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Re: Accessible Documents - PDF vs. HTML

From: <deborah.kaplan@suberic.net>
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2016 09:51:22 -0400 (EDT)
To: Duff Johnson <duff@duff-johnson.com>
cc: "Macintosh, Kristy (OMAFRA)" <Kristy.Macintosh@ontario.ca>, WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <alpine.DEB.2.10.1606150938500.11673@suberic.net>

Short answer: Both you and your students will probably find it to be an easier, more satisfying experience if you generate HTML.

Longer answer:

Duff Johnson wrote:

> Both PDF and HTML can be made accessible. The choice of technology should be dictated by the document’s purpose, intended utilization and target audience, not (only) by accessibility considerations.

And also by your time, human, and cash resources. It is much easier, faster, and cheaper, depending on what you are starting with, to create a fully accessible HTML document.

You might need both PDF and HTML, to be honest. Some courses might need fixed layout, print-reproducible, while other courses might need dynamic sites.

It also depends what you're starting with. If you are starting with a Word document, and it is correctly marked up with word styles and alternative text as an accessible Microsoft Word document, then it is fairly cheap and easy to create either inaccessible tagged PDF or accessible HTML, assuming you have a knowledgeable person go over either of the created documents after the fact to verify. If you are starting with an e-learning platform that gives you a SCORM or IMS content package, it almost certainly has An export tool, and you should look to see what it exports as if it exports as both HTML and PDF, it might be very simple to generate PDF  and HTML both from your e-learning tool's export package. Alternately, if you are worried about archival storage, you can probably just keep the XML SCORM package exported by your e-learning tool, for example, and can always generate accessible objects from that moving forward. However, if you need accessible transcripts right now, obviously you're not worried about the XML packages.

Again, however, if you have an existing e-learning tool, it probably has some kind of export mechanism. I'd be very surprised if it doesn't have "eexport as HTML." However, if you are talking about newly generated transcripts, honestly, do you have access to a WordPress site  at your institution? Set one up with one of the accessible themes -- which are great -- and just to create them as pages in in that accessible WordPress theme. So easy for everyone. You can use your favorite editor, Notepad++ or WordPad  or Microsoft Word or whatever, and then just paste them  into WordPress.

Deborah Kaplan
Received on Wednesday, 15 June 2016 13:51:50 UTC

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