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RE: PDF/UA footer artifact discussion

From: Jonathan Avila <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2013 10:13:34 -0400
Message-ID: <bb1031af64f58ade095351acf64c2222@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Duff, thank you for responding.  I have several points of discussion

> I understand the concern, especially given current-generation AT, which
doesn't do anything with artifacts

Yes, as we agree currently there doesn't appear to be any support for
Artifacts by screen readers including the Read Out Loud tool in Acrobat.
WCAG 2 requires "accessibility supported" methods.

	"When new technologies are introduced, two things must happen in
order for people using assistive 	technologies to be able to access
them. First, the technologies must be designed in a way that user agents
including assistive technologies could access all the information they
need to present the content to the 	user. Secondly, the user agents
and assistive technologies may need to be redesigned or modified to be
able to actually work with these new technologies."

While you make a good point that page labels can be used, some information
in headers/footers cannot be captured in page labels.  For example,
documents may repeat the chapter name at the top of all pages in a
chapter. This assist users who can read print in knowing what chapter a
page is within.

> PDF/UA requires conforming AT to be able to report artifacts to the user
on request.

One challenge for people who cannot see the page is knowing when to
request the information.  For example, if a header contains the word
"Classified" users should be informed/reminded of this without requiring
them to manually request this information.  A user setting would be needed
with assistive technology to accommodate all user needs as some people
would not want this information.  But simply allowing for something on
demand won't provide the same experience to users without print
disabilities that can immediately see/obtain header and footer

> Including page headers and footers in the logical structure is plainly
wrong; this content isn't part of the document. Page header and footer
content is "metadata for the physical page" - no more. Including such
artifacts in the logical structure would not necessarily advise users of
page-numbers (because it's "just a number" out of context) and certainly,
would routinely introduce confusing breaks in the logical flow, sometimes
occurring within words, sentences or paragraphs.

While I agree most footer and header information is metadata related to
the page or document, there may be things in the header and footer that
need to be structured.  For example, a footer could contain a link -- how
could this information be structured if it was an artifact?  Additionally,
footnote information is indicated by PDF/UA to be a note element with the
logical structure of the document - and footnotes break the flow of the
logical structure as well.   Document metadata is also not very accessible
to users with disabilities.  For example, if the page contained metadata
such as form numbers, users of screen readers would need to access the
document properties dialog and hunt for this information while the same
information is provided instantaneously to users who see the printed page.
We need to find an equivalent manner to inform and allow the user to
access the page meta data in an reasonable manner.  It sounds like the
current PDF specification doesn't allow for this -- but users need access
to the information today.

Received on Monday, 11 March 2013 14:13:59 UTC

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