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Re: Fw: Acrobat 4.0 And PDF Accessibility

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 11:46:23 -0400 (EDT)
To: Paul Stauffer 301-827-5694 FAX 301-443-6385 <STAUFFERP@cder.fda.gov>
cc: w3c-wai-ig-request <w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org>, IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.9906011139380.21897-100000@tux.w3.org>
The major problem with PDF is that it is difficult to know by inspection
whether it is accessible. PDF conversion can be done by taking text
and putting it into PDF, which has some hooks to get it out again (for
example by sending it to the pdf2html converter that Adobe have). 

The other option is to convert text into an image, and include the image in
the PDF. (This is one of the ways MS Publisher does HTML pages too.) This
causes a complete failure of accessibility, unless people run everything
through OCR software, a (yet-to-be-developed) program to generate structural
relationships from visual cues, and then reads it.

Saving to bad HTML (which most word-processors can do) is better for
accessibility, in part because PDF readers are not as widely available as
HTML browsers.

Just my 2c worth. I too am interested in the discussion.

Charles McCN

On Tue, 1 Jun 1999, Paul Stauffer 301-827-5694 FAX 301-443-6385 wrote:

  I'm looking forward to a discussion on this matter.  In the Food and
  Drug Administration, we have used Acrobat to put material online in a
  timely manner.  It takes much more time to put an HTML version.  HTML is
  our preferred format, but due to limited staffing and huge workloads, we
  use Acrobat as a first posting.  When we get the time, we use HTML.  For
  smaller and less complicated documents, we use HTML from the start.
  
  Can any of the screen readers read PDF docs?
  
  Paul Stauffer
  CDER Webmaster
  staufferp@cder.fda.gov
Received on Tuesday, 1 June 1999 11:46:29 GMT

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