April 25, 2023 – Our primary goal is to make our materials accessible to the broadest possible audience. This caused us to focus on the details of our Mathematics for Game Developers book and go the extra mile to make it as accessible as possible. Our first step was digging into the alt text for the images of graphs, etc. Although the auto-generated alt text would pass accessibility tests, we realized that it did not fully explain the graph/image and the math that was being displayed. To remedy this situation, we had a math expert add detailed descriptions for each image so that visually impaired students could grasp the entire concept of what the image was showing.
However, math equations presented a problem for us when we converted our documents into pdfs. When we ran our pdfs through an accessibility review, each equation gave us an error since the math symbols could not properly be converted into the tags for screen readers. We tried several different workarounds but couldn’t find a solution. So, we started contacting other agencies to see what methods they used to create accessible math documents.
After consulting with several experts, including Adobe, Freedom Scientific, and Perkins School for the Blind, we discovered we weren’t the only ones running into this issue. Thankfully, with their advice, we were able to find a solution! JAWS and Fusion screen readers support reading math equations inserted into Microsoft Word documents using the equation editor. So, we created two different versions of our book; one is a pdf version containing the alt text for all the images, and the other is a Word version with the alt text that is also compatible with screen readers.
Here’s a link to the instructions we received from Freedom Scientific: https://www.freedomscientific.com/training/teachers/accessing-math-content-with-jaws-and-fusion/