People from Mathstodon: if you want to share your maths with people from other instances, keep in mind that LaTeX rendering is only available on a browser, and for people also on mathstodon.

If you still want to write formulas, mathstodon can be used to export LaTeX to unicode, like \sum to ∑, \prod to ∏, and so on.

Just click on the Tab key and if your equation can be rendered using unicode it will be transformed.

Example: ϕ(x)=∑ₖⁿ xᵏ

It's not perfect, but you can see it on a phone app!

@erou interesting! @christianp, is this part of your maths writing thing?

To some extent, I understand the desire to see not-code elsewhere, but kinda what's the point of having LaTeX enabled here if not to use it?

I'm wondering about it in terms of accessibility. MathJax gives you accessibility stuff - how does this compare?


The accessibility question is a good one; I'd be happy if someone compares them.

As for the "what's the point?" question, one answer is that the latex implementation here is what makes the unicode translation possible!

It addition to being viewable in the phone app, unicode is also viewable by people on other instances that don't have mathjax enabled.

@erou @christianp

@peterrowlett @christianp

I also think that Unicode is not suited for very complicated equations, so LaTeX is very useful in that case. On the contrary, for simple equations, I think that it is better to have something in Unicode that everyone can see.

And in-between, there is probably a tradeoff between accessible equations and readability.

But I didn't know about the accessibility question!

@erou @nilesjohnson @peterrowlett yes, this is my code too.
MathJax uses Volker Sorge's speech rule engine to come up with reasonable sentences describing maths, making a guess at the semantics. I guess that for unicode, a screen reader would just read out the official name of each character

@erou @nilesjohnson @peterrowlett but for non-screenreader users, unicode is possible more accessible by being normal text. It's certainly more accessible to people on other instances or using apps to view toots!

@christianp @erou @nilesjohnson thanks, that’s what I suspected but from a much more informed position than mine. It’s always been a problem for mathsy people that rendering maths isn’t mainstream enough to be default in web tech.

@christianp @erou @nilesjohnson @peterrowlett to add some depth: screenreaders tend to ignore uncommon unicode characters by default.

For the expression at the top of the thread, the default settings give me:

JAWS: "open paren x close paren equals n-ary summation n x"

NVDA: "x equals n-ary summation superscript n x"

(Yes, users can change their settings but that's unlikely if they don't have a strong interest.)

@christianp @erou @nilesjohnson @peterrowlett
For non-screenreaders it's probably worse. Most "read aloud" tools (some dyslexic people use them), tend to use whatever speech synthesis comes from the browser with no settings whatsoever.

E.g., in Chrome the unicode string gives me "phi x equals to to the power of n x".

@christianp @erou @nilesjohnson @peterrowlett looks like you didn't spend the last 7-10 years focused on this space - your sanity thanks you 😆

@ColinTheMathmo Unicode can be good, but a lot of blind people into math have just learened to read LaTex so those folks are fine with it.

@erou I think at this point I can render LaTeX in my head :-D

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