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RE: PDF in WCAG 2

From: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 11:30:39 -0500
To: "John Foliot - WATS.ca" <foliot@wats.ca>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OFF5AEDCFE.DCF07C89-ON86256EF5.0058783F-86256EF5.005AB394@us.ibm.com>
>...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. 

It's not "impossible", all I have to do is provide one or more groups some 
assistive technology that supports the PDF format and insure the PDF 
content follow the guidelines for making the content complaint.  But if I 
provide them content in HTML that includes an image file that doesn't 
include the alt text, then it is impossible to get that information to the 
individual.  The WCAG priorities are about the content, not the file 
format. 

It's the "content accessibility guidelines", not "file format choice 
guidelines".  Choosing HTML does not prevent one from including images 
without alt text.  Choosing PDF does not prevent one from including images 
without alt text.  The format choice may be a concern to some, but once we 
get past that (which is where I'm at) it is still whether the content is 
compliant with the guidelines - regardless of file format chosen.

This could easily be a discussion about SVG, SMIL, or MATHML, or FLASH, 
ASCII Text, or XHTML 2, or whichever format you choose.  WCAG 2.0 is 
attempting to apply to all or any of them, with specific techniques 
document to provide specific file format guidance.

John, I do not agree with your statement:

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

although that is a misconception of some, it's concerned with much more 
than *HTML based content*.  WCAG 2.0 specifically says:

"... version 2.0 builds on WCAG 1.0. It has the same aim: to explain how 
to make Web content accessible to people with disabilities ... It attempts 
to apply guidelines to a wider range of technologies and to ... The design 
principles in this document represent broad concepts that apply to all 
Web-based content. They are not specific to HTML, XML, or any other 
technology. This approach was taken so that the design principles could be 
applied to a variety of situations and technologies, including those that 
do not yet exist. " 

Regards,
Phill Jenkins
Received on Thursday, 19 August 2004 16:31:12 UTC

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