Not just the blind, even the dyslexic and illiterate can gain from DAISY XML



Microsofts latest initiative to put Save as DAISY XML in Microsoft Word
is the first step in bringing fully accessible content to people who are blind
or those who have a print disability.Excerpts

What is the concept behind Microsofts DAISY XML?
Our latest initiative to put Save as DAISY XML in MS Word is the first
step toward bringing fully accessible content to people who are blind or those
who have print disability. This new Save as DAISY XML functionality for
Microsoft Word has the potential to break down barriers for millions of visually
impaired individuals around the world and enhance the experience for virtually
anyone who loves to read. This tool will make it easier for anyonefrom a child
learning lessons, to a government agency providing vital information to its
citizensto create accessible content.

What are the other similar software solutions available in the market and
how would DAISY compete with them?
Currently, only 5% of all information is available via assistive
technologies like Braille or Talking Books, and it is estimated that nearly 70%
of the information is contained in Word documents. There is now a way to easily
and freely create accessible documents within MS Word.

Significantly, this new add-in isnt just useful for people who are blind.
Organizations too can now create training materials and employee manuals for
their print-disabled employees while libraries and schools can create content
for their print-disabled patrons. For instance, in addition to the millions of
blind users who can benefit from this technology, members of communities like
the dyslexic and illiterate can gain tremendously from this advancement.

What are the salient features of DAISY?
Using DAISY XML format standard, content creators such as in a library who
are blind or visually impaired or even a book publisher, can produce accessible
and navigable books to meet a variety of reading needs.

Using DAISY the organizations can produce a digital talking book (DTB) that
enables people to navigate through it in a way comparable to how a print book
would be used.

Organizations could also synchronize an electronic text file with an audio
file to provide readers with the choice to examine the text and/or listen to the
audio version of it. Moreover, one can also generate an electronic Braille file
from the electronic text used to create the DAISY book.

People who are blind or print-disabled cannot visually navigate complex page
layouts and need the information presented sequentially. The structuring of
information in DAISY materials enables the consumer to navigate quickly through
information by heading or page number using indices and references, all with
correctly ordered, synchronized audio and text.

Is this the first time that such a product for the disabled is being
launched by Microsoft India?
Microsoft Office continues to have numerous support features and produce new
innovations such as accessibility kit for SharePoint (AKS), also an OpenSource
effort; turning off ClearType (which can improve the experience for customers
using screen magnification); ability to show keyboard shortcuts in ScreenTips;
hundreds of compatible assistive technology solutions, more than any
productivity software; and, most importantly, good support for high-contrast
mode.

Stuti Das
stutid@cybermedia.co.in

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