The goal of the Accessible Infographics CG is to make information graphics, like bar charts and maps, as accessible as possible to all. The plan is to bring together experts and pioneers in the fields of data visualization and accessibility, to create use cases and requirements in a systematic manner, to devise and propose additions to SVG that improve accessible options for data in that and other graphics formats, and to document best practices and tutorials for making infographics accessible.
Note: Community Groups are proposed and run by the community. Although W3C hosts these conversations, the groups do not necessarily represent the views of the W3C Membership or staff.
My name is Jonathan Metz and I am a Graphic Designer who specializes in print and publication design. My interest in accessibility was born while creating Section 508 compliant PDFs for the Center for Social Innovation, a mission-based for-profit that managed a project for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). I became more involved after recognizing the lack of accessibility of PDFs even using only the provisions under Section 508.
I came about this group after beginning a personal project on creating accessible maps. I feel that there is a rift between what is available to sighted individuals and those that are visually impaired when it comes to graphic representations. Additionally, I believe that current standards for accessing graphics, particularly when the graphic is the fundamental reason the document exists, are far too lax on being of any help to an individual with a disability.
I have experience using the Adobe Creative Suite, and look forward to designing complex illustrations for the group in an effort to assist in developing a more accessible infographics. Thank you for the opportunity, and I look forward to working with you in the near future!
My name is Ed Summers. I am a blind software engineer and an accessibility specialist. I lead the accessibility team at SAS Institute. SAS is the market leader in Business Analytics software and the largest independent Business Intelligence software vendor. SAS also provides software to K-12 and higher education organizations at no cost or low cost.
This community group was formed as a result of a meeting on November 21, 2011. The meeting was hosted at SAS’ corporate headquarters. The participants included Dr. Bruce Walker from the Georgia Tech Sonification Lab, Dr. John Gardner from Viewplus Technologies, Doug Schepers from W3C, and several representatives from SAS Research and Development.
During this meeting, we reviewed recent advances in the accessibility of data visualizations and related multi-modal user interactions. We discussed next steps towards greater access to graphical representations of structured data on the web. We agreed that new web standards would greatly increase access to this information for users of all abilities and particularly users with visual disabilities. We agreed to form this community group to facilitate that goal.
Technology exists to serve humanity. There are pressing social needs that require immediate attention. I propose that we initially focus on these pressing social needs and iteratively expand our scope in a manageable fashion.
First and foremost, students with visual disabilities do not have equal access to graphical representations of mathematical functions and structured data in mainstream textbooks, e-learning systems, and standardized tests. This is an artificial and unnecessary barrier for millions of students in K-12 and higher education.
Second, personal navigation is inherently difficult for people with visual disabilities. Mainstream printed and electronic maps are not accessible so it is very difficult for them to build a mental map of spaces, recognize landmarks, etc.
These two problems combine create formidable obstacles for people with visual disabilities. For example, imagine a recent high school graduate with a severe visual disability as she arrives at a major university for her freshman year. Her first challenge is to learn to navigate a university campus and a new city. She must find new buildings and new classrooms at the beginning of each semester. She must acquire instructional materials in an accessible format in a timely manner. She will face calculus, statistics, economics, and other classes with limited or no acces to the images and graphics in her textbooks.
I propose that we systematically define a set of initial requirements and use cases that capture the challenges faced by real students with disabilities. This pragmatic approach will limit the scope of the problem and allow us to make progress on proposals to solve them. We can then iteratively expand the scope in a manageable fashion.
Please share your thoughts on this proposal. I look forward to a productive discussion that will produce tangible proposals in a timely manner.
I’m the VP of Engineering at Benetech. Benetech in partnership with the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and the US Fund for DAISY is managing the DIAGRAM Center. The DIAGRAM Center has been established by the US Department of Education (Office of Special Education Programs or OSEP) to help find ways to make image descriptions in textbooks for print disabled students more effective and less costly. You can learn more about the DIAGRAM Center and some of the products emerging from the center, such as Poet (an open source web based application for crowd-sourcing image descriptions for books in DAISY format) at:
Benetech also is the organization behind Bookshare – the world’s largest library of accessible ebooks for people with print disabilities. Bookshare is also funded by OSEP and is free to all students in the U.S.
Hi All! Maybe a good way to get started with this group is to introduce ourselves, what we do, our interests and experiences in Accessibility, and why we joined this group.
I’ll go ahead and start. Hi, I’m Karla. I am an Instructional Designer at Distance Learning and Instructional Media Services at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. My interest in accessibility and assistive technology began while I was an undergraduate student at The Ohio State University and developed through a series of research, employment, and continuing education opportunities. My personal and professional interests in accessibility now have to do with web accessibility and the accessibility of distance learning. I’ve joined this group because I love the infographics that I keep coming across as I research new topics in distance learning (ie mobile learning and digital natives) as well as those complex graphics that I encounter through supporting faculty members in course development and design. I’ve been using text and audio descriptions as a means of accessibility for these graphics as of yet, but am very interested to learn more promising practices that may exist in this area.
I am very excited to be a part of this group and collaborate with each of you.