People with visual impairments can access textual information through the usage of assistive technologies such as screen reader and braille display. However, unlike text, mathematical formulae, tables and graphs are not limited to a linear representation. Hence, they are hard to render and access non visually. This makes the access to scientific and didactic content very difficult, limiting the possibility of visually impaired people to learn and work.
To enable the access to mathematical content, alternative text can be provided. Howewer such text is usually a high level description and may not provide as much details as the original content. Furthermore, alternative text usually has to be added manually, which may be tedious for the authors. Very often, accessible content is not provided at all as most authors are not aware of the needs of people with visual impairments.
Axessibility aims to make scientific and didactic PDF documents made using LaTeX accessible for people with visual impairments. This is achieved without requiring any extra effort from the author, by just adding Axessibility among the included packages in the LaTeX project. Axessibility is a project of the Laboratory "S. Polin" for the research and experimentation with novel assistive technologies for STEM, hosted by the Department of Mathematics "G. Peano" of the University of Turin.
Axessibility: is a LaTeX package that allows to create PDF documents in which the formulae can be read with assistive technologies for people with visual impairments such as screen readers and braille displays.
Axessibility automatically generates comments in the PDF document (with the /ActualText attribute) in correspondence to each formula.
The generated comments contain the original LaTeX code of the corresponding formulae, without the need to manually insert them.
These comments are not visible on the screen but screen readers and braille displays read them when formulae are selected.
To use the Axessibility, the authors simply need to download and add the package in the preamble of the LaTex project.