MathML Cloud is a Free Online Tool for Creating Accessible Math

Author:
Paul Bohman
Director of Training
Twitter: @paulbohman

The non-profit Benetech has created a free online utility called MathML Cloud to create accessible math from ASCII text, LaTex, or MathML. MathML Cloud converts the original math statement into three formats:

  • descriptive text (which can be used as alt text in HTML, PDF, Word, etc.)
  • an image in PNG format, with descriptive alt text
  • an image in SVG format, with descriptive alt text
  • a MathML expression

The screenshot below shows the output in MathML Cloud after converting ASCII text into math:

Screenshot of MathML Cloud, showing output to alt text, SVG, PNG, and MathML

These multiple formats can be combined on a single web page or document to provide maximum math accessibility. The best format for screen reader accessibility is MathML, but math accessibility can get a little tricky, and support varies between versions of browsers and screen readers, which is why it can be useful to have fallback formats such as PNG and SVG.

Refer to a recent presentation on math accessibility by Sina Bahram, CB Averitt, and David MacDonald for more information.

Read Benetech's explanation of the benefits of MathML Cloud on the Benetech website.