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Re: accessibility supported questions

From: Matt Morgan-May <mattmay@adobe.com>
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 12:32:00 -0700
To: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
CC: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <C5F7BDC0.1CF30%mattmay@adobe.com>
On 3/31/09 11:08 AM, "Phill Jenkins" <pjenkins@us.ibm.com> wrote:
> its seems to me to be a problem with either the PDF renderer
> (not sure what they were using, was it Adobe Reader 8?), or the screen reader
> (they didn't have the latest versions), or the user configuration (not
> discussed), and/or the user operations (not discussed).

It could also have something to do with the tool used to create the form.
There's probably a bug somewhere in the flow, but without being able to look
at it, I don't think I can suggest anything other than testing it with an
MSAA tool like Inspect32 and seeing if the accessibility data is there. If
it's stable there, then we should be looking more at the screen reader side.

Roger, if you can send me an example that I can share with the Acrobat team,
I'd be happy to look at it for you.

In any case, I have to say it alarms me that when someone like Roger reports
an intermittent error in a couple of PDF documents (and raises an admittedly
good question in the process), certain others, without hesitation and
without qualifying their statements, start saying PDF is inaccessible. Or
that it's not "accessibility supported," or whatever. I present to these
people the following facts:

1. Adobe Reader works with Orca on Linux and Solaris. We have been working
with the Orca team for years to help provide accessibility support on free
(speech/beer) platforms.
2. Adobe Reader support in the open-source NVDA screen reader on Windows has
improved dramatically, and we anticipate that it will continue to improve.
3. Apple's Voiceover screen reader for OS X supports PDF content with the
built-in Preview application.

So, let's do the math. PDF is an open format (ISO 32000=PDF 1.7) with free
readers that support free AT on Windows, OS X, Linux and Solaris. I'd say
that's pretty broadly "accessibility supported". If we encounter issues with
our software, Adobe is committed to addressing them, either directly or in
concert with AT or OS vendors.

People can jump on one bug report and try to make it look like PDF is thus
inaccessible, but one swallow does not a summer make. If we want to go that
route, does anyone want to stand up and say the accessibility hooks for the
existing HTML user agents are flawless? If not, can we kindly stop turning
each question on non-W3C formats into a referendum on accessibility?

Received on Tuesday, 31 March 2009 19:32:50 UTC

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