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Extended alternative text solution

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000200712D
Publication Date: 2010-Oct-26
Document File: 2 page(s) / 64K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

It is frequently a requirement for electronic documents and training materials to comply with accessibility legislation. An important aspect of accessibility compliance is to provide text alternatives for any non-text content. Document authoring applications normally provide a method for an author to enter an alternative text string to describe each item of non-text content. However, for a document containing many non-text items it can be an extremely time-consuming process to supply all of the necessary text alternatives. This disclosure describes a method of supplying text alternatives that enables the text alternatives to be specified when the non-text content is created and for the text alternatives to be specified as either a fixed value or a dynamically generated value.

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Extended alternative text solution

This disclosure provides an extended alternative text solution for accessibility compliance which significantly reduces the time taken for a document author to supply alternative text for each non-text item in a document.

    Accessibility legislation, such as Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act and similar legislation in other countries, defines requirements for electronic documents and training materials to be accessible to people with disabilities or reduced abilities. Among these requirements is a requirement to provide text alternatives for non-text content (often referred to as alternative text or alt text) so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.

    Office productivity, document, or web authoring applications typically provide a method for an author to enter an alternative text string to describe each item of non-text content. However, for a document containing many non-text items it can be an extremely time-consuming process to supply all of the necessary text alternatives.

    The main principle of the solution is: the non-text content should include the alternative text describing that content. This differs from common solutions where the alternative text is provided later (possibly by a separate author) in a separate application and stored in a separate document from the original non-text content. In order to support this principle the solution defines: a structure for storing alternative text in a range of non-text file formats; an object model for manipulating the alternative text; a user interface for editing the alternative text; and an import component for automatically importing alternative text into document authoring applications. These are illustrated in Figure 1.

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Figure 1. Solution components

    The solution enables the alternative text to be defined as a fixed value or a dynamically generated value. The fixed value could be directly entered by the author of the non-text content or selected from a list of predefined values. The dynamically generated value could be retrieved from the non-text content at run time using an appropriate mechanism for the non-text content.


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    The structure is comprised of: type (unsigned byte); format (null-terminated string); text (null-terminated string). The value of type indicates how the final alternative text string is assembled by combining the format string, the supplied text string, and dynamically generated text. The format string can include fixed characters and format tags. For example, the string "Image:

\

\T), a newline (tag

and body text (tag \B). The structure is stored inside the non-text file using standard extension methods for the file format.

    The object model provides an application-independen...