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Acrobat 4.0 And PDF Accessibility

From: David Baskerville <dbaskerv@Adobe.COM>
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 14:36:37 -0700
Message-ID: <003f01bea952$2c336250$539f2099@corp.adobe.com>
To: <vidpi-l@hpbs751.boi.hp.com>, <EASI@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU>, <basr-l@trace.wisc.edu>, <uaccess-l@trace.wisc.edu>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, <access-b@Adobe.COM>
Acrobat 4.0 And PDF Accessibility

This announcement summarizes the current state of Acrobat Access with
respect to the new Acrobat 4.0 release.

First, we would like to thank all access users for their continued support
of our accessibility work, including not hesitating to tell us when we fall
short in our stated goals. We would also like to apologize for the release
of our accessibility solutions trailing the main Acrobat 4.0 release,
however we did not want to release the Access plug-in before it was
completely tested.

Access plug-in Available Now

The Acrobat Access plug-in for Acrobat 4.0 on Windows is now available for
download.  Please visit the following web site for information on Acrobat
accessibility or to download the plugin:

If you have additional questions please email to

Next Steps

The server conversion technology on access.adobe.com will hereafter be
upgraded to support PDF 1.3.

Upcoming Goals

Here is a brief road map of where we see Adobe's work on PDF accessibility
going in the next 12-24 months:

Built-in Access
We hope to build accessibility into the next major release of Acrobat.

Accessible Forms and Digital Signatures
PDF Forms are not yet accessible using our current suite of access
tools; enabling Form accessibility will be a primary focus over the next
year. In addition, we will address accessibility of new PDF features such as
digital signatures.

Exploit Logical Structure
PDF 1.3,the file format used by Acrobat 4.0, includes the ability to include
the logical structure of a document.  This is a feature that was initially
motivated by accessibility. We will upgrade our access tools to take
advantage of the logical structure in PDF, as structured PDF 1.3 documents
become more widespread.

PDF Authoring Guidelines
PDF documents, even more than HTML WWW pages, get created in many different
ways. In order to provide a better level of access, we will be creating a
set of PDF content creation guidelines for accessibility analogous to the
WAI content creation guidelines for HTML.

Accessibility Validation
As we develop our access guidelines for PDF, we hope to create corresponding
validation tools that allow content creators and publishers to verify that
the PDF documents they publish are accessible.

David Baskerville
Senior Product Manager, Acrobat
Adobe Systems, Incorporated
Received on Friday, 28 May 1999 17:35:09 UTC

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