Contextual exploration of mathematical formulae on the web for people with visual disabilities in brazil with an open-source screen reader
Despite the technological advances in screen readers, specific contents such as mathematics are still a problem for people with visual disabilities. Due to the complexity of mathematical notations and their abstract nature, mathematics is a science that presents challenges for understanding by means other than visual. Thus, reading mathematical content using screen readers currently faces problems such as ambiguity, help to understand long formulae, and identifying specific elements. Besides, even with reading problems, few screen readers support reading this type of content in Portuguese. This study presents the implementation and evaluation of an add-on for reading and exploring mathematical formulae with NVDA considering contextual in-formula exploration and navigation. This way, the add-on enables the possibility of internally exploring the formulae using contextual delineations in mathematical elements with support to the Brazilian variant of the Portuguese language. The add-on, entitled Access8Math-NavMatBR, was based on the open-source Access8Math add-on. The version of the add-on was developed and evaluated in usability tests with the participation of six people with visual disabilities. Tests with the new system demonstrated an improvement in the understanding of formulae and an improvement in access to specific elements with exploration with an abstraction of formulae. The evaluation identified 52 instances of issues identified by users, involving problems with the commands and interaction approaches to explore the formulae and their parts, the verbalization by the screen reader and the platform's structure. The paper presents design implications for systems for reading mathematical formulae in the Brazilian context and considerations on the exploration patterns used by Brazilian users when reading and browsing mathematical formulae.
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