Display readers, which convert virtual textual content into sound, could make computer systems available to many customers with disabilities, together with those that are blind, visually impaired, or have dyslexia. Then again, slide display instrument, corresponding to Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides, isn’t designed to make display reader output coherent.
Such techniques usually depend on Z-ordering — which follows the way in which items are layered on a slide — when a display reader navigates in the course of the contents. As a result of Z-arrangement does no longer adequately put across how a slide is located in 2D house, slide display instrument is probably not available to other people with disabilities.
A staff led by way of researchers on the College of Washington created A11yBoard for Google Slides, a browser extension and speak to app that permits blind customers to navigate advanced slide layouts and textual content. Through combining a desktop pc and a cell tool, A11yBoard lets in customers to paintings with voice, contact, gesture, speech reputation, and seek to know the place other items are positioned on a slide and animate the ones items to create wealthy layouts. As an example, a consumer can contact a textual content field at the display, and a display reader will describe its colour and place. Then, the usage of a voice command, the consumer can shrink this article field and align it left with the slide identify.
The staff introduced their analysis on October 25 at ASSETS 2023 in New York. A11yBoard isn’t but to be had to the general public.
“For a very long time or even now, accessibility has incessantly been considered: ‘We are doing a just right process if we allow blind other people to make use of fashionable merchandise.’” “Unquestionably,” mentioned senior writer Jacob O. Woubrock, a UW Professor within the College of Knowledge. It is a precedence.” “However this is simplest part of our purpose, as a result of that simplest method permitting blind other people to make use of what others create. We need to empower other people to create their very own content material, past a PowerPoint slide this is only a identify and a textual content field.”
A11yBoard for Google Slides is in accordance with a chain of study carried out within the Wobbrock Lab exploring how blind customers engage with “forums” — virtual canvases on which customers paintings with items corresponding to textual content containers, shapes, photographs, and charts. The slideshow instrument is in accordance with a chain of those artboards.
When lead writer Zhuohao (Jerry) Zhang, a doctoral pupil within the iSchool on the College of Wisconsin, joined Wobbrock’s lab, the 2 sought to discover a way to accessibility flaws in creativity equipment, corresponding to slideshow instrument. Development on earlier analysis by way of Wobbrock’s lab at the issues blind other people face the usage of artboards, Wobbrock and Zhang introduced a prototype of the A11yBoard in April. They then labored to create an answer that may be deployed thru current instrument, and settled at the Google Slides extension.
For the present paper, the researchers labored with co-author Jin S. H. Kim, a Stanford undergraduate who’s blind, to enhance the interface. The staff examined it with two different blind customers, asking them to recreate the slides. Each testers famous that A11yBoard very much progressed their talent to know visible content material and create slides themselves with out consistent iteration with collaborators; They just had to interact a sighted assistant on the finish of the method.
Testers additionally highlighted issues of growth: staying continuously acutely aware of object positions whilst seeking to edit them was once nonetheless a problem, and customers had been compelled to accomplish every motion for my part, corresponding to aligning more than one visible teams from left to proper, relatively than finishing those repeated movements on a unmarried foundation. Bills. Given how Google Slides works, the present model of the app additionally does not permit customers to undo or redo edits throughout other gadgets.
Ultimately, the researchers plan to free up the app to the general public. However first they plan to combine a big language type, corresponding to GPT, into the instrument.
“This might probably lend a hand blind other people compose slides extra successfully, the usage of herbal language instructions like ‘align those 5 squares the usage of their left edge,’” Zhang mentioned. “At the same time as an accessibility researcher, I am all the time amazed at how inaccessible those are.” Commonplace equipment. So, with the A11yBoard, we got down to trade that.”
Zhuhao Zhang et al., advanced and deployed a real-world resolution for simple slide studying and composing for blind customers, twenty fifth ACM SIGACCESS World Convention on Computer systems and Accessibility (2023). doi: 10.1145/3597638.3608418
Supplied by way of the College of Washington
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