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Re: PDF will be legally accessible with the new 508


From: Wayne Dick
Date: Mar 21, 2010 12:06PM

Is this good or bad... I don't know. It is.

Properly tagged PDF is structurally accessible by
any reasonable standards. The only issue is
accessibility support.

The view of the Access Board is that accessibility
support for people with sight who are legally
blind also constitutes visual support for people
with low vision who are not legally blind. In the
new draft of the Information Communication
Technology (ICT) report visual accessibility
support consists of one form of visual access that
can be used by people with visual acuity of no
better than 20/200.

I disagree, but there more important things to do
than fight it. I'd rather see a 508 upgrade go
through than slow it for some defects. The
non-visual access that proper PDF provides now
could be extended to complete visual access. That
will open a nice market for someone. The new ICT
forces structural access onto all e-text. Thus,
full accessibility support should be possible.

I think the current task is to built up
accessibility support for the e-text formats to
the level of accessibility support for XML, HTML,
Daisy and MathML. Also, we need to develop sound
statistical data on the efficacy assistive
technology for various populations of low vision.
This large and diverse group of people with
disabilities needs more careful analysis than it
has been given historically.

I think that the outlook for low vision without
blindness will improve when people really try to
read books on smaller screens. Given the current
reading platforms people will start displaying low
vision behaviors: They won't finish books due to
reading fatigue, and they will quit using the
device. To keep a market the successful
manufacturers will look at typography and realize
that that individualized typography is the only
way to enable reading stamina in a restricted