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Re: washingtonpost.com 'Talking' Tax Forms For Blind Developed.ht m

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 11:37:12 -0400
To: Simon White <simon.white@jkd.co.uk>, WAI List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-id: <005501c2503b$5eec9250$19e03244@DAVIDPOEHLMAN>

in the case of these particular pdf documents, they are not accessible
outside their environment.  In the case of pdfs in general, you must
create them with specific mark up in specific tools in order that they
are optimized for accessibility which in this case means that there are
two screen readers whose more recent itterations allow some sort of

----- Original Message -----
From: "Simon White" <simon.white@jkd.co.uk>
To: "WAI List" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2002 10:49 AM
Subject: RE: washingtonpost.com 'Talking' Tax Forms For Blind
Developed.ht m

Dear All,
Slightly off the topic, but this minimum accessibility seems to be the
problem with UK government sites as well. By this I mean that PDF meets
the minimum requirements for accessibility on government sites (usually
a minimum of single-A compliance) also noted by the statement that Joel
cut and paste onto his last email:

"As new publications become available
in Acrobat 5.0, which is 508 compliant, they will be posted on the

So, Acrobat is 508 compliant but is it accessible? I would state that it
is not fully accessible, like HTML, and therefore it is not the best
solution for filing tax returns online. In the UK we have a single-A
compliance threshold, although I do want to say that the vast majority
of UK government websites use HTML for forms rather than PDF (or offer
both so that the user can choose).

I guess it is the usual <interpretation of standards> that is at play

In addition, aren't PDF documents only accessible if they have been
created correctly in Acrobat and the client-side reader only plays a
small part in allowing access to the information with assistive

Just a bunch of my thoughts on the subject, I am not au fait with
American tax filing so I cannot comment on the systems they might be
using or what might best apply in your Tax system.

Kind regards to all

-----Original Message-----
From: SHARPE, Ian [mailto:Ian.SHARPE@cambridge.sema.slb.com]
Sent: 30 August 2002 15:26
To: WAI List
Subject: RE: washingtonpost.com 'Talking' Tax Forms For Blind
Developed.ht m

Am I missing something? Firstly, the article doesn't explain how the
technology works or what the technology used is? I can't see what is
on from "he clicked on the form and the he heard, First Name"?

Secondly, for $2,000 per form I'll offer them a full HTML conversion
and pay someone else to take the information and fill out the form!! OK,
there's privacy issues but it wouldn't be hard to automate a process to
automatically fill out the PDF forms anyway. As someone else has pointed
out, it depends how they are storing the information back end anyway? If
they're storing it in another system then it surely doesn't matter how
information gets there?


-----Original Message-----
From: Joel Ward [mailto:ward_joel@bah.com]
Sent: 30 August 2002 14:40
To: WAI List
Subject: Re: washingtonpost.com 'Talking' Tax Forms For Blind

> easy answer to your last question, that is what the decided to do
> ago so rather than find a real solution they decided to cludge.  Html
> would have been vastly superior and there are many other things they
> could have done and can do, but dispite frequent pounding on them,
> like some other agencies have stayed a particular course for what ever
> reasons but the bottom line is that the consumer looses in the end.
> gains in this case apparently are the same forms can be served to all
> and pdf is their favorite route so they can still use it.  They have a
> lot of money tied up in it apparently.

Could they provide both a PDF forms and HTML forms to cover all the
And both would integrate into the same back-end system?

Maybe they do?

Maybe they're going that way?

Standard web forms would no only help assistive technology users, but
text browser users, PDA users, WebTV users, and anyone else who can't

BTW, I found this on the IRS web site's accessibility page:

Persons using screen-reading devices, who generally cannot directly read
documents in PDF format, will find a HTML version of many of the forms
the publications on the IRS site. Over the next several months, the IRS
plans to make all PDF files accessible. As new publications become
in Acrobat 5.0, which is 508 compliant, they will be posted on the site.

For information on Forms and Publications Accessibility:
The IRS Alternative Media Center has prepared hundreds of its most
tax forms, instructions, and tax publications using full text
where needed and is making these files available for download through
IRS web site. Adobe Acrobat PDF format has been used as a means of
distributing government forms as well as other documents.

BTW, I checked their forms section and selected a few forms to see what
formats they had available.  Of the dozen I selected, none had any other
formats than PDF.  Where are the HTML versions they speak of?

Even the "list of forms you can fill-in using your computer" are all

I guess the eFile program offers some forms online.  But none are
the IRS itself, and some cost money.  Maybe that's why the IRS is

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Received on Friday, 30 August 2002 11:39:43 UTC

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