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RE: [Fwd: Re: Adobe article on accessibility]

From: Kelly Ford <kford@teleport.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 15:57:07 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: "'maxinew@dogcentral.com'" <maxinew@dogcentral.com>
Just so folks are aware, you can't email the URL of that article to
pdf2txt@adobe.com and get it converted either.  I had to back track to

http://www.adobe.com/publications and then follow links to find the article.

I wish Adobe had the guts to link a converted version of the article to
their text proclaiming Adobe access solutions as this great solution.  The
article is readable but letters are missing all over the place and the
organization is sometimes confusing.

The article also has some points that make absolutely no sense.  It defines
access technology and then states:

For the vision impaired, an increasing portion of 
the Web is composed of sites that can be experienced 
only with access software.

What the heck does this mean?  Is the author contending in the past that I
could just cruise up to any old computer and access the web without a
screen reader or screen enlarger loaded?

As an example of confusing presentation, part of the article reads as follows:

For the vision impaired, an increasing portion of 
the Web is composed of sites that can be experienced 
only with access software. In its early days, HTML 
was used primarily to format text. Sighted and visually 
impaired users who relied on voice-synthesized screen 
readers were on relatively equal footings when it came 

effects, users who depend on audio and text browsers 
can't take in the message you're trying to convey 
unless you provide some alternate form of access. 
So how best to design sites for the blind and visually 

Well one solution is to stay away from, or provide alternatives to, PDF files.

Finally the article doesn't even accurately explain some of the conversion
options for getting text from a PDF file.  It explains the service offered
by the Trace R&D Center where one can email a PDF file to
pdf2txt@sun.trace.wisc.edu as an attachment to a message and get back the
conversion as follows:

Another e-mail option for non-Web-based 
documents comes from Trace Research Center in Wis-consin 
(http:// trace. wisc. edu), which offers a tool that 
attaches a PDF file to e-mail for conversion. 

So is the Trace Center now sending out PDF files and asking people to
convert them?  Obviously not but that's what this makes it sound like.
Further, visiting


doesn't produce any references to the conversion service that I could find.
 I even tried searching on the phrases "convert pdf" and just "pdf".

I'm not saying something negative about Trace.  An author should ensure
that references accurately describe what the author's talking about when
pointing people to them, as well as accurately explaining how the service

Received on Tuesday, 10 August 1999 18:40:54 UTC

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