[Irl-dean] Adobe PDF Accessibility

Joshue O Connor joshue.oconnor at ncbi.ie
Thu Nov 16 13:55:45 GMT 2006

HI Rahim,

In terms of the accessibility of the PDF documents, even fully tagged
PDF's (meaning structured and 'marked up') are only accessible to the
latest version of JAWS (as of version 7), I am not sure of Window Eyes
or HAL. So those using older versions of JAWS will still find even the
most accessible PDF, inaccessible. WebAIM [1] have some good information
that you may find useful. I haven't tested the accessibility of the
Acrobat application itself but I would be interested in hearing your
thoughts on how you find it to use.

Alternatives to PDF are structured accessible HTML files, still the
format of choice.

Adobe are doing a lot of good work but I feel that they have a way to go
before they can shake off the very bad image that PDF has and win back
the blind and visually impaired community. Most blind users have had
such bad experiences with PDF many won't even believe that they can be
made accessible, which they can, or at least more accessible.

The skills gap still causes the same problems, and these problems are
not due to any fault in the technology itself. To clarify, we need
authors who are skilled in the creation of accessible content in all
formats (PDF, Word, HTML etc) to apply those skills as they create
documents within any organisation. Its not enough to only have the
application (Acrobat Pro etc) that can create accessible PDF's, we need
people who know 'how to'. There is a need for an organisational/policy
approach to this issue, especially for larger and well resourced
agencies. For example, if (where resources allow)  there was within an
organisation a policy whereby all content authors were trained in the
creation of structured and accessible content this would have a double
edged benefit:

1. The creation of an accessible document management system where there
is the possibility of a 'structure once and publish to multiple
platforms' scenario.

2. A policy of default enabled accessibility.

As a by-product this approach would maybe help 'future proof' documents
for whatever technological advances that will be made in the field of
accessible document management.

[1] http://www.webaim.org/techniques/acrobat/

I know this is a little off thread from your original post Rahim, but
this stuff has been on my mind so I thought I'd share :)


Rahim Nazarali wrote:
> Hi all I just have a question about adobi acrobat and JAWS, at the moment I am using version 7 with JAWS and Adobi professional version6, before I was using version 7 of JAWS I had version 6 of JAWS which worked quiet well with adobi professional, would anyone have any suggestions as to how JAWS version could work with adobi professional version six or even any aulturnitives when reading Adobi documents with JAWS.
> Many thanks.
> Rahim
> Rahim Nazarali
> Employer Liaison Officer
> Central Remedial Clinic
> Vernon Avenue,
> Clontarf
> Dublin 3
> +353 -86 6390652
> rnazarali at crc.ie
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