When the materials for this program were created, the braille that you see displayed were created by using a variety of computer tools (mostly Duxbury) to create "simulated braille", displayable on the computer screen. Once created, the BRL staff took "snapshots" of these simulated braille displays and created Web-ready graphics files. When you see some simulated braille on the screen, you are actually seeing a picture of the simulated braille. There are several disadvantages to the use of these graphics:
- the graphics require a large amount of storage space on various computers
- the graphics require lengthy "load times", meaning you have to wait while the graphics are downloaded to your computer over a phone line or over a network
- it is difficult for the BRL staff to fix errors when found by staff or students
- the graphics are not accessible to those using adaptive technologies (refreshable braille displays, speech synthesizers, etc.)
The technology now exists to deliver a simulated braille font to your computer. The BRL staff can then write the code for the BRL instructional pages in such a way as to use the font installed on your machine to display the simulated braille. The advantages of this method are the complete opposite of the disadvantages described above. There is only one disadvantage to the use of this method: you, the user must download and install the simulated braille font to your machine.
Fortunately, this is relatively simple. For Macintosh users, you can download the file, with an instruction file, by clicking on this link:
The file is archived using the "StuffIt" program for the Macintosh. If you have your browser configured correctly, your file should automatically install. If not, you will need to "expand" it with the appropriate expander:
For Windows users, the process is as follows. There is a great descriptive "how to" guide for installing fonts for Windows95 that you should read first:
- Download the TrueType font from the Shodor Education Foundation. When you download the file, it is best to save it to the Desktop (c:\Windows\Desktop). If you are having trouble with this download, try downloading it from Duxbury Systems.
- From the Start menu, go to "Settings"
- From "Settings", slide over to the "Control Panel"
- From the Control Panel, double click on the folder "Fonts"
- Under the menu bar labeled "File", click on "Install New Font"
- Locate the SIMBRL.TTF file. It should be on your desktop.
- Select the SIMBRL.TTF file by clicking on it once. Click on "OK" to install it.
- Test your installation by reloading this page. The text at the bottom of the page should appear in simulated braille
We are in the process (January 2000) of working to remove all of the graphics-based simulated braille, replacing those graphics with font-based displays. This is a fairly time-consuming and tedious process, but we hope to have all of the graphics removed and replaced by late spring 2000. As files are complete, they will be placed onto the BRL Web server machine for immediate use.
Once you have loaded your font, you should test it. The text below should appear in simulated braille. If it does not, you have not installed your font correctly. Contact us at BRL Tech Support, and we will try to provide assistance:
This text is written in grade one simulated braille