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Re: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

From: Duff Johnson <duff@duff-johnson.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 00:08:05 -0500
Message-Id: <81E75641-B9DC-4615-B34E-58AF758892D6@duff-johnson.com>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> In my opinion, the greatest contributors to the persistence of PDF apart from Adobe’s ruthlessly effective strategizing & marketing

Haha! If you knew Adobe as well as I do you would know how funny that is! 

For over a decade PDF’s success has *nothing* to do with Adobe’s “strategizing and marketing” and *everything* to do with the simple, unadorned fact that PDF meets a wide variety of needs.

> The use cases for PDF on the web are very narrow and even the all-too-common and most spirited defences of its utility do not hold up to much scrutiny.

As the late Christopher Hitchens once said: "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

> Any content that originates in another format can just as readily be delivered using HTML and pixel perfect printing is similarly achievable using HTML, CSS, & JavaScript.

Professionals in the industry (I know a few) appear to feel otherwise. 

> I don’t believe that finding accommodations to manage the persistence & predominance of PDF on the web is the only or most effective approach – this has been going on for some time, now, with mixed results.

I don’t really know what you mean. It’s true that accessible PDF has been around for a while, albeit poorly supported by most. That can change.

> It seems to me that seeking alternatives & making the case for changing how things are done will be ultimately more effective in making the web more accessible rather than applying endless Band-Aids to a limping technology.

Or, developers simply make the necessary (and relatively modest) effort to support tagged PDF - which is not (unlike HTML/CSS) a moving target, and it’s “job done”.

Why insist that people should not have what they so clearly want? Why not rather insist that developers support the longstanding accessibility features in said internationally-standardized technology?

> Congratulations to IBM …  to paraphrase Kant: enlightenment is freedom from nonage.

We’ll see. I’m all for using technologies such as EPUB where appropriate. I have yet to see EPUB files gain a significant toehold on the web.

Received on Monday, 26 January 2015 05:08:34 UTC

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