'

[Irl-dean] Accessibility of PDF Format Resources?

Joshue O Connor joshue.oconnor at ncbi.ie
Thu Nov 23 20:56:28 GMT 2006


Hi Barry,

>> [...]  but
>> > PDF has a disadvantage over HTML in that the tagging of the document
>> > *must* be rigorously checked to ensure that it is correct.
> 
> Could you elaborate on this a little?  I'm not sure I understand
> how PDF has any stronger requirement here than HTML?

Of course. This comment is in response to my experience of using Acrobat
Pro to create PDF files. When you are preparing to tag a PDF you open
the file within Acrobat and go to Advanced>Accessibility>Add tags to
Document menu. What Acrobat does is then apply what it thinks are the
appropriate tags to the doc. So if it think that a large heading is just
that, it will tag it as a heading.  a block of text as a paragraph etc.
The point I am making is that it doesn't always get it right - so the
automation of the process of creating accessible PDF files is not
perfect, and nor should we expect it to be. You can then go to 'Touch up
reading order' (in the same menu) and you will have the option of
'fixing' these automated errors (or approximations). The process is
quite easy but may require detailed scrutiny, depending on the
complexity of the document.

>>> [...] It would be a good idea to get all our duckys in a row on
>>> this one and maybe through a group like Irl Dean promote a
>>> recommendation?
>> 
>> Yep, that would be great; but I would be a little cautious in one
>> respect.  While it is good and useful that, here on the mailing
>> list, we have open discussion of experiences with particular
>> vendor products, I would have a real problem with any kind of
>> formal "recommendation" that mentioned particular products or
>> vendors. 

I agree. However, PDFs are here to stay, and I think with a little
effort on the part of public sector agencies in Ireland they can easily
turn around the situation from  being *disastrous* ( emphasis mine, in
terms of PDFs negative impact on people with disabilities, I don't have
figures just anecdotal evidence) to a sea change and positive step
forward. I suppose we should try to tread the thin line between being
seen to *endorse* a product and acknowledging its ubiquity and trying to
take a practical stance to improving its use. I have no intention of
becoming a poster boy for Adobe!

> (Indeed, I have *very* severe reservations about the
>>> widespread practice, in the Irish public sector and elsewhere, of
>>> providing free advertising, and therefore implied endorsement,
>>> for just one particular product and vendor in relation to PDF
>>> reader technology...)

I agree, but there is a bit of a disconnect here in that the tools and
products that are used by the public sector are often very vendor
specific. I would love to see a mass abandonment of Microsoft products
(for example) to open source apps like Open Office. I think there is a
need to re-assess the products etc that are used in the public sector
and effort made to seek alternatives. The use of expensive proprietary
products when cheaper, better or even free alternatives exist has always
amazed me. Use of open source database solutions like PHP and MySQL
would suit the needs of many rather than .NET et al, anyway I am getting
on my hobby horse...

Josh





Barry McMullin wrote:
> Hi Josh -
> 
> On Wed, 22 Nov 2006, Joshue O Connor wrote:
> 
>> [...]  but
>> PDF has a disadvantage over HTML in that the tagging of the document
>> *must* be rigorously checked to ensure that it is correct.
> 
> Could you elaborate on this a little?  I'm not sure I understand
> how PDF has any stronger requirement here than HTML?
> 
>> [...] in terms of the message given to the public sector I have
>> to strongly suggest that we sing from the same hymn sheet on
>> this one and the first line of that should be, 'Offer both and
>> accessible PDF and accessible HTML'. Lets not worry about the
>> _how_ of this one yet but I would suggest sticking to this as a
>> principle.
> 
> You've got my vote <wink>.
> 
>> [...] It would be a good idea to get all our duckys in a row on
>> this one and maybe through a group like Irl Dean promote a
>> recommendation?
> 
> Yep, that would be great; but I would be a little cautious in one
> respect.  While it is good and useful that, here on the mailing
> list, we have open discussion of experiences with particular
> vendor products, I would have a real problem with any kind of
> formal "recommendation" that mentioned particular products or
> vendors. (Indeed, I have *very* severe reservations about the
> widespread practice, in the Irish public sector and elsewhere, of
> providing free advertising, and therefore implied endorsement,
> for just one particular product and vendor in relation to PDF
> reader technology...)
> 
> Best - Barry.
> 
> _______________________________________________
> Irl-dean mailing list
> Irl-dean at list.eeng.dcu.ie
> http://list.eeng.dcu.ie/mailman/listinfo/irl-dean
> 
> 


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