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Re: PDF, Accessibility and Quality Control


From: Sean Keegan
Date: Jan 28, 2007 1:20AM

Hi Melanie,

> How vigilant are you that the tags used in the tagging, accurately
represent the
> content?

It depends on the process used to create the PDF documents. Many of the
people I have worked with are creating content from MS Word and so rely on
the tagging that results from the PDFMaker conversion in MS Word (so the
result is that instead of a "H1" tag you may have a "Heading 1" tag). For
those who work with InDesign or another application, my big focus is getting
the document creators to ensure a logical reading order to the document, add
descriptions to images and the like.

If time is not a critical issue and the PDF was not well-formed from the
start (i.e, no headings, etc.), then I do suggest using the TouchUp Reading
Order tool to reclassify the content where appropriate. While the TouchUp
tool is a major improvement to how things had to be done in earlier versions
of Acrobat, a proper workflow is a better option IMO as touching up even
short document can take more time.

In terms of QC/QA, I generally do not recommend the use of a specific
screen-reader as what works in screen-reader version "X" does not mean that
the same function will exist in version "Y" (makes for some tedious
testing!). I try out a few screen-readers when I am trying something new in
the PDF conversion process, but I have that luxury. The best results I have
had with respect to evaluating reading order is to save out a tagged PDF as
"Text(Accessible)" from the Save As... menu. You should get the proper text
flow and additional items that a screen-reader will also announce are
typically displayed in brackets. The drawback to this method is if data
tables are present (linearizes the data).

So, I would echo Andrew's question as to what is your workflow for PDF
document creation? Otherwise, your step 1 looks fine and if all you are
doing is spot checking, then I would try the Save As... and saving the PDF
as a Text(Accessible) file.

Take care,

-----Original Message-----
From: Zwack, Melanie C [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Friday, January 26, 2007 12:16 PM
Subject: [WebAIM] PDF, Accessibility and Quality Control

Can people share what they do to ensure Quality Control for Accessible PDFs
they produce?

My main question: How vigilant are you that the tags used in the tagging,
accurately represent the content? For example, in the past we have placed
content in sequential order as best we can, but pretty much ignored the
tags. For example, even if a paragraph text is tagged with a header tag, we
would just let it go, because mainly due to the fact of how much time that
it would take to correct this. Now, with Jaws 7.0 that we just got, it is
actually reading 'Graphic: Then the content here' - - so it is specifying
the tag explicitly. The fact that in the past we did not pay much attention
to this, is now a problem when we use Jaws 7.0 to Qc. Jaws is specifying
each tag, before reading the content, so it is obvious in the case when an
incorrect tag is used. Any thoughts on this?

Also, I am evaluation our Quality Control process in general for Accessible
PDFs, and would be very interested to hear of any other people's procedures
for this area. I would like to make sure our process is where it needs to

I'll also start off with specifying our process:

1) We apply tags to a PDF and touchup the tags as necessary (ie.,
adding ALT tags to images, re-arranging the order of the tags as

2) Quality Control staff spot checks the PDFs to see if the tags
are reading right. (We do not use the automated Accessibility Checker to
verify correctness, but instead we have Quality Control check each file with
a Screen Reader.)