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RE: PDF Alternatives?

From: Dave J Woolley <DJW@bts.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2000 11:57:05 +0100
Message-ID: <81E4A2BC03CED111845100104B62AFB58248B7@stagecoach.bts.co.uk>
To: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> From:	Waddell, Cynthia [SMTP:cynthia.waddell@ci.sj.ca.us]
> 
> It is not necessarily true that a person who is blind or has low vision
> would require assistance in completing a form.  If you noted the Section
> 508
> proposed rule, an online form designed to be accessible would enable
> someone
> using a screenreader to fill out the form.
> 
	[DJW:]  I don't see that this is particular 
	incompatible with PDF.  In fact PDF text is
	more likely to be real text than the text
	on typical commercial web pages.  The only real
	problem with the text in PDF files is it is
	often produced by word processors that think
	they can do a better job of spacing characters
	than PostScript can do.  That means that you
	normally get individually placed characters,
	rather than whole words with a horzontal stretch 
	factor, as allowed by the PDF primitives.  This 
	can confuse tools that try to extract words from the  
	text (I predict that the same problem will happen 
	with SVG if, as I suspect, people use it for whole 
	pages, not just graphics).

	(It seems to me that there is a place for tools to
	help marginally reformat PDF to take out the detailed
	microspacing and replace it by stretch factors.  It's 
	possible they are already in the commercial Acrobat 
	toolset.)

	PDF does have a fill the forms facility, even in
	the version before last of Acrobat, and you can 
	print the result.  This is not an ideal example 
	from a size or accessibility point of view, but
	it does demonstrate the feature - it needs the 
	latest Acrobat reader:
http://planetary.org/UPDATES/seti/seti@home_certificate1.pdf
	(please destroy any printout if you are not a 
	participant!).

	Once you impose a constraint that the layout should
	exactly match that of the printed form, I think PDF
	becomes the format of choice.
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Received on Wednesday, 2 August 2000 06:56:54 GMT

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