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Re: washingtonpost.com 'Talking' Tax Forms For Blind Developed.htm

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 09:08:15 -0400 (EDT)
To: Joel Ward <ward_joel@bah.com>
cc: wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0208300900340.26210-100000@tux.w3.org>

Quite often people processing forms that are normally filled out by hand
appreciate having a consistent visual layout - this won't be the case
normally for HTML forms printed off the Web, at least as long as people use
the older generations of browsers in large numbers. Quite often what happens
is that the forms are scanned into an electronic form, and this is already
difficult without having to deal with varying layouts.

Of course if the form is filled in online then it can be printed or not by
the organisation in any way they like.

The benefit of HTML forms is that doing what is claimed here as a potential
world first for PDF (it may well be) has been possible in HTML for years, and
works on a wide variety of platforms. (The article doesn't say whether you
are going to be forced to buy particular computer systems to take advantage
of this new service).  The drawback has been inconsistent printing - with
real print stylesheets implementation that is going away, but there is no
doubt that PDF was ahead in this respect.

So the big question is whether the information is being managed on paper or
electronically - for the former PDF has the edge, for the latter HTML does.
And as far as I know most Americans still fill out their tax treturns on
paper, so I would expect that to be the logic the Tax office is using.

(Besides, $1 million in research and development spending creates jobs and
expertise for the people working on it. Having more people and companies
understanding some of the issues involved in accessibility is generally a
good thing, in my opinion...).

Cheers

Chaals

On Fri, 30 Aug 2002, Joel Ward wrote:

>
>I think this is great, sort of.  But PDF forms seem like overkill.  How are
>the PDF forms better than standard HTML forms for this kind of application?
>
>I guess one upside is that they can be filled out offline.  But if they are
>meant to be filled online, why not just have a standard web page?
>
>I'm sure there's more to the story than that one article, though, including
>the reason they needed to make the forms PDFs.  Anyone know why?
>

-- 
Charles McCathieNevile  http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  tel: +61 409 134 136
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Received on Friday, 30 August 2002 09:08:15 GMT

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