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RE: PDFs and accessibility

From: The Snider's Web <lsnider@thesnidersweb.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2003 13:01:36 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Steuerwalt, Jon C." <jon.c.steuerwalt@Maine.gov>, "'Matthew Smith'" <matt@kbc.net.au>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Hi Jon,

That is a really good point about making the info accessible-thanks for 
reminding me.

Interesting, I think I was trying to look at it the other way round-that is 
why I need some guidance and advice :) I do so many PDFs for clients and 
have been unhappy with many of them in terms of accessibility. I think it 
is time to change my thinking and way of doing things.

I think in the end I will have to go for two formats-the PDF for people who 
want and can see the full layout/design/etc. and a different format for 
people who don't want to see the PDF or need to use other means to do 
so-like a screen reader.

Thanks again for the info


At 05:16 PM 1/16/2003 -0500, Steuerwalt, Jon C. wrote:

>Hello.  I agree with Matthew's approach in general - to deploy two different
>formats - though my tool set for doing this is different.  As someone said
>on this list some time ago, the important thing is to make the information
>accessible, not the PDF.
>PDF is great for what it was initially designed to do, but that was not to
>present information on the web.  All the additional work required on the
>author's part to make a PDF document "web accessible" plus all the work
>required on the part of those users of screen readers who do utilize the
>correct technologies to then make that PDF document usable still won't make
>that PDF document accessible to all users.
>Why not make a [X]HTML version that's accessible for viewing on the web
>almost without exception no matter what technology is employed to access it
>AND post a version that can be easily converted to hardcopy instead?  Here
>in Maine (USA) that's how we have decided to proceed with state government
>web sites.  Jon
Received on Sunday, 19 January 2003 12:11:23 UTC

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