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Re: PDF in WCAG 2

From: Access Systems <accessys@smart.net>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 16:16:15 -0400 (EDT)
To: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
cc: WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.58.0408191606550.31197@smart.net>

On Thu, 19 Aug 2004, Joe Clark wrote:

> At 21:29 -0400 2004.08.18, Access Systems wrote:
> >>  Every platform in common use (including Linxux) can read PDFs,
> >>including via open-source tools. Plus, I dunno, have you considered
> >>Googling?
> >
> >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.
> I don't know what you mean. The few text-only browsers in existence
> (I use Lynx ever day) have not been upgraded to read PDFs. That's

what I meant was if you use a linux graphics browser such as Mozilla you
could (if you were able to use it) open pdf documents, but this is not a
text only browser.

> nobody's problem but the authors of text-only browsers-- and their
> users.

and the USERS of text only browsers, and there are many good reasons
(besides access) for using text browsers.  for example, I have been in
Nicaragua, out in the rural areas where getting a 1200baud modem to
connect is lucky day.  sometimes you can't use voice over the lines.  the
only practical choice is a text only browser, and the local doctor there
will use it for consults and to look up medical information.  Or if you
are linking on via a sat phone where charges are over $1 per minute.

remember this is a WORLD wide web and sometimes access to information is
even more important in the third world, where sometimes a 386 is state of
the art.   we can't let technology deny more than half the world access
to the net.

> There may be some kind of plug-in for Moz that lets it read PDFs
> right in the browser (like Schubert-It), but I don't have one.

I do have it and it works sometimes
> "How do you do it with a screen reader?" At present, you use Jaws,
> Window-Eyes, or Hal. I infer, based on publicly-released information,
> that Apple VoiceOver-- freely built into OS X 10.4, according to the
> information-- will read PDFs.

personally, I use Linux, log on at 56k dial up dedicated line. browse the
net using lynx, and mail via Pine.  the screen reader is emacspeak.


> --
> At 09:57 -0400 2004.08.19, John Foliot - WATS.ca 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,
> That's an oxymoron.
> >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)
> Oh, stop. CSS can generate content. Structural markup is based *on*
> content: "This chunk of text is a heading because of what it says and
> does." We're not talking about "pretty pictures," but the fact that
> John resorts to such a blandishment suggests he falls squarely into
> the category I complain about all the time-- accessibility advocates
> who are actively hostile to visual design. Let me just mention again
> that (a) that horse won't hunt, (b) WCAG WG has to work at designers'
> level if it expects them to work at its level, and (c) many people
> with disabilities have fully- or mostly-functional vision and not
> only benefit from but *expect* good visual design.
> >>  It's been addressed. A wide variety of PDFs
> >
> Everything we do here is about "some but not all." I guarantee you
> that you can find at least one person with a disability online who
> cannot read or use any specific page.
> >>  can be made adequately
> >
> >
> >>  accessible to many groups.
> >
> >But NOT ALL groups!
> Universal accessibility is a myth. And you're being disingenuous in
> your use of the word "groups." Do you define people who refuse to
> update their technology to keep pace with updates in *accessible*
> technology as such a "group"? That has nothing to do with disability.
> >>>  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"?
> Every platform in common use has tools that can read PDFs. Plus you
> can also Google them. And if you don't think Google is an adaptive
> technology, you've been asleep.
> >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).
> The author retains _droit moral_ and may insist that the original
> format be preserved. Absent written permission to adapt to another
> format, in many countries you may in fact *not* alter the original,
> as by transforming to HTML.
> >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).
> "Possible"? Indisputable.
> OK, 40 minutes times how many documents in a company's archive?
> Nobody, but nobody, has solved the problem of updating archived or
> legacy "content." My recommendation has always been to set a schedule
> of conversion and to respond to requests or complaints as soon as
> they are received. This seems like a fair solution. Very rich
> companies may merit different (i.e., accelerated) requirements.
> By the way, your easy HTML version has invalid code (36 errors:
> <http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http://www.wats.ca/reprints/jesper.html>)
> and would not pass Priority 2.
> >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
> We aren't. There *is* no such thing.
> >Providing content exclusively in PDF means "one or more groups will
> >find it impossible to access information in the document."
> Be careful how you define "groups."
> --
> At 11:50 -0400 2004.08.19, Access Systems wrote:
> >>  i.e. same person on a different system can access the content.
> >>Content is not the problem, it's the user's set up.
> >
> >?? ADA says for something to be accessible the individual cannot be
> >required to purchase something that everyone else is not required to
> >purchase. (28CFR36.301[c])  this is called "disparate treatment"
> We're not talking about the ADA.
> >  As far as I know emacspeak does read PDF, but I copied Raman to let
> >him explain it since he wrote it.
> >
> >but will it read pdf in all cases.
> Of course not in "all" cases. Some PDFs are inaccessible, as are some
> Web pages.
> >>   Whether the content is in PDF, HTML, SMIL,
> >
> >but the problem is GETTING TO the content. once a pdf is untangled
> I wish you'd stop using these approximate and incorrect terms. You
> don't have to "untangle" a PDF; it isn't a ball of string.
> >>or whatever, there are still requirements for accessible content in
> >>that format. For example, if there is an image in either of these
> >>formats, then the content of the image needs to be made available,
> >>for example via an alt attribute in HTML, etc.
> >
> >yes, and how do you put that into a pdf?
> I see that, as feared, Access Systems works in complete ignorance of
> accessible PDF.
> >>  Claiming that if something doesn't run in Lynx makes it
> >>inaccessible is misinformation,
> >
> >I beg to differ..
> Time has marched on. A browser that can't use CSS is outdated. I use
> one each and every day. It has many advantages. But it cannot be
> considered the baseline.
> --
> At 16:54 +0000 2004.08.19,  David Poehlman wrote:
> >1> much of pdf comes directly from paper.  It's scaneed and dumped
> >directly into pdf.
> That's increasingly rare. But it does seem to be the false
> preconception held by many blind people and/or Lynx users on this
> esteemed List.
> >  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,
> Acrobat 5 and later (and Acrobat 4 with a plug-in) can make sense
> even of untagged PDFs that contain actual text, which is a very large
> number of them. It'll read the text. It may not be pretty, but it'll
> read.
> >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.
> Some parts of the U.S. federal government are mandated to place, for
> example, forms online, but are also legally enjoined from altering
> their appearance. That rules out HTML.
> --
> At 16:55 +0000 2004.08.19, RUST Randal  wrote:
> >The data for many PDFs, especially reports, is stored in a database somewhere.
> I really don't think that's the case at all for "many" PDFs.
> >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?
> Sure. Now give them ATAG-compliant tools to do it.
> >In fact, a PDF always exists in some other format prior to being
> >turned into a PDF,
> That's true, but it is possible to directly generate a PDF from
> scratch without an preliminary document.
> >  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.
> No, that's false. Any application on Mac OS X can save in PDF, for
> example. I strongly dispute the idea that typical OS X applications
> can save in, for example, HTML.
> >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).
> Time has marched on. PDF can be accessible unto itself.
> Why isn't anybody making this argument about multimedia? Oh, but
> that's what WCAG 1.0 tried to do-- in the Working Group's mania for
> TEXT-ONLY ALL THE TIME, it insisted on "collated text transcripts"
> and similar malarkey. But multimedia can carry its own accessibility
> features, which the Working Group is growing to accept. What's the
> difference? There isn't any.

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