More from the Cal State Northridge Assistive Technology Conference: Accessible Documents and Materials

There were so many innovative and exciting things at CSUN.  Here are the highlights on creating accessible documents and instructional materials.

Benetech’s continued work through the DIAGRAM Center was highlighted again during sessions on testing reading systems and the issue of textbook accessibility.

Benetech’s work on a certification process of accessibility of books under a Google Impact award.  30 ePUB books have been inspected from publishers using a rubric for scoring.  To date the average score is 63%, with lists at 86%, tables at 55%, image accessibility at 47%.  Eventually there will be a statement that publishers will be given as certification of accessibility that can be put onto their documents.
Benetech’s work on testing reading systems to identify great EPUB reading systems as well as those with challenges. 28 reading systems have been tested, and there are a few with 100% accessibility scores.  The VitalSource “Bookshelf” is in the lead on all platforms.
Benetech is also piloting a repository of accessible images to locate and share alternate formats.
Slide decks for Benetech’s  Diagram Center’s presentations
The C-Pen Reader and C-Pen Exam Reader hold promise for students in need of text to speech when accessing printed materials for research and for use during test taking.

C-Pen Reader and C-Pen Exam Reader for scanning and reading text with dictionary support and text capture as well as a voice recorder.  The exam reader version only reads aloud.  There also is a version that is only for dictionary use.
Microsoft had multiple sessions on a variety of topics.  Additional tools are available for creating accessible materials in Office 365, Word 2016, OneNote 2016 and OneNote Online

Accessible authoring and Reading and Writing tools: Editor, Learning tools.  Improve decoding, fluency and comprehension.
Slide decks available from presentations:  Office 365, Word 2016, OneNote 2016, Word Online, OneNote Online  
Voiceye Maker and Voiceye App are used to create bar codes that can be printed within electronic documents and read text aloud.  The vendor is working with several magazine publishers to incorporate this technology into their printed publications.

Voiceye Maker for creating accessible paper documents with bar codes by adding a plug-in to Microsoft Word.  Each Voiceye barcode can hold up to 250,000 characters and a typical 1” by 1” barcode can hold a full two pages of text. Multiple page documents will generally have a barcode per page.    The is free available for iOS and Android.
3d printed and tactile overlays (swell paper) with text to speech on the iPad

I have been following Mike Kolitsky’s work on creating tactile graphics with text to speech for the iPad online. This holds so much promise for creating access to STEM content.   He creates 3d printed overlays or swell printed tactile graphics and interfaces with software to create the audio feedback that describes the images. Finally getting to talk about his actual work was a definite high point!  He uses PhotoToMesh to create the 3d printed images, Hype for sizing jpeg files to fit the iPad screen and size to the 3d printed image, and Natural Reader to create the audio mp3 files that correspond to the tactile image.  How it all comes together is still a work in progress, but I hope to have it figured out soon using our Picture in a Flash (PIAF) swell printer.


About Alice Wershing

I joined the Disability Services office at the Hardin Valley Campus as the Technology Specialist in November, 2013. I have an Assistive Technology Practitioner (ATP) credential from the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America, a Master’s degree in Severe Disabilities, and a license to teach grades K-8 and Special Education. I worked for the East Tennessee Technology Access Center (ETTAC) for 19 years as the Educational Technology Coordinator.

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