Yesterday, a reader who is visually impaired left me a comment asking if I could convert my answer to ASCII in order for him to read as parts of it were difficult for him to read.

I was wondering if thought had ever been given to adding easier methods for those with these challenges as I applaud him for working so hard to enjoy the mathematics that all of us love.

Can there be simple options to accomplish things like he requested? For example (there are probably others, but I am rushed at the moment):

  • A simple button to convert MathJax to ASCII?
  • A simple button to increase the size of the display (for those where this might be difficult to use the font-size choices?

On the Maxima mailing list, we had a request from a blind person and the entire community was just floored to try and learn how he is able to use Maxima to do math (they wanted to write a story about it, but not sure where that ended up).

Are there things this site can do to improve accessibility in this regard? This could certainly extend to other physically challenged areas too.

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    $\begingroup$ I was wondering whether we can find something useful at TeX.SE but I only found this: Are there good resources for converting TeX type files to spoken word? $\endgroup$ Oct 31, 2013 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ There is an option to increase the rendering size of all maths in the context menu of MathJax (under "Math Settings"). $\rm Try\ it\ here.$ $\endgroup$
    – Lord_Farin
    Oct 31, 2013 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Lord_Farin: I know that, but not everyone might and it may be difficult for someone with those challenges to find it. Regards $\endgroup$
    – Amzoti
    Oct 31, 2013 at 15:36
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    $\begingroup$ MathJax claims to have accessibility features. I'm not too clear on the details, but I think at the very least it gives an alt text of the LaTeX source, which should be fairly readable using emacspeak. $\endgroup$
    – dfeuer
    Oct 31, 2013 at 16:14
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    $\begingroup$ In a perfect world everyone would use MathML (with there being a way of easily converting from TeX to MathML similar to how MarkDown is converted to HTML). W3C originally designed MathML with accessibility/screen-readers in mind, and it is theoretically somewhat more friendly to for the visually impaired than MathJAX. Unfortunately, it appears that more and more browsers (Chrome, I'm looking at you!) are now dropping or de-prioritizing MathML support. $\endgroup$ Oct 31, 2013 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ A little bit of googling brought me to ASTER, which may help. $\endgroup$ Oct 31, 2013 at 16:33
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    $\begingroup$ mathjax.org/resources/articles-and-presentations/… is probably a good place to start. Firefox supports MathML! The problem with MathML, I think, is that it's not really designed to be produced by humans. $\endgroup$
    – dfeuer
    Oct 31, 2013 at 16:41


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