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RE: PDF in WCAG 2

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 09:57:29 -0400
To: "'Joe Clark'" <joeclark@joeclark.org>, "'WAI-IG'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "Jesper Tverskov" <jesper.tverskov@mail.tele.dk>
Message-ID: <000e01c485f4$78cecdf0$6601a8c0@bosshog>

Joe Clark wrote:
> 
> Some members of the Working Group fail to understand that
> presentation *is* content. 

Some members of this list fail to accept that for many users,
presentation is a structural concept, not a "pretty picture" concept.
The basic premise of the web, and accessible web development is, was,
and (IMHO) should always be the separation of display and content
(unless of course the whole idea of CSS, semantic web, structural
development, etc. is just a crock and the web really is about pretty
pictures) 

> 
> If you really believe the contrary, can we please just write out your
> wedding invitations on Bristol board in pink crayon?

And for the visually impaired users that I would be inviting?  Those
invitations would be just as useless.  Why, oh why, is this so hard to
grasp?

> 
> 
>> That final analysis rests with you, and in my mind it's quite
>> simple: if you want to be able to claim compliance with WCAG1.0, you
>> need to address the issue of PDFs.
> 
> It's been addressed. A wide variety of PDFs 
(READ "SOME BUT NOT ALL")
> can be made adequately
(READ "ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE")
> accessible to many groups. 

But NOT ALL groups!!!  I am not a luddite, I like and appreciate well
developed and well designed content as much as the next, but if you are
truly concerned about *Universal Accessibility* then this has not been
addressed.  Now if you are only concerned about 85% accessibility....

> 
>> Maybe I'm over-interpreting, but: I would class PDFs as non-text
>> content
> 
> Except for all that text inside them.

Precisely... "inside them".  But what if you cannot get "inside them"?
Then they are as useless as my pink crayon, Bristol boarded wedding
invitations to my blind friends.


*************************

Meanwhile, earlier in this thread...

Jesper Tverskov wrote:
> Pdf in WCAG-1 was mostly wrong since the main problem is not
> the use of pdfs when equivalent HTML is easily also provided
> but when it is not the case. It is sometimes necessary to use
> pdfs exactly because equivalent HTML files don't exist or is
> too expensive to make available.
> 
> In my latest article, "The logo should not link to the
> homepage", www.smackthemouse.com/20040719#note-1, I provide a
> pdf-file as a last resort because the original HTML file has
> been deleted. When I read in WCAG-1 that I must not do that
> unless I also provide a HTML file it is an insult to common sense.

An insult to common sense?  Sticking up a PDF because the original HTML
file is no longer available is a cop-out.  Jesper, if the author has
given you permission to re-print the article (because the original is no
longer being hosted by IBM) it shifts the responsibility to you to
handle it properly (IMO).  Whining and moaning about the extra work is
not good enough... It took exactly 40 minutes to re-convert that PDF to
accessible, structurally intact HTML... I know, because I did it and
timed it (www.wats.ca/reprints/jesper.html - this will not remain live
past Aug. 21st, 2004 due to possible copyright infringements).

<opinion>
Folks, perhaps where the issue is is the division of, or understanding
of the difference between, delivering information via HTML vs. using the
http protocol to deliver files to various users via what we call "the
web", which is really just the largest electronic network we currently
have.  Using this network, I can download all manner of files: zipped
files and executables, TTF font files, MOV/MP3/(media extension of your
choice) files, JPEG/GIF/PNG/PSD/AI/etc. graphic files, etc., etc.  In
this concept, sure, PDF's are fine, useful and should continue to be
made available.  But arguing that the file format is universally
accessible is like arguing that the simple download of a JPEG file is
accessible to a blind user, or that a MP3 file is accessible to a deaf
user... It ain't!
</opinion>

The WAI, WCAG, etc. is concerned about making *HTML based content*
universally accessible.  Period.  

Some of the concepts and "rules" that they espouse may not fit with your
concept of how or what works... That's fine.  Nobody is holding a gun to
your head, if you wish to ignore one or more of the guidelines then one
of 3 things might happen: 

	1) one or more groups will find it impossible to access
information in the document. [Priority 1]
	2) one or more groups will find it difficult to access
information in the document. [Priority 2]
	3) one or more groups will find it somewhat difficult to access
information in the document. [Priority 3]

... But it is your choice.  However, I challenge anyone (Joe, Jesper,
anybody else) to disprove the following:

Providing content exclusively in PDF means "one or more groups will find
it impossible to access information in the document."

Go ahead, make my day. 

JF
--
John Foliot  foliot@wats.ca
Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
http://www.wats.ca   1.866.932.4878 (North America) 
Received on Thursday, 19 August 2004 13:57:37 UTC

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