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Re: PDF documents and accessibility support

From: Ramón Corominas <listas@ramoncorominas.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 10:13:10 +0100
Message-ID: <50D18526.2010801@ramoncorominas.com>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hi all,

Although this question was apparently sent privately, I think it is 
worth it to answer it publicly to avoid confusion:

Someone wrote:

 > Versions of Adobe Reader are available free of charge for Mac OS X
 > and for Linux - I have just verified this. What makes you believe
 > these do not exist?

Yes, that's right, I apologise for the confusion, I used the wrong 
wording. Instead of:

"The three run only on Windows, and two of them are not free."

I should have used:

"Adobe Acrobat Pro and Adobe Reader are only accessibility supported on 
Windows platforms. Both Adobe Acrobat Pro and Kurzwell 3000 are not free."

Indeed, the "PDF Techniques for WCAG 2.0" states:

"Adobe Acrobat Pro - PDF Authoring Tool, Editor, and Viewer from Adobe 
Systems which is compatible with MSAA devices on the Windows platform"


"Adobe Reader – Freely distributed PDF Viewer from Adobe Systems which 
is compatible with MSAA devices on the Windows platform."

Therefore, all user agents that provide accessibility support for PDF 
(until anyone can prove the contrary) run on Windows platforms, and I 
think that's not enough to qualify as an accessibility-supported technology.

Of course, I am not saying that "PDF is bad and it must die". I'm saying 
that "PDF cannot qualify as an accessibility-supported technology except 
for very limited, text-only uses, or in a closed Windows environment". I 
am saying that PDF needs better support on multiple platforms, not that 
it must be prohibited.

Nevertheless, I think that public websites must not rely on PDF (for 
now), because they will for sure leave apart many people with 
disabilities (and not people without disabilities, because for them 
there are options that they can use on all platforms).


Ramón Corominas
Accessibility specialist
Technosite - Fundación ONCE
E: rcorominas@technosite.es
T: @ramoncorominas
P: +34 91 121 0330
W: http://technosite.es
Received on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 09:19:17 UTC

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