From the CEO, week 3 on accessibility: focus and awareness not enough

Hey Tiger Nation,

I wanted to have great progress to report to you on my attempt to make the 2015 ViewPlus Annual Report totally accessible, not just in a check the box kind of way. My dad was able to take the org chart PDF saved from Visio and create an SVG with it, but I didn’t have much time to play with it. By default, the text was selectable so the screen reader could read it inside of IVEO Creator Pro. Supposedly, I’m also able to import the PDF tables I saved from Excel with all the financial reports. I don’t think I have a new enough version of the software because it doesn’t know what to do with the PDF. Basically, I need to think more about what I’m really trying to create.

Yesterday, I was playing with our “soon to be released” new printer. It has the advantage of 100 DPI graphics, printing directly from any Windows program, so I thought I’d have less challenges being free from our Tiger graphics locked on a 20 DPI grid. It should be more WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) without having to go through so many back end processes with Tiger Designer to clean up dot placement and adding fill. I thought I could just draw shapes in Word, find some fill patterns that would be tactile friendly and hit print. Surprisingly, I could but the results were not exactly what I wanted. The shapes came out beautifully. The different colors showed up as different dot heights on the tactile print out. The big disappointment is that all the fill basically showed up as solid fill no matter what I tried. The resolutions were too fine to feel a difference.

For the most part, things worked as I expected but I thought there would be more control in Word for fill. There may be and I just need to do some more research or try a real drawing tool. I did some quick tests using different line types across the shapes and it all worked as expected. Maybe there is a way to build a custom fill library. Anyone else know about this?

In hindsight, I lacked focus. I need to figure out how to convert the graphic into a useful form, then add the audio overlay for the text. I need to spend more than a few hurried minutes on planning what I want. I keep learning the lesson over and over again that if I don’t put it on my calendar it won’t get done. I really wanted to find time to work on it but I didn’t create the time. It was a full week with the annual shareholders meeting and having a local blind tactile graphics expert, Robert Jaquiss, come give us some usability help on our new printer before shipping the first demo units out. We are really in the final push to make our big, new product announcement at the end of March.

It is an exciting time from ViewPlus and I’m glad I’m here. Now, if I could just shake this sinus cold so I could think clearly. I guess my body is telling me to take it easy. Until next week….

Dan Gardner
CEO, ViewPlus

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