P259: Implementing an assistive reader for blind test takers of the ACS exam
The curricula and professions associated with science, technology, engineering, and math, (STEM), have historically been stumbling blocks for people who are completely blind. Although technology has made large advances over time, images and characters used to communicate tightly intertwined concepts and theories, and represent pertinent information within these disciplines in a clear and concise manner, are still oftentimes not recognized by technological devices and other aides used by the blind. The available technologies used to reproduce easily accessible visual information in blind-friendly formats are very costly and difficult to move from one place to another, discouraging those who are blind to partake in STEM-related activities. Therefore, the blind find that they need to rely heavily on their peers and other coworkers who are familiar with the material in order to access what seems like disconnected bits and pieces of information. The goal of the current study is to enhance assistive technology capacity that is compatible with popular screen-reading technologies, such as Window-Eyes and Jaws for Windows for PC users and VoiceOver for MAC users, and it should be easy to access from a laptop. Devising appropriate content is a key component of such an effort, and this talk will describe efforts using interview and eye-tracking capacities to identify how students with varying levels of expertise articulate the information present in graphical contexts relevant to chemistry.