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RE: Acrobat PDF & Accessibility

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 09:30:48 -0500 (EST)
To: Jason Megginson <jason@bartsite.com>
cc: "'Ken Reader'" <kreader@attaininc.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0112230923450.23223-100000@tux.w3.org>
Well, I don't have a scientifically tested answer yet, nor one that is any
kind of W3C policy, but based on thinking about this for myself it seems that
there is reasonable access to PDF for people who have brand new hardware and
software of particular brands, and the rest of the world has to rely on the
conversion to HTML producing something sufficiently accessible. This can be
tested - the conversion service is available to the author as well as the
end-reader.

In some cases that might be fine, in some cases it might be easiest to
produce any old PDF version and an HTML version that conforms to WCAG at the
desired level instead of reworking the PDF. This depends on that situation.
But as far as I can tell, if the converted version doesn't meet WCAG
requirements then the PDF version doesn't either, since it requires a plugin
and it is a P1 WCAG requirement that content work without one.

This may not be the case for 508, which has slightly different rules, but I
haven't examined it in sufficient detail to give a technical opinion on the
issue, and I am not a lawyer so I don't recommend relyng on my opinions about
legal issues without checking them with a real lawyer.

Just my two cents worth - entirely personal opinion and I reserve the right
to retract it or not based on more detailed consideration of the issues.

Cheers

Charles

On Fri, 21 Dec 2001, Jason Megginson wrote:

  Hello, All.

  I too agree that making an HTML page is easier and less likely to hinder
  accessibility, but one can make an accessible PDF file easily with the
  Adobe plug-in with Microsoft Word and PageMaker 7.0.  The plug-in adds
  HTML-like tags and the .pdf file can be added to a webpage, maintaining
  the document's appearance for printing for sighted users.  Images and
  tables can be tagged and formatted for alternate text and the flow of
  information can be altered as well.

  Again, I feel that accessible PDFs should be used when it is absolutely
  necessary to maintain the layout of an original document for printing.
  In my opinion, there should be an option for a text only document as
  well as the PDF file.

  Jason Megginson
  Access Technology Specialist
  Bartimaeus Group
  jason@bartsite.com
  www.bartsite.com


  -----Original Message-----
  From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On
  Behalf Of Ken Reader
  Sent: Friday, December 21, 2001 8:50 AM
  To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
  Subject: RE: Acrobat PDF & Accessibility

  I agree with joel.  With all the trouble it takes to make the pdf
  accessible it is just easier to go ahead and put it up in html.

  Ken Reader
  IT Coordinator
  ATTAIN, Inc.
  2346 S. Lynhurst Drive
  STE 507
  Indianapolis, IN 46241
  Telephone (317) 486-8808
  Fax (317) 486-8809


  -----Original Message-----
  From: Joel Ward [mailto:ward_joel@bah.com]
  Sent: Friday, December 21, 2001 8:40 AM
  To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
  Subject: Re: Acrobat PDF & Accessibility


  The rare PDF that includes internal navigation is tolerable, but I have
  never found a PDF that is as easy to read in a browser as a standard
  HTML
  document.  If I want to read the content in full, I will usually print
  the
  PDF.  I've gone through many wasted reams of paper that way.  :-)

  Much like with HTML pages, PDFs can be done well and PDFs can be done
  poorly.  The fault often lies with the document's designer/coder.

  For viewing online, you can make a PDF document work much like a
  standard
  HTML page.  But why bother?  Just make a standard HTML page!


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: "Jon Hanna" <jon@spinsol.com>
  To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
  Sent: Friday, December 21, 2001 8:23 AM
  Subject: RE: Acrobat PDF & Accessibility


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-- 
Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1 617 258 5999
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France)
Received on Sunday, 23 December 2001 09:30:54 GMT

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