Introduction to Data Science for Screen Reader Users

Introduction to Audio Graph with Desmos

What is an Audio Graph?

You might be wondering, what is an audio graph? It refers to a method of representing the shape of a graph using sound. By utilizing audio graphs, you can understand the form of a graph not only visually but also through auditory perception.

Experience an Audio Graph

Let’s experience an audio graph right away using a free web service called Desmos, which is also used in school classrooms. Access to Desmos.

Audio Graph of a Quadratic Function

On the screen, you will find a form titled “Expression 1: Edit.” Here, you can input the equation you want to graph. Let’s try entering “y=x^2” as an example. As a result, you will see a graph in the shape of a downward-facing U.

To confirm this graph using audio, press the alt+t keys. This will enable the text-to-speech mode. When you press the left and right arrow keys, the value of x will change, and you will hear the corresponding value of y as a pitch. Try to observe that the pitch becomes higher as you move further away from the center. Additionally, pressing the h key will automatically play the audio from the smaller x values to the larger ones.

Audio Graph of an Inverse Proportional Relationship

Next, let’s try another graph. Press the backspace key to delete “y=x^2,” and enter “y=-x” instead. This represents an inverse proportional graph. Enable the text-to-speech mode and use audio to understand the shape of the graph.

The Gateway to Data Science

Try experimenting with various equations you are familiar with and grasp the sense of understanding graphs through audio. Desmos has many other features, so press the ctrl+/ keys to access the help menu and explore different functionalities.

As you experienced, understanding audio graphs is equivalent to understanding the characteristics of the data generated by those functions. However, real-world data is often more complex and cannot be expressed by simple functions. Nevertheless, the skill of understanding function characteristics through audio is a crucial first step in understanding data properties. It is an essential step for getting started in data science.

Getting accustomed to this new sense may be challenging, but to take that first step into a new world, I encourage you to learn and master this skill.