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Re: FW: WCAG2ICT... where's that "additional guidance" for PDF?

From: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>
Date: Sat, 30 May 2015 17:38:05 -0400
Message-ID: <BLU436-SMTP10425AC4D26C93775CC95F9FEC80@phx.gbl>
To: Jonathan Avila <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>
CC: WCAG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
This does not surprise me at all. There is a popular myth starting to to
hit the rumour mill that WCAG does not cover PDF and therefore PDF/UA is
the only standard that should be used for PDFs.

I think we need to remember the days back in early 2001-2002 when Adobe
(the creators of PDF, and owners of PDF at the time) helped convince us
that WCAG should not apply only to W3C markup languages. Adobe walked with
us the entire way, with representation as a WCAG editor and Adobe poured
many resources into the WCAG. They PDF developed techniques and sponsored
many face to faces, and meals etc... Our PDF techniques have many source
formats (Word, livecycle, Open Office etc...), and even have PDF code fixes
for vendors. It was a mamoth effort. It took 8 months for us to test and
approve them. The OCAD techniques take it further.

Unfortunately, there is a push from some members of the PDF/UA committee to
introduce paralell requirements to the WCAG for PDF authors in many
jurisdictions including the Government of Ontario, and the Section 508 I
think we have to work hard to dispel this myth.

PDF/UA does not introduce anything substantially new, except things that
were voted down in WCAG such as nested headings. It requires marking as
artifacts EVERY path, even ones that are ignored by assistive technology,
In other words, thousands of organizations will be spending millions of
dollars and thousands of hours trying to fix things that never cause any

WCAG's language of "a mechanism is available..." ensures that as assistive
technology and browsers get better, that author requirements will lessen,
and therefore the cost of accessibility will decrease which will be an
additional incentive for organizations to meet the WCAG.

If PDF/UA is written into law along side the WCAG, it will discourage many
organizations from using PDF, but in the short term will make those in the
remediation business very busy as organizations scramble to meet a standard
that they have to buy, and they will have to learn another standard in
addition to WCAG and try to figure out all the mappings, overlaps etc.

I'm very concerned about this push and I think we have to double our
education efforts to help jurisdictions understand that the Success
Criteria were written very carefully to apply to PDF as well as other main


David MacDonald

*Can**Adapt* *Solutions Inc.*

Tel:  613.235.4902

LinkedIn <http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidmacdonald100>


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On Sat, May 30, 2015 at 9:37 AM, Jonathan Avila <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>

> FYI Passing along this message from Duff on the Interest Group list.
> Jonathan
> --
> Jonathan Avila
> Chief Accessibility Officer
> SSB BART Group
> jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com
> 703-637-8957 (o)
> Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | Newsletter
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Duff Johnson [mailto:duff@duff-johnson.com]
> Sent: Friday, May 29, 2015 5:31 PM
> To: WAI Interest Group
> Subject: WCAG2ICT... where's that "additional guidance" for PDF?
> Hi all,
> It has been asserted in multiple comments on the Section 508 refresh that
> the “additional information” found in WCAG2ICT “...provides appropriate
> standards to ensure that PDF documents are accessible…."
> This surprised me, because I did not recall any such guidance being
> provided in that document back when it was developed, and I was paying
> attention at that time.
> Is this is the same WCAG2ICT document that managed to collect a grand
> total of 24 messages in its public forum over almost 3 years?  Almost all
> of which were substantive and detailed (if highly critical) comments from
> myself, the CEO of callas software, Andi Snow-Weaver and Alex Li of
> Microsoft, Ken Salaets of ITI (!), and others?
> None of these critiques were ever answered or addressed in the forum:
> https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-wcag2ict-comments/
> Can someone please clarify for me what, precisely, in WCAG2ICT helps
> ensure PDF documents are accessible?
> Thanks,
> Duff.
Received on Saturday, 30 May 2015 21:38:36 UTC

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