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Braille Sonar and ICEB Agreement

Braille Sonar and ICEB Agreement

I know it has been a while since I’ve updated this forum but that doesn’t mean nothing has been going on. We’ve finalized an agreement with the International Council on English Braille (ICEB), the makers of the Unified English Braille code, to use their official documentation in the Braille Sonar App.

What does this mean for users? Our development team will now have access to the original documents used to make the publicly accessible PDF files and the like you see on the ICEB’s website. This will allow us to make a smaller more accurate reproduction of the documentation and add in accessibility descriptors. What do I mean by “accessibility descriptors”? Both of the ICEB documents which include The Rules of Unified English Braille, Second Edition 2013, and Unified English Braille, Guidelines for Technical Material, 2014 Edition, had some accessibility issues on Apple devices. At the core of the issue is the way the documents displayed Braille. In other words the documents would have samples of Braille and at times would use either a SimBraille Font or Unicode Braille for display purposes. The problem is VoiceOver has no idea how to interpolate these. Hence, using WAI-ARIA techniques along with Javascript we hope to be able to label these visual components in a meaningful way such that VoiceOver can read them. Additionally our agreement with the ICEB will allow us to include these reproductions inside the Braille Sonar App itself to quicken loading time. Oh, I almost forgot, we’ll be making these more accessible files available to the public as well, just as the ICEB makes their PDF and BRL files available. At present there’s no timetable for seeing these updates in the Braille Sonar App but our lead developer is on it.

Note from the Lead Developer: Hey, David here. Braille Sonar is a commercial product; it does cost money and I appreciate your purchase but it is also serving a very small niche. As a result Braille Sonar is mostly a labor of love and has yet to demonstrate its ability to be a self-sustainable product. Let me put that in another way; I’ve never drawn a salary from the proceeds. That doesn’t mean its going to die; but it does mean we’ll be looking for alternate revenue ideas or sponsorship or whatever. If you have any ideas fell free to share it. I personally use Braille myself and I think a tool like Braille Sonar needs to be out there, should be out there, and needs to be out there. Braille Rocks! And Braille literacy is important. If the NFB, ACB, or APH come out with a resource just as good or even if they wanted to buy us an press on I’d be happy to close up shop but till then thank you for your support. –David Ward