Software

Making Microsoft Excel Accessible: Multimodal Presentation of Charts

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Executive Summary

Several solutions, based on aural and haptic feedback, have been developed to enable access to complex on-line information for people with visual impairments. Nevertheless, there are several components of widely used software applications that are still beyond the reach of screen readers and Braille displays. This paper investigates the non-visual accessibility issues associated with the graphing component of Microsoft Excel. The goal is to provide flexible multi-modal navigation schemes which can help visually impaired users in comprehending Excel charts. The methodology identifies the need for 3 strategies used in interaction: exploratory, guided, and summarization. Switching between them supports the development of a mental model of a chart. Aural cues and commentaries are integrated in a haptic presentation to help understanding the presented chart.

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