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RE: Acrobat PDF & Accessibility

From: Access Systems <accessys@smart.net>
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2001 22:51:18 -0500 (EST)
To: George Kerscher <kerscher@montana.com>
cc: WAI List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0112202244410.4534-100000@smarty.smart.net>
On Thu, 20 Dec 2001, George Kerscher wrote:

> PDF, as I understand it, is a specification controlled by Adobe. Microsoft
> Word is a file specification that is controlled by Microsoft. Many companies
> have file specifications for their proprietary applications. Even if these
> are published, they are not developed or maintained in the same way as
> standards setting bodies, such as the W3C, maintain and develop
> recommendations.

another reason I use and support open software.

> There is a process within the W3C where recommendations are reviewed for
> accessibility, but I do not know that file specifications of proprietary
> specifications are ever reviewed for similar accessibility concerns.

do they even have the man power to do it if they were given the

> I believe that access to PDF is provided by converting the PDF into
> something else, like HTML. This may be explicit, as in the conversion filter
> that Adobe graciously provides, or it may take place in memory of an
> adaptive piece of software. In either case, the PDF is not natively
> accessible, but the conversion that takes place *may* make the document
> accessible.

one thing that may be helpful, the Section 508 rules are causing great
consternation among many gov offices as many many of thier documents are
on the web as pdf maybe some coders will see $$$ and start working on this

> In my limited knowledge of PDF, many documents can be converted
> successfully. Others fail miserably. The use of Marked PDF is a good attempt

as more of a user than a maker of code and software I understand what
works but not always how it works

> with disabilities. I also congratulate those providers of Access
> Technologies for making Microsoft Word and other types of applications

the easiest way to make Word accessible is to output it as "Text" or ASCII
and send it "included" in the body of the message


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Received on Thursday, 20 December 2001 22:31:30 UTC

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