is boycotting what.
    I will say that digital editions, I mean, it's a free product. So it's a free download. And the issues that had been raised were around the text-to-speech engine, particularly that the approach was to build in a TTS which was not the preference of a number of print disabled users in the community. And we recognize that. We had tried to work within some limitations that we have instead decided to breakthrough. We have worked with the content producers to let them know that the TTS bit which is intended for preventing a mass market reader from reading that content is not something that we will respect as far as access by AT. So if you have DRM content that has a TTS bit switched off, we can -- we will still enable that for AT.

  • AIM Commissioner Question

  • >> GEORGE KERSCHER: Just so the Commissioners Know that I don't think that I have ever found a Flash that I could use yet. You know, all of the buttons are -- it's just invisible to the screen reader. ...Now, I know you create Flash that creates some accessibility in it. But what's out there right now is not accessible. I don't know. How long has Flash been out? 10 years?

  • >> SKIP STAHL: Yeah, 10 years.
    >> GEORGE KERSCHER: 10 years. Still stuff out there doesn't work at all with screen readers.

  • ADOBE Answer:
    >> MATT MAY: I first will need to point out that my demo was a Flash application. So you have at least experienced one.
    But what I need to say is that there is extensional problem with problem with Flash in that it is a blank slate. It is a platform where you draw vectors on to a screen. So it is at its core no less or more accessible with MicroSoft Paint. So the issue that we had in the early days of Flash were that you were drawing things and they were objects but they didn't have a way to be represented. And so had you to go in and do that manually. And a lot of users, the vast majority of Flash application developers don't have that knowledge. So education is a component of that. But in the longer term we've built things into best practices, and the best practices have become components, and the components have been what you do to develop applications. And as we progress through those phases we have increased the accessibility of each of those things. And so does that mean that the content that was created eight years ago is suddenly going to be accessible? No. There really isn't any like once something is baked into a Flash application much like if it's baked into a EXE, you are, therefore, limited in terms of the accessibility work that can be done. So, yes, the vast majority of Flash content that's out there is not going to get any better in terms of accessibility unless either you are continuing to update it and you start to use the components that we have created that have that accessibility support, or you start fresh.

  • To some extent the same is true of PDF, although you can do some remediation work as you go. What's important to note though is starting today, or, you know, I would say probably within the last 18 months the likelihood that you without any knowledge of accessibility will create some content that is directly accessible has gone from near zero to, you know, to maybe 90%. The applications that you will go and find will be more accessible by default because of the work that the platform has provided. So that said, are you going to have a, you know, Flash-based ads become directly accessible? Chances are that will not be the case. Some people consider that a benefit.

  • AIM Commissioner Question:
    >> CHAIRWOMAN DIETRICH: Further questions for Matt?

  • Okay. I have a number of them because I was using in design back when it was Page Maker.
    >> MATT MAY: Roughly the same team but it was a total rewrite.
    >> CHAIRWOMAN DIETRICH: I've noticed that. But thank you for keeping the keyboard shortcuts the same. I really appreciate that. So I have a couple of questions here. You were talking about in in design the CS 5.5 that you could link various different content to your graphics in order to have the alt-text put in there. Is it possible to link it to a style? Can you link it to a caption style and the caption that's attached to that graphic?

  • ADOBE Answer:
    >> MATT MAY: Yes, you can.

  • AIM Commissioner Question:
    >> CHAIRWOMAN DIETRICH: Great. Thank you.
    What is the slowest speed that editions will speak at? Does it work with JAWS? It's not built in?

  • ADOBE Answer:
    >> MATT MAY: It exposes an accessible structure to the AT, so the AT is --
    >> CHAIRWOMAN DIETRICH: It's the AT determining what?
    >> MATT MAY: There is no built-in TTS.
    >> CHAIRWOMAN DIETRICH: It's not like Adobe Reader?
    >> MATT MAY: Correct. I will say that Adobe Reader has the built-in TTS, but works with AT. Digital editions used to have a TTS, and now it doesn't.

  • AIM Commissioner Recommendation to ADOBE:
    >> CHAIRWOMAN DIETRICH: Okay. Well, since I've got you here captive, we would like the TTS on the Adobe Reader to go slower, please, because the whole world who is print disabled cannot read at 100 words a minute, or I believe it's 90 is the lowest setting, something like that. So you can take that back as one of your recommendations.

  • ADOBE Response:
    >> MATT MAY: I will certainly.

  • AIM Commission Suggestion shared via Commissioner Question:
    >> CHAIRWOMAN DIETRICH: I'm wondering, and it sounds like some of this is being done, but one of the things that we've talked about in the Commission is working with the industry to have wizards created during the content production process where it will automatically prompt you. So you've got a graphic in there, and it will prompt you to put an alt-tag on it. When you transfer it from Word, from in design, whatever, into PDF it will prompt you at that point, not the accessibility checker that you can run after, but beforehand while still in your native software which you probably as a designer know a lot better than you understand the actual Adobe Professional interface to work in. So that's one of the suggestions that we've made as a Commission. And I am just wondering how you might respond to that.

  • ADOBE Answer:

  • >> MATT MAY: I would say that that could be a useful tool. I'm aware of accessibility checkers that allow that functionality. I believe MicroSoft had done some work in that realm in terms of MicroSoft Word. And Word is really the dominant content production mechanism for PDF. I think that in general it is good advice to at least prompt users for doing that. But Acrobat, like a PDF content is basically final form. If did you that, you would want the source document maintain that alt-text as well. And so, to me, that falls on like if we drew a line there, that falls on the production tool -- on the production tool side of things. As an engineer, I think that if Adobe -- if Adobe Acrobat took that as its role, it would then be responsible for authoring somebody else's content. Like writing to somebody else's format, and that could be really messy as time goes on. But, yes, one of the main things that we have to get people to do is to make sure that that content as it's being added at design time, I think that the authoring tool guidelines recommends at insertion time that that information is made available.

  • I think that that is really the best place to put that prompt. And that's exactly what we do, for example, in Dream Weaver for adding an image.

  • Interchange of Q & A
    >> CHAIRWOMAN DIETRICH: Thank you. Yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking.
    >> GEORGE KERSCHER: So in In Design, is there an accessability check?
    >> MATT MAY: Strictly speaking, no. We have the -- I mean, the functionality of Acrobat for the final form in production of PDF documents.
    >> GEORGE KERSCHER: I am thinking of EPUB. So for EPUB you've got to have the correct reading order. So that's now in design, it's threaded.
    >> MATT MAY: In In Design, you can manage the reading order through basically tree structure interface within In Design. So that functionality is something that is gotten higher visibility within the application to actually enable that.
    >> GEORGE KERSCHER: Right, because EPUB re-flows and PDF doesn't.
    >> MATT MAY: Well, well-authored PDF will re-flow as well.
    >> GEORGE KERSCHER: Do you know if In Design runs EPUB check internally before it outputs EPUB?
    >> MATT MAY: I don't know that offhand. No.
    >> GEORGE KERSCHER: Thanks.
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