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Re: Accessing PDFs

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 12:14:24 -0500
To: Aaron Smith <aaron@gwmicro.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <00ac01c27ea5$7a90d190$41e03244@inspiron5000e>

I agree that partial accessibility is a solution but it should be stated
in exactly that way and I guess that is what we are trying to clarify.
Working down here in the trenches, I saw a lot of confusion when window
eyes claims for making pdfs accessible turned out to be confusing and
disheartening to so many people who cannot choose what they use.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Aaron Smith" <aaron@gwmicro.com>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 9:52 AM
Subject: RE: Accessing PDFs

At 08:11 PM 10/26/2002 -0400, Access Systems wrote:
>>I'm confused at how our (or anyone's) support for a product or feature
>>can then be blamed for the rest of the market not doing their part. I
>no only about your "Claiming" that now pdf is accessible, it isn't and
>won't be with existing technology,  for your product to read it it must
>marked up correctly and anyone who hasn't purchased your product can't
>read it at all.

I just opened up Word, typed a couple of lines, converted the document
to a
PDF, loaded the PDF with Window-Eyes and read the lines that I typed
through the 5.1 Reader. That to me is accessible. I also opened up a
document that I received from a customer some time back only to hear a
message telling me that there was no accessible text in the document
though I could visually see it. That to me is  inaccessible. But to stop
there (to make a black and white, blanket statement stating that an
either is accessible or is not accessible) leaves no room for
We didn't launch toward, arrive at, and walk on the moon in one shot. It
took several tests and refinements before we achieved that goal. Step
and take a look at the big picture; having some accessible PDFs and some
inaccessible PDFs is a great stride in goal of making even more

>>providing features for our customers, as well as features to attract
>>customers. Are you saying that if a developer decides to be lazy
>>of a feature that we have added, we are then responsible for that
>>developer's laziness?
>nope, and I'm not trying to stop your development, I wish you the best
>luck, BUT I think your advertising is somewhat, ??? overstated.

Our advertising states, "Support for Adobe Acrobat PDFs." How is that

>>I disagree. I believe that any operating system is going to require
>>upgrading, and conversely, any piece of software (designed to do
>>complicated tasks such as hooking the OS like screen readers do) will
>upgrading software and hardware upgrades do not always go hand in hand,
>nor do upgrades always have to be expensive

Exactly my point. There is always an initial investment of some sort,
then you have upgrades. No one said that upgrades had to be expensive.
past two upgrades of Window-Eyes have been free (one of those upgrades
included fixes to make reading PDFs more stable), and the next upgrade
Window-Eyes will also be free.

>> >??? emacspeak is considerably less than yours
>>Exactly. Yet another choice for consumers. Since emackspeak is a
>>option, a consumer could could weigh the option of a *nix box with
>>emacspeak, or a Windows box with Window-Eyes, or a Windows box with
>>other screen reader, or a Mac with Outspoken. Choices.
>choices but ONLY Window-Eyes on a windoze PC will even partially read
>that is the problem.

That's completely false. Window-Eyes (Std. $595/Pro. $795), JAWS (9X
$895/NT $1195), and HAL (Std. $695/Pro. $1095) all have PDF support.

>heck have the VCR's in the USA are blinking 00:00, but that is another
>  I happen to have a somewhat different perspective on accessibility, I
>don't accept what I can get. "If you take what they give you, you
>what you get"

And if you wait for perfection, you're never going to have anything. My
point in saying that I take what I can get doesn't stop at that. Believe
me. When it comes to accessibility I am very greedy; I want all that I
get and then more. But I also have the intelligence to realize that I
to start with something and grow from that point. "The greatest
masterpieces were once only pigments on a palette." --Henry S. Hoskins

If support for PDFs -- even if you want to call it partial support, or
limited support, or whatever -- is not embraced and challenged in a
constructive manner, then you will NEVER achieve the kind of
you're looking for. There are too many people sitting high and mighty
elitist view exists of how accessibility should be, and not enough
down in the trenches actually working with the individuals who NEED
accessibility, and doing the dirty work to make accessibility what it
should be.

>>Window-Eyes. What would be the point of our company (or any company
>>determined to find a meaningful compromise between making a difference
>>and being profitable) be if all of our trade secrets where available
>>the public? How would we pay the gas bill?
>hmmmm, seems Red Hat isn't doing too badly, and IBM has chosen "open

We are a very small company with one main product which pays the bills.
Hat and IBM have are corporations with multiple ventures spawning
projects spinning out multiple products.

>>Aside from the definition of accessible, I agree. It is an
>>to say that education is the most important key.
>afraid I don't quite get what you are saying here???

Education is important -- that's an understatement.

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To insure that you receive proper support, please include all
past correspondence (where applicable), and any relevant
information pertinent to your situation when submitting a
problem report to the GW Micro Technical Support Team.

Aaron Smith
GW Micro
Phone: 260/489-3671
Fax: 260/489-2608
WWW: http://www.gwmicro.com
FTP: ftp://ftp.gwmicro.com
Technical Support & Web Development
Received on Monday, 28 October 2002 12:15:02 UTC

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