Accessible Math Takes Another Step Forward
Wikipedia recently changed its default so that not only does most math look better, but is also accessible by default. It used to be that by default, Wikipedia delivered math as PNG images. Here’s an example of what that looks like:
With PNGs, not only does the math not look very nice (wrong size and blurry), it isn’t accessible.
For the last few years, you could log into Wikipedia, and change the math to use MathML with SVG or PNG fallback. Now that is the default so that the math looks good and it is accessible because MathML is in the page. Here is what the page now looks like by default:
When reading this page with NVDA+MathPlayer, the first big equation will read as “the fraction with numerator a plus b and denominator a, equals, a over b, is defined to be, phi.”
There are tens of thousands of pages on Wikipedia with accessible math in them. If you already have NVDA, all you need is MathPlayer, which you can download for free from the MathPlayer portion of the Design Science website. There’s nothing else you need to do; now math “just works” for Wikipedia pages (mostly*).
If English isn’t your preferred language, Wikipedia has lots of pages in other languages with math in them and MathPlayer supports 14 of those languages: Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, and Swedish.
*Because images looked so bad, Wikipedia made it possible to author math as a combination of HTML tags (e.g., <sub> and <sup>) and text. This was harder to do, but for short inline equations wasn’t horrible and the display looked better, so some authors did that. That math isn’t accessible yet, but often it is very simple and is not too hard to understand.