W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > July to September 2000

Re: PDF Alternatives?

From: Paul Stauffer 301-827-5694 FAX 301-443-6385 <STAUFFERP@cder.fda.gov>
Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2000 12:30:17 -0400 (EDT)
To: "w3c-wai-ig-request" <w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org>, "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
When I tested Acrobat 4.05 with JAWS, it was able to read PDF-normal
pages.  So has the policy been revisited?

Paul Stauffer

>Mr. Woolley,
>The problem with PDF at this time is that screenreaders are unable to
>the text as well as fill in the forms of PDF documents.  This is the
>for the US disability rights concern that the PDF form prevents
>communication" under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)and
serves to
>effectively discriminate against people with disabilities utilizing
>screenreader applications.  
>Adobe has committed to finding ways to incorporate structure into a PDF
>document upon creation and we all welcome that effort.  The first
>ADA complaint against the City of San Jose was precisely because we had
>posted our city counsel documents in PDF format.  As a result, my
office had
>to develop an accessible web design policy in 1995 to manage ADA
>The outcome was a compromise.  If City webmanagers posted a document in
>they also had to post an equivalent accessible document in HTML.  This
>policy has been adopted by the US Department of Justice - the
>authority for the ADA - and is consistent with current practices of the
>USDOJ and the US Access Board.
>Again, I am sure that all of us are looking forward to Adobe improving
>product.  Until then, disability discrimination laws will continue to
be the
>basis for complaints filed against covered entities posted documents
>forms only in PDF.
>Thankfully, the accessibility effort is not totally reliant upon Adobe.
>is extremely helpful that the W3C WAI has approached accessible web
>from multiple fronts - not only through the Web Content Accessibility
>Guidelines but also through the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines and
>Web Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines.  Developers of
>will benefit enormously from the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines. 
>you probably know, some of the benefits of the User Agent Guidelines
>improved inter-operability, functionality and accessibility helps.
>I apologize for this long post.
>Best regards,
>Cynthia Waddell
>Cynthia D. Waddell   
>ADA Coordinator
>City Manager Department
>City of San Jose, CA USA
>801 North First Street, Room 460
>San Jose, CA  95110-1704
>(408)971-0134 TTY
>(408)277-3885 FAX
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Dave J Woolley [mailto:DJW@bts.co.uk]
>Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2000 3:57 AM
>To: 'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'
>Subject: RE: PDF Alternatives?
>> From:	Waddell, Cynthia [SMTP:cynthia.waddell@ci.sj.ca.us]
>> It is not necessarily true that a person who is blind or has low
>> would require assistance in completing a form.  If you noted the
>> 508
>> proposed rule, an online form designed to be accessible would enable
>> someone
>> using a screenreader to fill out the form.
>	[DJW:]  I don't see that this is particular 
>	incompatible with PDF.  In fact PDF text is
>	more likely to be real text than the text
>	on typical commercial web pages.  The only real
>	problem with the text in PDF files is it is
>	often produced by word processors that think
>	they can do a better job of spacing characters
>	than PostScript can do.  That means that you
>	normally get individually placed characters,
>	rather than whole words with a horzontal stretch 
>	factor, as allowed by the PDF primitives.  This 
>	can confuse tools that try to extract words from the  
>	text (I predict that the same problem will happen 
>	with SVG if, as I suspect, people use it for whole 
>	pages, not just graphics).
>	(It seems to me that there is a place for tools to
>	help marginally reformat PDF to take out the detailed
>	microspacing and replace it by stretch factors.  It's 
>	possible they are already in the commercial Acrobat 
>	toolset.)
>	PDF does have a fill the forms facility, even in
>	the version before last of Acrobat, and you can 
>	print the result.  This is not an ideal example 
>	from a size or accessibility point of view, but
>	it does demonstrate the feature - it needs the 
>	latest Acrobat reader:
>	(please destroy any printout if you are not a 
>	participant!).
>	Once you impose a constraint that the layout should
>	exactly match that of the printed form, I think PDF
>	becomes the format of choice.
>--------------------------- DISCLAIMER
>Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender,
>except where the sender specifically states them to be the views of
Received on Wednesday, 2 August 2000 12:31:01 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 20:35:57 UTC