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RE: Jakob Nielsen Column -- PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption

From: George Kerscher <kerscher@montana.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2003 12:01:38 -0600
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000c01c369a0$9b58d580$0200000a@IBM>

Dear All,

There are multiple issues with PDF that have been stated over and over
again. While I applaud the efforts to make PDF accessible, there are
problems that are extremely difficult to overcome.

1. Many times images are used in the PDF to present textual content. This is
not rendered to the end user who is blind, and so we are missing that
information. This is not acceptable.
2. The order of reading is extremely important. For example, a "Poison
Warning" (with a skull and crossbones image - even if there is also text) is
not guaranteed to be presented to the user who is blind prior to the
dangerous action described in the associated paragraph. This order of
reading may not be an issue with flat page layout, but complex pages
frequently suffer from this disorder of rendering. Of course, this is  due
to the fact that visual perception can take in a whole page (screen), while
the person who is using synthetic speech is presented the information in a
linear fashion.
3. Having the PDF page go through a translation means that the user who is
blind is never certain that all the information has been converted or
converted properly. I guess this is a result of the above two points, but
confidence in the information source is important  to me.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Nick Kew
> Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2003 11:17 AM
> To: William R Williams
> Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Jakob Nielsen Column -- PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption
> On Tue, 19 Aug 2003, William R Williams wrote:
> > "For online reading, however, PDF is the monster from the 
> Black Lagoon. It
> > puts its clammy hands all over people with a cruel grip 
> that doesn't let
> > go."
> Thank goodness for that!  It needed to be said by someone who gets
> listened to on usability.
> > Is anyone willing to agree or disagree with this stance? 
> Can anyone, as
> > users, report definite problems with rendering PDF files?
> I find it a constant problem, for the simple reason that it's grossly
> inflexible.  I usually need to increase the text size, but 
> even without
> that a PDF viewer needs an uncomfortably wide window that precludes
> having anything else of meaningful size visible.  At best it hogs the
> desktop - and gives me a headache after the first two or three pages.
> That's more a usability than an accessibility issue, though.
> -- 
> Nick Kew
> In urgent need of paying work - see 
> http://www.webthing.com/~nick/cv.html
Received on Saturday, 23 August 2003 14:01:48 UTC

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