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Re: PDF accessibility


From: Bevi Chagnon | PubCom
Date: Feb 12, 2010 11:33AM

Geoff asked:
< So what is the yardstick for whether or not an image is decorative or
an artifact? >

Deciding that is like hitting a moving target!
For me, if the graphic helps identify the publication to someone who is
sighted, then it should have a descriptive Alt tag on it for screen reader

Example: If I was in a conversation with another sighted person, I might
refer to this brochure as "the one with the blue brick wall and the
graduation cap on the cover," and that visual description might help my
colleague locate the brochure from a stack on a crowded desk.

If I can imagine that that scenario with a sighted person could take place,
then this graphic should be described to screen reader users, too.

In my 508 classes, I have my students create a hypothetical group of people
talking about their publication. 2 people are sighted, one is blind, and one
is handicapped. Sighted people use a lot of visual shortcuts, such as
calling this brochure "the blue brochure" rather than "the red one," or "the
one with the woman on the cover" rather than the one with the man.

But when we use that language (or fail to Alt-tag significant identifying
graphics), we leave out our blind colleagues. They can't see if it's the
blue brochure unless we've indentified the cover graphic as such.

The photo of the blue brick wall might be decorative, but it's also carrying
significant visual information that is used to identify the publication.

To be an artifact, for me the graphic has to be a totally useless piece of
frou-frou, visual eye-candy, a purely decorative graphic and not useful for
identifying the publication or a section in it.

As a graphic designer, my minimalist design style doesn't use much
frou-frou, so if I put a photo into the document, I want you to see it,
whether you're blind or sighted. Therefore my work isn't going to have as
many artifacts in it as someone else's work.


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Bevi Chagnon | <EMAIL REMOVED> | www.PubCom.com
Consultants + Trainers + Designers | for print, web, marketing, Acrobat, &
PublishingDC Group Co-Moderator |
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