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Re: Acrobat PDF & Accessibility

From: Carol Foster <c.foster@umassp.edu>
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2001 16:35:52 -0500
Message-ID: <3C2259B8.48F2EED8@umassp.edu>
To: William R Williams/R5/USDAFS <wrwilliams@fs.fed.us>
CC: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
I agree with Jakob Nielsen, though some people really like PDF's.  I tend to
get annoyed when I click on a link and a PDF suddenly starts slowly appearing
without warning.

I believe to meet WAI priority 1 checkpoints, an HTML version is required.  The
new more accessible PDF's that can be created with Adobe 5.0 and the Make
Accessible Plugin are definitely an improvement over the old ones for screen
readers, and if I understand this correctly, I believe that they alone will
satisfy Section 508 without an alternative, though an HTML version is still

As a web developer, I'm afraid that those of us who want to make our sites as
accessible as possible are now in the position of not only having to create an
HTML version, which can be easy or very time consuming (depending on what we
have to start with), but also to make sure the PDF is itself accessible, which
can also be easy or very time consuming, depending on how the PDF was created,
what hardware and software one has, and how well one knows the new PDF tagging
language and update facilities.


William R Williams/R5/USDAFS wrote:

> Hello,
> It's been debated often, I suspect; yet, if my experience means anything,
> much disagreement exists about the "true" accessibility of pdfs on the web.
> Certainly, Adobe has promoted the application and worked diligently to make
> them accessible, but others - such as Jakob Nielsen - suggest avoiding pdfs
> for on-screen delivery.
> I know there are definite usability issues, but how does this group stand
> on the accessibility of PDFs?
> Thanks!
> ======================
> Bill Williams
> Communication Technician
> USDA Forest Service, Region 5
> 707.562.9005
> wrwilliams@fs.fed.us
> ======================

Carol Foster, Web Developer
University of Massachusetts, President's Office
Received on Thursday, 20 December 2001 16:34:22 UTC

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