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Data presentation has been an ongoing issue for accessibility, especially with very visual formats such as maps and graphs. This has been emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic, where a lot of the information available about the situation is shared through iframe displays of data analysis centers, such as the CDC.  

Last month, I listened to a webinar presented by SAS, a company that provides analytics software and solutions.  They’ve created a tool to work with their data analysis software called SAS Graphics Accelerator, which creates accessible versions of several types of charts and plots, including bar charts, pie charts, and scatter plots.  In addition to audio description of data points, it uses a tonal scale from a piano to indicate position.  For a bar chart, the lower a bar’s data point relative to the y axis, the lower the note. X axis is presented by stereo audio output, as in data closer to the left side will be indicated by the note playing only in the left speaker.  

Some samples can be found here: https://support.sas.com/software/products/graphics-accelerator/samples/index.html

Audio Mapping is explained here:


It also provides description for some more complex types of plots, such as world maps such as the one used for COVID-19 data.  These maps can be explored using a game controller (such as a PS4 or Xbox controller) and use the same description methods as the charts above.  

At the moment, the Accelerator is offered for free but only works in Chrome.  It is compatible with JAWS, NVDA, and iOS Voiceover.  They list the ability to create your own data charts using data manually entered or pulled from various sources in the key features page but outputting data charts to use requires SAS data software.  


SAS Graphics Accelerator available here:



They also provide a COVID-19 Update using this program available from their Disability Support Center: https://support.sas.com/accessibility/


While the program is limited to Chrome on certain platforms, it’s a very interesting method of making data accessible while maintaining visual comprehension.  Hopefully, this trend will continue and expand to other programs.

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