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[Irl-dean] Accessibility of PDF Format Resources?

Joshue O Connor joshue.oconnor at ncbi.ie
Mon Nov 20 16:00:30 GMT 2006


> From a document preparation perspective, the big advantage of the PDF bookmark
> mechanism is that it is generated automatically
> in an accessible PDF version, whereas I believe that in a a HTML version, someone must
> manually create a set of links into each heading in the report. 

Thanks for that Eoin.

> The NCBI site itself has documents I would like to download and read offline,
> such as the News Magazine at
> http://www.ncbi.ie/news/ncbi-news-magazine/ncbi-news-march-april-2006
> - I cannot download a copy of the newsletter to read offline,
> - I cannot search a particular issue,
> - I cannot navigate between articles in the same issue.
> - I cannot conveniently print a copy of an issue. 

I know. We are actually looking at using accessible PDFs for download
next year (and I'm not just saying this because of your comments here,
really). NCBI have the same organisational challenges to creating
accessible content as everyone else, we just have the mad skills in house :)

Josh

Eoin Campbell wrote:
> Joshue O Connor wrote:
>> - Easier navigation: a  PDF document is much easier to navigate  
>> For whom? What about legacy screen reader users? Or people with
>> cognitive disabilities who could have great difficulty getting to grips
>> with the PDF bookmark mechanism? How is this an advantage over
>> accessible HTML?
>>   
> I personally find it easier to navigate long reports if I have a PDF
> version which includes
> bookmarks. I assume that other people with appropriate technology and
> skills do also.
> The functionality of the PDF bookmark mechanism is also much better than
> anything but a very
> sophisticated HTML menu, as the bookmarks are always visible, regardless
> of how far down a
> document I scroll, and I can collapse and expand the bookmarks whereever
> I want.
> 
> From a document preparation perspective, the big advantage of the PDF
> bookmark
> mechanism is that it is generated automatically
> in an accessible PDF version, whereas I believe that in a a HTML
> version, someone must
> manually create a set of links into each heading in the report.
> 
> Also, in many cases, website policy prevents a standard default
> site-wide left-hand navigation
> from being replaced with a document-specific internal navigation, so
> finding a space for
> such a menu is not easy.
> 
> 
> 
> 
>>> - Easier searching: it is much easier to search a PDF document for a
>>> particular term and get
>>>   a set of results limited to the document itself. If a long report
>>> is a single HTML page, browsers
>>>   offer a limited in-page search. If it is split into multiple pages,
>>> it is difficult to limit the search to
>>>   a particular document.     
>>
>> A search mechanism in an indexed website can allow the user to choose if
>> they search the page or the entire site so how does PDF offer an
>> advantage? How is it faster or easier to use?
>>   
> Some sophisticated sites might offer this feature, but I have not come
> across them.
> The NCBI site itself has documents I would like to download and read
> offline,
> such as the News Magazine at
> http://www.ncbi.ie/news/ncbi-news-magazine/ncbi-news-march-april-2006
> - I cannot download a copy of the newsletter to read offline,
> - I cannot search a particular issue,
> - I cannot navigate between articles in the same issue.
> - I cannot conveniently print a copy of an issue.
> 
> To me, a perfect example of all the limitations of the
> "HTML good, PDF bad" philosophy.
> 


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