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Re: Accessible PDFs?

From: Steven McCaffrey <smccaffr@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
Date: Mon, 02 Dec 2002 08:40:52 -0500
Message-Id: <sdeb1ca5.097@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
To: <poehlman1@comcast.net>, <Julian.Scarlett@sheffield.gov.uk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Hi All:

I concur completely with David's statement here.
Thanks, Dave, for the most concise clear, accurate,  statement I've seen so far.

I can't speak for all who agree with this statement, but I will say that for me, my acceptance of this statement should not be taken to mean I think that work on making PDFs accessible in a wider number of circumstances should not be done.  By all means, continue work on making PDFs more widely accessible.
I don't think anyone here is arguing that work in this area should cease.
If you are a developer of web content and want to reach the widest possible audience, and you want to choose one and only one format, PDF is what you should not choose.
Now, if having the widest possible access is not your goal then, of course, this won't matter.
If you do want the widest possible audience, then either
1. Choose a format that can be accessed by the largest number of people, or
2. Choose a set of formats F1,F2,... such that the sum of the people who can access F1 + the sum of the people who can access F2 + ... is the largest possible.
If PDF is one of those formats, by all means, include files of that format as one of the multiple formats you use.
The only requirement is that the resulting information conveyed  by each 
of the documents in the different formats must be equivalent.
That is, all users should have access to equivalent information and/or services

I happen to be one who believes that the widest possible access should be a goal.


Senior Programmer/Analyst
New York State Department of Education

>>> David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net> 12/02/02 06:55AM >>>

It will be several years if at all before we can say that pdf is
accessible.  Yes, It is correct to say that There are some circumstances
where in it is possible to provide access to and accessible pdf
documents but those are few in the world and we already have a ton of
formats that are better suited for accessibility.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Scarlett Julian (ED)" <Julian.Scarlett@sheffield.gov.uk>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Monday, December 02, 2002 3:33 AM
Subject: RE: Accessible PDFs?


that's a less than useful answer in that it doesn't really give a true
picture of the situation. Yes, it's true that AT cannot read pdf
created using Acrobat 4 but (correct me if I'm wrong) it *is* possible
version 5 to produce documents that are accessible if the creator knows
they're doing. We are now in a situation where pdf holds similar ground
html in that unless the developer knows what they're doing the resulting
documents will be inaccessible to some extent. Given that people will
continue to use pdf shouldn't we be giving a more upbeat message about
to create accessible versions otherwise we're going to be stuck with
documents that theoretically can be made accessible but aren't because
creators don't know that it can be done. This is an *interest* group and
my mind that means exploring possibilities and trying to produce
Or am I yet another who has seriously misjudged the remit of the list?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Access Systems [mailto:accessys@smart.net] 
> Sent: Monday, December 02, 2002 1:11 AM
> To: Matthew Smith
> Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org 
> Subject: Re: Accessible PDFs?
> On Mon, 2 Dec 2002, Matthew Smith wrote:
> nope, rarely, hardly ever
> Bob
> > Can anyone tell me if Assitive Technologies are able to read PDF
> > documents?  More and more "offline" content is being held
> on web sites
> > in this format, so it would be nice to think that it is actually
> > accessible...
> >
> > Cheers
> >
> > M
> >
> >
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Received on Monday, 2 December 2002 08:42:17 UTC

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