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Re: PDF in WCAG 2

From: david poehlman <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 09:49:07 -0400
Message-ID: <004301c485f3$4df44de0$6401a8c0@DAVIDPC>
To: "RUST Randal" <RRust@COVANSYS.com>, "WAI-IG" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Hi hate to rain on this parade, but I'm going to cover some old ground.

1> much of pdf comes directly from paper.  It's scaneed and dumped directly
into pdf.

2> The only way that the idea that the government can get away with using
pdf because they are on windows and therefore can have a blind person use a
screen reader that will read pdf is if the pdf is truly textual in the first
place and if and this is a big if, it has formatting intact which it almost
never does, and then, if the government is willing to buy all the people it
serves who needs one a screen reader and the proper system to run it on.  If
I am a customer of the us federal government and I use linux or dos or
outspoken for the mac, I should not be denied access to information simply
because of my choice or need of environment.  This is accessibility.

Johnnie Apple Seed

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "RUST Randal" <RRust@COVANSYS.com>
To: "WAI-IG" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2004 8:29 AM
Subject: RE: PDF in WCAG 2

Access Systems wrote:

> Linux can read pdf VISUALLY but not with text browsers,  sure
> in Mozilla or others you can see pdf's but how do you do it
> with a screen reader.

> accessibility

> which is what this list is about.

Has anyone proposed the obvious solution here? The obvious best practice
that should be followed?

The data for many PDFs, especially reports, is stored in a database
somewhere. The data is just extracted and turned into a PDF. Wouldn't it
make sense to tell developers to give the user the choice of PDF or text
version, and then generate content in the desired format?

In fact, a PDF always exists in some other format prior to being turned
into a PDF, and most, if not all of those applications allow for the
file to be saved in many different formats which are more accessible
than PDF.

The point is, when a document is offered as a PDF, developers should be
encouraged to provide the document in multiple formats, which is
entirely reasonable (and pretty much what WCAG 1.0 says).

Not every format known to man needs to be accessible. That, to me, seems
somewhat unreasonable.

WCAG 2.0 shouldn't mention PDF specifically (and it doesn't). It should
talk about content, and suggest best practices for serving it to the
user. Leave it up to the individual vendors as to how to make their
proprietary technologies accessible.

Another point that needs to be made is that most public sector entities
in the U.S. use PDF for a lot of data exchange. And they are also
running Windows and IE. Not Linux. Not Lynx. So if they can provide a
blind worker with a screenreader that *can* read PDFs, then that's
probably good enough, and there may be no need to generate documents in
multiple formats.

Randal Rust
Covansys Corp.
Columbus, OH
Received on Thursday, 19 August 2004 13:48:35 UTC

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