SBIR Phase II: Accessible Scalable Vector Graphic Authoring and Editing Applications
Small Business Information
ViewPlus Technologies, Inc.
1853 SW Airport Ave., Corvallis, OR, 97333
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will support development and testing of Windows applications for creating and making available highly accessible SVG files. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is a graphics markup language supporting features critical to accessibility by individuals with print disabilities. One application permits authors easily to create and/or edit mainstream graphical information as SVG files fully usable by individuals with print disabilities. Full accessibility requires only that authors supply names of important graphics objects, a task easily done with the SVG Editor. Most individuals with print disabilities can comprehend graphical information better by moving the mouse over text or graphics objects displayed in the ViewPlus SVG Reader, whereupon they hear the text or names of graphics objects spoken aloud. Blind users and those unable to use a normal mouse can also comprehend such information by creating a tactile copy on a ViewPlus Tiger embosser which can then be read with their fingers after placing it on a ViewPlus Touchpad. Sighted users can obtain an embossed color image with the new Color Embosser. Availability of an appropriate embosser and Touchpad means that even individuals with severe print disabilities can access mainstream graphical information without assistance by another human being. Computer users with severe print disabilities currently have good access to words but very poor access to graphical information. Lack of good access to graphs, charts, and diagrams severely affects quality of life and educational and professional opportunities, particularly in the STEM fields, i.e., science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Graphical information today is "made accessible" largely by written or verbal description. There is currently no practical way to make most graphical information available in a form usable by individuals who are severely dyslexic or for blind people, who may or may not read Braille. These new SVG applications will provide a user-friendly technology that fills that need. Graphical information can simply be created and displayed on the web or in electronic documents as SVG files that are usable by everybody. The hardware technologies needed by blind or severely dyslexic people should cost no more than a present-day Braille embosser, so it should be affordable for libraries and institutions to provide this capability thus to serve these clientele. The largest user base for the SVG Reader will probably be individuals with less severe print disabilities who can improve their comprehension by supplementing visual with audio information.
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