WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: PDFs that read one word per line


From: Wayne Dick
Date: Jan 29, 2010 2:33PM

The only software that I know that is targeted for
testing is produced by Adobe. My favorite tool
for viewing the structural integrity of a PDF
document is the bookmark panel in the Reader and
Acrobat Pro. It is not featured as an
accessibility tester, but it really tells you if
the tags make logical sense. It is a good manual
tool. When I evaluated the web system for the CSU
23 Campus system in 2007, manual tools turned out
to be most reliable.

JAWS is really not a test device for accessibility
for two reasons: (1) Most people with print
disabilities don't use JAWS, so it is not
representative (2) JAWS is an accommodation device
so it gives false positives. If the author
produces inaccessible material JAWS makes many
accommodations to hide the problem from the user.
If you use JAWS for accessibility testing it
will hide the same problems from you.

The bookmark and page panels in Acrobat Pro and
Reader are an examples of inaccessible interfaces
that is readable by JAWS. You can read these
panels with JAWS, but Acrobat Pro and Reader
override the user's choice of font size given to
the operating system. Since these accessibility
features should be honored, Acobe Acrobat Pro and
Acrobat Reader both fail section 508 1194.21 (b),
but pass a JAWS test. Section 508 ยง 1194.21
(b))... "Applications also shall not disrupt or
disable activated features of any operating system
that are identified as accessibility features
where the application programming interface for
those accessibility features has been documented
by the manufacturer of the operating system and is
available to the product developer."