SAVE THE DATE Tapia 2018 Orlando, FL September 19-22, 2018

2017 Tapia Conference

Improving Visual Accessibility of R STUDIO and GITHUB


Presenter: Thomas Hahn (University of Arkansas at Little Rock)
Co-authors: Richard Segall (Arkansas State University), Fusheng Tang (University of Arkansas at Little Rock)


Many standard programming interfaces, such as R and MATLAB are still inaccessible for the visually impaired. In this case study, we describe the challenges and how we could partially overcome them. The options for improving visibility are very limited in R. Here we demonstrate impressively by how much visibility can be improved by fitting the Sublime text interface over the traditional R interface. We emphasize the urgent need that we need not only make standard applications, such as Microsoft Office, but also programming interfaces, accessible to people with print disabilities since they are gradually evolving to engage a steadily rising proportion from our overall population. On the bright side, we are driving the evolution of human-computer interactions. This power comes with the responsibility to keep modifying computers, smart phones and other AI-based devices until they meet the needs of their users instead of the user having to adapt to the limitations of his/her AI-based devices. But the evolution and rising engagements in an increasing and more sophisticated human-AI- interaction can only take off like an avalanche, which takes everyone with it, if the needs of those, who have not yet interacted with AI-gadgets, will be properly addressed. The fabric of our multi-layer and increasingly interconnected society can only hold if the very basic skills to participate are shared by everyone. We outline improvements, which are trivial from a programming standpoint, but which nevertheless would cause a huge improvement for anybody, whose poor vision is the limiting factor in print-based communication.