Accessibility in WIRIS editor

The accessibility features of WIRIS editor make mathematics available to users with different disabilities.

At present, web browsers offer some accessibility features, which are enhanced by third-party assistive technologies. WIRIS editor takes advantage of the existing tools without requiring any additional software to be installed by the user.

Two differentiated use cases should be considered: the edition and the displaying of maths formulas.

Displaying accessible math formulas

With WIRIS editor is possible to deliver content with accessible formulas.

Formulas with WIRIS editor are delivered as images using an <img> HTML tag. The way to provide accessibility is adding a proper text to the ALT attribute. Such text is automatically generated at edition time and no human intervention is needed.

The text associated to a formula in the ALT attribute resembles to natural language as much as possible. Thus, all mathematical symbols are also expressed in its textual form. For example, the alternative text of «math xmlns=¨http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML¨»«msqrt»«mi»x«/mi»«/msqrt»«/math»  is “square root of x” and «math xmlns=¨http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML¨»«mfrac»«mn»1«/mn»«mn»2«/mn»«/mfrac»«/math» has alternative text “1 over 2”.

Accessibility using WIRIS editor in Moodle


New in v3.19

Furthermore, images are labeled with the attribute role="math" from the standard WAI-ARIA, and this helps advanced screen readers (like NVDA) to read the formula by their way directly from the MathML.


Alternative text is available in these languages:

Language Original name Code
Arabic العربية  ar (1)
Catalan català ca
Chinese 中文 zh
English english en
French français fr
German Deutsch de
Norwegian bokmal norsk bokmål nb
Norwegian nynorsk norsk nynorsk nn
Portuguese Brazilian português brasileiro pt_br
Spanish español es

Other languages will be implemented in the future. The language is selected from the current language of the web application that uses WIRIS editor. When a new language is added, the alternative texts will be cached automatically, so administrators won't have to change any configuration.

Accessibly editing math formulas

The key features for accessibility of the WIRIS editor user interface are:

  1. Keyboard navigable interface, including shortcuts for tabs.
  2. Shortcuts for the most common icons.
  3. Alternative text for all items of the toolbar. Tested with the most common assistive technologies as screen readers.

In our roadmap for accessibility:

  1. Magnification and high contrast of the toolbar and current formula.
  2. Alternative input text box with the textual representation of a formula. The input text box is a standard web control, so it can be used with many assistive technologies.