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Re: Word Accessibility with JAWS


From: Info @ Karlen Communications
Date: Sep 18, 2008 5:20AM

Text boxes converted to tagged PDF using either the Acrobat and Office
plug-in or the Save as PDF or XPS tool for Office 2007 from Microsoft do
render the text as readable tagged content but since the text box is a
floating layer, it often means a bit of repair to put it in the right place
in the reading order of the Tags Tree.

Cheers, Karen

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Cliff Tyllick
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 6:44 PM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Word Accessibility with JAWS

Karen pointed out that:

Text boxes are inherently inaccessible to screen readers since they sort of
float over the document as objects.

On the issue of text boxes themselves, perhaps requirements to be accessible
will force writers and designers to do something they should have been doing
all along--that is, identify strong callouts to the text boxes. Otherwise,
the "floating" is not just an artifact of Word---it's intrinsic to sloppy

I have found that if you embed a bookmark at the beginning of the text box,
then you can link to that bookmark from the text. This link should be the
strong callout that good writing calls for. Then, at the end of the text
box, you can link back to the text. If there's already a bookmark in the
text (the next heading, for example), you can use that as the target of the
link. If not, you can add a bookmark to point to.

This gives the reader using assistive technology almost the same interface
as the sighted reader---a signal that the text box is there, and the ability
to choose to either read it or ignore it.

I haven't fully tested it, but it seems to work as designed when the Word
document is read in JAWS. I don't think I've made a PDF of such a document,
let alone tested one. That would be interesting to follow up on.

Cliff Tyllick
Web development coordinator
Agency Communications Division
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality