Data visualizations can now be accessible to screen readers

Researchers have developed VoxLens, a JavaScript plugin, to make data visualizations more accessible to screen reader users, benefiting those with visual impairments or learning disabilities.

Data visualization is an important part of online media, but they’re often inaccessible to people who use screen readers. Screen reader is a type of assistive technology in the form of a software program that scans contents of a computer screen and transforms it into a different format – like synthesized voice or Braille – for people with complete or partial blindness, learning disabilities, or motion sensitivity. A team of scientists from the University of Washington (UW) in the US has  designed a JavaScript plugin called VoxLens that allows people to better interact with these visualizations. They presented their research at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in New Orleans in the US.