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Re: PDF will be legally accessible with the new 508


From: Christophe Strobbe
Date: Mar 22, 2010 5:30AM

At 05:37 20/03/2010, John Foliot wrote:
>We know that there are legacy PDF's out there that will not be accessible,
>and likely a few still being created today that are not as rich as
>Acrobat/Live Design could produce. We can only blame that on history and
>poor training though, right? Is this a problem with "PDF" or of poor
>authoring practice and the early history of PDF? (...)

There is still a lot of work to be done to improve authoring
practices. I am involved in several projects funded by the European
Commission that had to rework deliverables because the PDF files were
not accessible or not tagged. I had to teach people how to use
Heading styles in MS Word and how to generate tagged PDF from
OpenOffice.org - even more than a year after the start of these
projects. These projects, as all the work I do, focus on
accessibility for people with disabilities. There is a cruel irony in this.

Lesson learnt: provide tutorials about accessibile authoring
practices at the start of such projects.

>Interesting note about cheap alternatives that generate pseudo-PDFs that
>lack access features. Are you aware of any examples that I could see? It
>would be interesting to see what if anything they do produce - perhaps we
>should go after those software companies instead - I wonder aloud if ISO
>could modify the once proprietary but now open PDF standard to place a
>stronger insistence on accessibility to be called "PDF" (worth asking,
>no?). If bad software tools (versus a file format) is the culprit, we
>should point that out with proof, and attack the real problem. Most large
>organizations that I know of, the majority will not buy faulty tools if
>they can avoid it, so the market place can be our friend if we are smart
>about it.

John, are you looking for overviews like the following?
* JISC TechDIS: "Coparison of Free PDF Software" (no date)
* "Accessibility testing 14 PDF creation tools" (12 September 2009):

Best regards,

Christophe Strobbe

Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 bus 2442
B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
tel: +32 16 32 85 51
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