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Research proposal: Accessibility support for PDF, Flash, etc.


From: Mark Magennis
Date: Feb 23, 2010 4:30AM

Non-HTML web technologies such as PDF and Flash often present
significant barriers for users with disabilities when used to present
certain types of content or functionality. The key issue is
'accessibility support' - the extent to which these uses are supported
by the access technologies that disabled web users have available to
them. There is little known about current real world levels of
accessibility support within different user populations. This is a
complex issue that desperately needs researching.

We have drafted an outline proposal for some research in this area.
Our idea is to start by facilitating someone in undertaking an MSc by
research in order to systematically and comprehensively measure levels
of support and to investigate some of the surrounding issues. We know
that a good number of people and organizations are already interested
in this area and are researching it themselves. So we would like to
invite collaboration, both to refine our research proposal and to
share any efforts and results that come out of this.

The proposal is on our website at www.cfit.ie and permanently stored
at http://www.cfit.ie/news-and-commentary-archive/293-accessibility-support-research

We welcome any comments, criticisms or collaborations.

By the way, should anyone get the impression that this is an attack or
criticism of Adobe, you're wrong. We acknowledge the real efforts
Adobe have made and continue to make in the accessibility of PDF and
Flash. The reason we single out these two Adobe technologies is simply
due to their importance on the web and the consequent seriousness of
any accessibility barriers that arise in their use. The research
approach could be applied equally well to any other important non-HTML

Mark Magennis
NCBI Centre for Inclusive Technology (CFIT)

National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) is a company
limited by guarantee (registered in Ireland No. 26293) .
Our registered office is at Whitworth Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9.
NCBI is also a registered Charity (chy4626).

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