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RE: RE: PDF in WCAG 2

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2004 10:48:39 -0400
To: <lguarino@adobe.com>, "'W3c-Wai-Ig'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <004501c48b7b$c7afc500$6601a8c0@bosshog>

lguarino@adobe.com wrote:

> (Adobe really is listening to
> those complaints about download time. It's just had to
> address them in a way that is perfectly backwards compatable with
> earlier Readers.) 

Well, exactly.  But an HTML "index" page, which cross linked to the
appropriate chapter would be miniscule in comparison... Another reason
why HTML is more accessible than PDF, and will remain so; faster
download times.

>   This is a 1200 page book, by the way. Just converting it to a
> single HTML file is probably going to produce some
> accessibility problems of its own.

No argument. (...and why would you?) 

WCAG 1.0, Priority 2 12.3 "Divide large blocks of information into more
manageable groups where natural and appropriate."

The document (book) has "chapters" and subsets (<h2>'s?) within each
chapter.  As a publishing document, PDF is fine... As a web document it
lacks.  HTML is/was structured to allow on-line "publishing" of text
using network delivery.  It is, was and will continue to be the most
accessible method of delivering information directly to the end user's
computer screen.  If you wish to download and then subsequently print an
1145 page document, then PDF is certainly a useful (and perhaps even
recommended) cross platform solution... I would much rather see a PDF
then, say, a Word Document for download.

That said, I have not seen or heard a compelling reason why this
document should not/ could not also be provided as a series of HTML
documents for web browser consumption...

> 
>   The user agent issue is an important one. The working group
> has wrestled with that issue in Guideline 4.2. Perhaps you
> could make some recommendations on how to improve that guideline.

Loretta, pardon, but which guidelines are you referring to?  WCAG 1.0,
UUAG, WCAG 2.0 Draft?  I would be more than happy to lend some "opinion"
where-ever/ whenever requested.

I want to state emphatically that the PDF format itself is not the
issue, but rather that providing essential content in *PDF format only*
is the issue.  There is a time and a place for PDF documents and they
are useful and perhaps even necessary tools in our toolbox. However,
they are not always the most appropriate, and it concerns me that some
list members are searching for justification in "using a wrench to bang
a nail into the wall".

Cheers!

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, 26 August 2004 14:48:46 UTC

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