Position Paper: Accessibility of Mainstream Graphical Information with SVG

John Gardner

ViewPlus Technologies, Inc.



Virtually any type of graphical information can be made to be fully accessible to people with print disabilities by presenting those graphics in well-authored Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) form. Good SVG graphical information should have objects arranged in a semantically sensible object tree and have the object titles included within the SVG file. ViewPlus is showing prototypes of its new SVG access technology (scheduled for release in 2004) that gives excellent access by people with print disabilities to such SVG graphical information.

The ViewPlus SVG viewer permits the user to move the mouse over objects and hear the titles spoken. The title text can also be viewed on screen. A touch screen or other non-standard method for moving the mouse can be used by those who find the regular mouse difficult to use. A blind user can use a separate touch pad on which a tactile copy is placed, permitting the user to use her finger as a mouse to press on objects and hear their titles. The tactile copy can be created separately and distributed for use with certain SVG files or printed on-the-fly on a Tiger embosser to be used immediately. Tiger embossers create embossed graphics at very high dot resolution and emboss with variable dot height. Typically dot height is proportional to the intensity with high dots for black regions and no dots for white regions, but user options are available that permit one to alter the brightness and contrast for maximum tactual differentiation.