Accessibility: September 2012 Archives


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I'm prepping for a STEM Accessibility webinar and I am happy to announce that ANGEL does support MathML, at least for browsers that are able to display it. For accessibility purposes, my goal is to ensure that MathML is displayed properly in a version Internet Explorer with Math Player because that is the configuration that the JAWS screen reader supports.

Browser Support

Before testing you want to make sure you are working with the right browsers and have the right fonts and players installed. So for MathML you will need

  • Firefox 4+ (Best native support)
  • Internet Explorer 9 + MathPlayer 3
  • Safari 5.1+ (Limited native support)
  • MathML font like STIX (free)

Note that Chrome did not support MathML natively as of Sept 28, 2012.

Getting MathML Code

For the moment, I recommend using raw MathML code if you want to experiment. Where do you get MathML code? It can be exported an equation editor like MathType or MathMagic. You can start to learn more about these editors on my MathML Tutorial page.

BTW - The ANGEL equation editor default setting appears to insert an image based on MathML code, but it's still an image. This is OK, so long as you changed the ALT tag to be something understandable on a screen reader. Right now the default ALT tag is "mathml equation".

First Try: HTML Editor

My first attempt was to cut and paste sample MathML code into the ANGEL HTML Editor in source view. This works great for modern versions of Firefox and Safari, but unfortunately NOT Internet Explorer. Sigh.

Second Try: Upload HTML 5 File

My second try was to upload an HTML 5 with MathML file into ANGEL via a File Upload. This did work, but I had to make sure I was using the right MathML markup for Internet Explorer, specifically "namespace mark up" in which the initial <math> tag includes the link to the MathML specification. That is:

<math xmlns=''>

CSS and MathML

If you really want to impress yourself, you can combine MathML with CSS. For instance, I use CSS to enlarge equations embedded in the MATH tag to font-size: 1.5em as follows:

math {font-size: 1.5em; font-style:normal}

Ready for Prime Time?

The fact that I got a MathML posted into the ANGEL environment is good news, but it still requires the developer/ID/instructor to be comfortable working with HTML source view.

If the instructor is NOT comfortable with this, but can use an equation editor, the best option might be to export an equation as an image and insert it with an ALT tag. Fortunately, It is possible to insert images into ANGEL with an Alternative Tag.