At the University of Southampton we strive for all learning content to be presented accessibly. It is a common rhetoric that maths content is harder to ensure it is accessible. This how-to-guide will demonstrate how you can set up your device to interact with math on the web rendered using MathJax.

MathJax rendered equations enables STEM authors the ability to continue typesetting using LaTeX, as the MathJax engine performs the conversion automatically. This conversion enables assistive technology to interpret the math equation using MathML markup language.

## Getting started: Installing a screenreader

To get started you will need to install a screenreader and an addon that enables the screenreader to understand maths equations. In this guide I am using;

Both of these softwares are freely available although others are available. The first time you run your screenreader it will prompt you to choose your **NVDA **action key, by default this is the **Insert **key although you can modify this to the **Caps Lock **key. The action key is used to perform actions with the screenreader.

### Installing the maths add-on

Add-ons are software packages that extend the capabilities of the screenreader. Add-ons are located in the **add-on store **within the the **NVDA Tools **menu or available to download from the Web. For this workflow we are installing the **Access8Math** addon.

Once the screenreader is installed with the Access8Math add enabled, we can begin to interact with math that is rendered using MathJax.

## Interacting with maths equations on the web

The Access8Math addon is able to interpret MathML content in web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge. Navigate to the equation using the **Tab key**, if this is first time you are interacting with maths content on the webpage, you may need to activate the accessibility features in MathJax.

- Navigate to the equation.
- Select the
**spacebar**on your keyboard. - Navigate to the
**Accessibility**menu. - Select
**Activate**. - Refresh the webpage.

With accessibility now activated you can enter navigation mode which enables you to explore components of an equation and navigate between them.

- Navigate to the equation.
- Select
**Enter**to the select the spacebar to enable navigation mode on the MathML object.

## Navigation keys to for exploring equations

- “
**Down Arrow**“: reduces the reading snippet level. - “
**Up Arrow**“: increases the reading snippet level. - “
**Left Arrow**“: navigates to the previous math content at this level. - “
**Right Arrow**“: moves to the next math content at this level. - “
**Home**“: moves back to the top of the entire math content. - “
**Ctrl+C**“: copies the MathML source code of the object. - “
**Esc**“: exits the navigation mode.

### Reading snippets

The reading snippets are the current selection within a maths equation. Reading snippets are ordered logically to enable an ordered sequence of navigation. In the example, we can explore the logical order of the Quadratic equation. Our aim is to navigate to **4ac** expression within the equation.

- Navigate to the equation and select the
**Enter key**to start navigation mode.- Explore level 1 to interact with the complete equation.
- It is read aloud as “x equals StartFraction negative b plus or minus StartRoot b squared minus 4 a c EndRoot Over 2 a EndFraction”

- Select the
**Down key**to explore level 2 of the equation.- Explore level 2 to interact with the variable (x), the operator (=) and the fraction expression.
- This is read aloud as “x”, “=”, “StartFraction negative b plus or minus StartRoot b squared minus 4 a c EndRoot Over 2 a EndFraction.”

- Select the
**Down key**again to explore level 3 of the equation.- Explore level 3 to interact with the numerator and denominator.
- The fraction bar is not read aloud.
- This is read aloud as, “StartFraction negative b plus or minus StartRoot b squared minus 4 a c EndRoot”, “Over 2 a EndFraction”

- Select the
**Down key**again to explore level 4 of the equation.- Explore level 4 to interact with the expression that forms part of the numerator.
- This is read aloud as “StartFraction negative b”, “plus or minus”, “StartRoot b squared minus 4 a c EndRoot Over 2 a EndFraction”

- Select the
**Down key**again to explore level 5 of the equation. In complex equations there may be more than five levels.- Explore level 5 to interact with the constants that form the expression.
- Hidden operators are expressed in the lowest level.
- This is read aloud as “StartRoot b squared minus 4 times a times c EndRoot Over 2 a EndFraction”

Want to learn more about STEM content authoring please contact Luke Searle or checkout other blog posts written on STEM authoring: Reflection: ATHEN STEM Conference: Starting with Maths.

`$x=\frac{-b\pm \sqrt{b^2-4ac}}{2a}$`