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Ally 2.5.9 | Release to production: March 1, 2023
Identification and scoring of Microsoft Office and LibreOffice Password-protected files
Password-protected Microsoft Office and LibreOffice documents are now identified and scored by Ally. When you upload a password-protected document, Ally will flag it with a 0% score. This will increase the instructor's awareness to update and make the content available to learners without any blockers.
This is a go-forward change that only affects the score of newly added or updated password-protected Office content after this release.
As part of future releases, we will incorporate additional guidance and feedback for these files into the Instructor Feedback.
Translated Version Alternative Format character limit increased
Ally now supports files with up to 60,000 characters when downloading the Translated Version Alternative Format.
Ally 2.5.3 | Release to production: January 18, 2023
On-Demand Section Scanning is now available in Ally for WCM
- WCM administrators can now trigger scans of sections directly from the Ally Institutional report using the new Scan Section button to provide greater flexibility when tracking and fixing content issues.
With this feature, schools can trigger a scan "on demand" in between the normally scheduled scans to check recent content or section updates. Administrators can access this Scan Section button at the section level of the Institutional Report. After clicking Scan Section, the following banner shows up, stating that the scan is in progress. Administrators can cancel the scan at any time. Administrators will be notified through the user interface as soon as the scan is completed. Normally scheduled automated scans will continue to run as intended. For more information, please review the WCM Scan on Demand documentation on the Ally for WCM help page.
If you'd like to provide additional feedback regarding the new Scan on Demand feature for Ally for WCM please fill out this short anonymous survey.
Ally 2.4.4 | Release to production 26 October 2022
Bug fixes and improvements
- The Overview within the Institutional Report displays information from the first month of recorded Ally data, containing out-of-date information. This issue has been fixed.
Ally 2.4.3 | Release to production 19 October 2022
We have made navigation improvements in the Institutional Report graph. As of now, the dropdown button is highlighted when you navigate through the graph using the keyboard:
Ally 2.4.2 | Release to production 12 October 2022
Ally 2.4.2 Bug fixes and improvements
- We have made navigation and style improvements in the Institutional Report graph. Now the information for each period is displayed when you navigate through the graph using the keyboard:
Ally 2.4.1 | Release to production 5 October 2022
Ally 2.4.1 bug fixes and improvements
- An issue accessing the videos displayed in the ally.ac website is now fixed.
Ally 2.1.1 | Release to production 10 March 2022
Ally 2.1.1 bug fixes and improvements
- Added English (New Zealand), English (South African), English (Welsh), and Hindi language support for audio alternative formats.
Ally 2.0.7/2.0.8 | Release to production 11 February 2022
Ally 2.0.7/2.0.8 bug fixes and improvements
- The institutional report graph design has been refreshed to improve readability, accessibility, and responsiveness.
More about the Accessibility Score graph
Ally 2.0.6 | Release to production 3 February 2021
Ally 2.0.6 bug fixes & improvements
- Added Irish (ga), Marathi (mr), Portuguese (Portugal) (pt-PT), and Punjabi (pa) language support for translated alternative formats.
Ally 1.62.8 | Release to production 4 November 2021
Ally 1.62.8 bug fixes & improvements
- Improved performance and language support for audio (MP3) alternative formats.
Ally 1.62.2 | Release to production 22 September 2021
Ally 1.62.2 bug fixes & improvements
- Improved data quality for usage reports, available in the Institution Report for administrators.
This improvement modifies the selectable days in the interface to provide data ending in the 1-2 days previous from the current day, based on your country/region.
Improved academic year titles for institutions whose academic term starts in January and ends in the same year. For example, if an academic term starts on January 1st 2021 and ends the same year, the title will now show: "2021".
Ally 1.59.2 | Release to production 30 April 2021
Unique user download data is now available in the Usage Report
Ally administrators are now able view the total number of unique users downloading alternative formats. This is also available when viewing by week.
Ally 1.59 | Release to production 15 April 2021
Ally 1.59 bug fixes & improvements
- Fixed a bug where in some cases OCRed Alternative formats were downloading with random characters included in the document text.
- Fixed a bug where in some cases the links added to the text in the custom Instructor Feedback Help panel were not showing as hyperlinks.
Ally 1.58 | Release to production 1 April 2021
Ally 1.58 bug fixes & improvements
- Improved the Translated Version alternative format to include the word "translated" in the downloaded filename to distinguish between the Translated Version alternative format and the HTML alternative format. For example, downloading the Spanish Translated Version for a file named Van Gogh.docx will result in Van Gogh - Translated - es.html.
Ally 1.57 | Release to production 24 March 2021
New features, Updated features
Ally 1.57 bug fixes & improvements
- Improved lists and headings detection within Arabic documents to improve the overall quality of the Alternative Formats.
- Fixed an accessibility bug that prevented keyboard navigation to the Remove from Image button when editing and removing alternative text from an image in the Content Editor Feedback.
Ally 1.55.2 | Release to production 4 March 2021
Ally 1.55.2 bug fixes & improvements
- Fixed a bug where the filename was not aligned properly within the Alternative Formats modal window when downloading formats for right-to-left language documents.
Ally 1.55.1 | Release to production 25 February 2021
New features, Updated features
Ally in Hebrew
As part of our continued efforts to support universal design and equitable access around the world, Ally 1.55.1 makes the Ally User Interface available in Hebrew. There is now Hebrew support to the Ally accessibility report, configuration UI, alternative formats modal, and feedback panel, including full right-to-left support for all of these.
The Ally alternative formats are not yet available in Hebrew. This will be made available in a future release.
Ally 1.55.1 bug fixes & improvements
- Fixed a bug where in some cases when default help is enabled, clicking the help link within the Alternative Formats window also submitted the form.
- Fixed a bug where files containing lists were not rendered properly in ePub or Beeline alternative formats for right-to-left language documents.
Ally 1.55 | Release to production 18 February 2021
New features, Updated features
Ally 1.55 bug fixes & improvements
- Improved the ePub alternative format to make ePub titles more consistent by using the title from the original file or the filename of the original file when a title is not available.
- Improved the handling and communication of failures that occur when uploading updated content back through the Instructor Feedback panel.
Ally 1.54.3 | Release to production 11 February 2021
Ally 1.54.3 bug fixes & improvements
- Fixed a bug where page previews and HTML guidance couldn't load when launching the feedback for certain web pages within the Accessibility Report.
- Improved the labeling of form fields within the Request Help function of the Alternative Formats window.
- Fixed a bug where Ally's accessibility check for headings did not account for non-breaking spaces within the document.
Ally 1.54.2 | Release to production 4 February 2021
Ally 1.54.2 bug fixes & improvements
- Fixed an accessibility issue where zooming in on the Feedback panel or using a device with a small display resolution (of 600 px or less) causes the header and footer to hide the content being displayed to the user.
Ally 1.54.1 | Release to production 28 January 2021
New features, Updated features
Links without discernible text
We are continuing to roll out HTML feedback flows to help you improve your webpage content. With this latest release, Ally now provides feedback and guidance for HTML content containing links that do not have discernible or meaningful text which can make navigation confusing and create issues for screen reader users.
For more information about this issue, visit the Links with missing text help page.
Ally 1.54.1 bug fixes & improvements
- Fixed a bug where Ally would incorrectly flag a contrast issue in certain PDF files with Type3 fonts.
- Made an improvement to the Ally for Web Community Manager contrast check to filter out and avoid false positives caused by pseudo elements.
Ally 1.53 | Release to production 13 January 2021
Ally for WCM HTML Heading Structure Feedback & Guidance
The Ally 1.52 release introduced the first set of feedback and guidance information for HTML specific issues found on your pages. Ally 1.53 introduces the next flow for feedback and guidance for pages that do not have an appropriate heading structure and provides additional instruction on how to apply a logical order to headings on the page.
Ally 1.52 | Release to production 4 December 2020
New features, Updated features
Ally for Web Community Manager HTML Feedback and Guidance
The Ally 1.52 release introduces the first set of feedback and guidance information for HTML specific issues found on your webpages. These feedback flows include guidance for webpages that contain text with insufficient contrast and webpages that contain images that are missing a description. This complements the feedback and guidance that was already available for file content such as PDFs, Word documents and PowerPoint documents.
In future releases additional feedback flows will become available to round out the feedback and guidance available for these types of issues.
Translated Version Alternative Format Improvements
The Translated Version alternative format machine translation has been updated behind the scenes to provide a few key improvements. The content will now be downloaded as HTML format for added ease of use. This release also adds support for the following additional languages within the Translated Version alternative format drop down menu:
- French (Canada)
- Spanish (Mexico)
Support for the following languages within the Translated Version alternative format is not available:
- Bosnian (Cyrillic)
- Serbian (Cyrillic)
Ally 1.52 bug fixes and improvements
- Added a warning displayed to an instructor/editor user when trying to upload a file that is too large or multiple files at one time when using the Content Editor Feedback panel.
Ally 1.51 | Release to production 6 November 2020
New features, Updated features
Ally for Web Community Manager web page feedback
As many have seen since last month’s release of the new Broken Link check, the Ally for Web Community Manager feedback component is now also available for web pages (HTML). In the accessibility report, the score indicators for web pages can now be selected to launch the feedback component. Within the feedback component, a list of all identified issues can be found, as well as a preview of the web page with highlights that show where those issues have been identified on the page.
As part of a future release, additional guidance and feedback will be made available for the HTML issues currently highlighted in the page preview. These currently show as “Guidance is Coming Soon”.
Ally 1.50.1 | Release to production 13 October 2020
Ally 1.50.1 bug fixes and improvements
- Fixed a bug where in some cases the HTML alternative format would replace valid initials within bibliography lists with automatic alphabetical lettering upon conversion.
- Continued the reprocessing of older content for the Broken link check added in 1.50 on October 2, 2020.
Ally 1.50 | Release to production 2 October 2020
Broken link checking
The Ally for Web Community Manager accessibility checklist has been expanded to include a new check for broken links (404 errors). Broken links are an important and frequent website accessibility issue, and Ally for Web Community Manager now reports on this as part of the accessibility report. Broken links also contribute to the accessibility score for a web page, and this contribution is dependent on the number of broken links on the page. Ally reports on broken links on the website itself as well as any external links that are broken, and all links are rechecked when the page is updated.
The overall website accessibility score for most schools will drop compared to previous months because of the introduction of this new accessibility check.
As part of this new check, content will be re-processed over the next few days to pull in updated results for any broken links found.
Ally 1.49.2 | Release to production 29 September 2020
Ally 1.49.2 bug fixes and improvements
- Implemented improvements to Ally’s alternative formats to support PDFs /ActualText property for referenced marked content.
This is in addition to already supported /ActualText properties of tags.
- Fixed a bug where in some cases French letters with accents were not converted properly in the ePub, Audio file and BeeLine alternative formats.
Ally 1.49.1 | Release to production 25 September 2020
Ally 1.49.1 bug fixes and improvements
- Implemented improvements to the individual section report CSV exports to show if individual files have issues. Previously, some columns were displaying score results. This update provides further consistency with the other report CSV exports provided by Ally.
Ally 1.49 | Release to production 6 September 2020
New features, Updated features
Arabic alternative formats
With the Ally 1.42 release, the Ally user interface became available in Arabic, including full right-to-left layout support.
Ally 1.49 introduces support for the Ally alternative formats in Arabic as well. This includes availability in Arabic of the Tagged PDF, semantic HTML, Audio, Electronic Braille and BeeLine Reader alternative formats, as well as right-to-left layout support for the machine learning algorithms that drive the generation of these alternative formats.
Ally 1.49 bug fixes and improvements
- Fixed a bug that occasionally caused the usage reports to be empty.
- Fixed a bug in the conversion of complex tables (e.g., table cell that spans multiple columns) in the different alternative formats.
- Implemented several improvements to the accessibility checklist for HTML files and web pages.
- Implemented several improvements to the checking of larger and more complex Word and PowerPoint documents.
- Fixed a bug that caused marking an image as decorative through the instructor feedback to fail.
- Fixed a bug that occasionally caused Tagged PDFs containing lots of large images to be flagged as a scanned document.
- Implemented data encryption at rest for AWS S3 storage.
- Implemented several translation improvements to the Brazilian Portuguese translation.
Ally 1.48 | Release to production 19 August 2020
Ally 1.48 bug fixes and improvements
- Fixed a bug in the audio alternative format that occasionally caused HTML characters to be read out as part of the audio.
- Fixed a bug in the accessibility checklist that prevented PDFs produced using LaTeX Beamer from being scored.
Ally 1.47 | Release to production 10 August 2020
Ally 1.47 bug fixes and improvements
- Improved the feedback and guidance for documents containing tables with missing table headings
Ally 1.46.1 | Release to production 2 July 2020
Ally 1.46.1 bug fixes and improvements
- Implemented several improvements for the rendering of Word and PowerPoint documents as part of the instructor feedback
Ally 1.46 | Release to production 22 June 2020
Image contains text not in the description
Previously, Ally required that text it detected in an image was part of the image’s alternative description. Because not all text in an image is required in the description and because OCR text detection isn’t 100% accurate, Ally 1.46 removes this check from the accessibility score. In a future release, the extracted text will become a description suggestion.
The removal of this accessibility check applies to all new and updated images, and will retroactively be applied to existing images over the next few weeks.
Ally 1.46 bug fixes and improvements
- Fixed a bug that would occasionally cause the incorrect image to be highlighted when showing a document containing images without a description in the instructor feedback.
Ally 1.44.2 | Release to production 4 June 2020
D2L Brightspace integration, Moodle integration, Updated features
Ally 1.44.2 bug fixes and improvements
- Fixed a bug that caused the Library Reference fields to be empty when attempting to edit an existing Library Reference
- Improved the workflow for editing an image description through the Ally instructor feedback
- Prevent Ally from processing .dwg (from drawing) files
Ally 1.44.1 | Release to production 1 June 2020
Audio alternative format
The audio alternative format is now available in Arabic and Icelandic. The voice for the Turkish audio alternative format has also been replaced with a higher quality alternative.
Ally 1.44.1 bug fixes and improvements
- The YouTube caption check has been improved to reflect the full set of permutations provided by the YouTube API
Ally 1.44 | Release to production 15 May 2020
Ally 1.44 bug fixes and improvements
- Fixed a bug that caused the incorrect tab to be selected when returning to the Sections tab in the accessibility report.
- Fixed a bug in the instructor feedback that caused an error when selecting the I need to keep it button for a seizure inducing animation.
Ally 1.42.1 | Release to production 1 May 2020
Ally 1.42.1 bug fixes and improvements
- Added the institution name to the file name for the institutional report CSV export and the usage report export
- Added a more meaningful error message when an audio alternative format can’t be generated because the original document is longer than 100,000 characters
- The usage report export is now supported on older versions of Excel as well
- Fixed a bug in the Accessibility Score overview graph in the institutional report that caused time periods without any associated data to show as a 0% score
Ally 1.42 | Release to production 23 April 2020
New Features, Updated features
Ally in Arabic
As part of our efforts to support universal design and equitable access around the world, Ally 1.42 makes the Ally User Interface available in Arabic. There is now Arabic support to the Ally institutional report, configuration UI, alternative formats modal, instructor feedback and course accessibility report, including full right-to-left support for all of these.
Note that the Ally alternative formats are not yet available in Arabic. This is the team’s next priority, and will be made available in a future release.
Ally 1.42 bug fixes and improvements
- Fixed a bug in the instructor feedback that caused the Help link to overlap with the instructor feedback guidance
- Fixed a bug that would occasionally cause files smaller than 50MB uploaded through the instructor feedback to fail
Ally 1.41.1 | Release to production 17 April 2020
Ally 1.41.1 bug fixes and improvements
- Improved the instructor feedback to better handle the uploading of a content type that’s different from the original content type.
- Improved the wording of the success and failure messages that are shown when uploading a new content item through the instructor feedback.
- Fixed a bug in the institutional report that caused the comparison between the current time period and the previous time period to be incorrect.
- Fixed a validation bug in the date picker for the Usage Reports.
Ally 1.41 | Release to production 6 April 2020
New Features, Updated features
PDFs without title
A full new feedback flow for instructors and editors has been added for PDFs that don’t have a title. This flow contains documentation on what this means, why this is important, and detailed step-by-step guidance on how to add a PDF title.
Generate tagged PDFs
The feedback guidance for instructors and editors on how to generate a tagged PDF from a Microsoft Office Word and PowerPoint document has been updated to reflect the latest changes in Microsoft Office 365. Several screenshots to help visualize the different steps have been added as well.
BeeLine Reader night mode
The BeeLine Reader alternative format has been extended to offer an additional “Night Mode” view with a corresponding color gradient. This night mode can help reduce eye strain in low light conditions, can reduce screen glare while outside and can help save energy for mobile devices.
Ally 1.41 bug fixes and improvements
- Fixed a bug that would cause the instructor feedback Print View to occasionally be empty.
- Improved the speed at which alternative formats are generated.
Ally 1.40 | Release to production 27 March 2020
New Features, Updated features
BeeLine Reader alternative format
The BeeLine Reader alternative format is aimed at making on-screen reading faster and easier. To achieve this, it uses an eye-guiding color gradient to help pull the reader’s eyes from one line to the next, and reported benefits include increased reading speed and enhanced focus. The tool can benefit students with dyslexia, ADHD and low vision, as well as providing a better on-screen reading experience for all students.
Several institutions have been piloting this new alternative format over the last few months, and based on the extremely positive feedback we’re now making this alternative format available for all. The BeeLine Reader alternative format is available as part of your Ally license at no additional cost, and is now enabled by default.
The BeeLine Reader alternative format is also available in the Ally Feature Flag configuration, allowing for the format to easily be enabled / disabled if necessary.
More information on BeeLine Reader
Thanks so much to the institutions that have participated in the pilot!
Due to COVID-19, we have been seeing a significant increase in Ally usage and a large number of institutions adopting Ally as part of their move to fully online. The team’s primary consideration remains making sure that we provide a seamless service, and a lot of work is being done behind the scenes to ensure that all components are scaled up / out as required and to create additional onboarding capacity.
The Usage Reports for the Ally for WCM integration have been updated to use WCM-specific vocabulary such as “Section”.
Ally 1.40 bug fixes and improvements
- Implemented support for PPSX (PowerPoint Slideshow) files.
- Improved the accessibility of the tabs in the institutional report to allow them to be selected using the arrow keys.
Ally 1.39.2 | Release to production 4 March 2020
Ally 1.39.2 bug fixes and improvements
- Fixed a bug that would occasionally cause the Accessibility score chart in the institutional accessibility report to not load correctly due to a race condition in loading the Ally UI assets.
Ally 1.39.3 | Release to production 4 March 2020
The team has been taking several pre-emptive infrastructure measures to help prepare for significantly increased traffic as a growing number of schools move to fully online courses. We will continue to monitor closely and take any additional steps required to ensure a seamless service.
Ally 1.39.3 bug fixes and improvements
- Fixed a bug that prevented the BeeLine Reader alternative format from rendering correctly on some mobile devices.
- Improved the “Is this PDF tagged” accessibility check by excluding PDFs that only contain empty tags.
- Fixed a bug that caused an unexpected animation when hovering over the accessibility score in the instructor feedback.
- Fixed an accessibility score rounding error in the institutional accessibility report.
Ally 1.39.1 | Release to production 2 March 2020
Electronic Braille Configuration
The Braille code used for a particular language can now be configured at the institutional level. For example, this means that the Braille code used for English can be mapped to either Unified English Braille contracted (grade 2) or uncontracted (grade 1).
Electronic Braille configuration changes can be requested through a Behind The Blackboard support ticket.
Ally 1.39.1 bug fixes and improvements
- The Translated Version alternative format for the Ally for WCM and Ally for Websites integrations now opens immediately in the browser instead of being downloaded.
- Fixed a bug that would occasionally cause the Tagged PDF alternative format to be downloaded using the wrong mime type.
Ally 1.38.2 | Release to production 7 February 2020
Ally 1.38.2 bug fixes and improvements
- Fixed a bug that would occasionally cause the x-axis labels in the Accessibility Score graph in the institutional report to overlap.
Ally 1.38.1 | Release to production 1 February 2020
Ally 1.38.1 bug fixes and improvements
- Updated the institutional report to show accessibility scores to the 1st decimal place.
- Fixed a bug that occasionally caused the institutional report CSV export to contain future dates.
- Fixed a bug that would occasionally prevent the correct language from being detected in Norwegian documents. This would also cause the audio to be read in English instead of Norwegian.
- Fixed a bug that prevented image descriptions consisting of a URL followed by text from being considered a valid image description.
- Improved the display of the Library Reference in the alternative formats modal.