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Re: PDF will be legally accessible with the new 508


From: Christophe Strobbe
Date: Mar 25, 2010 5:12AM

Dear Monir AlRayes,

At 00:03 25/03/2010, Monir ElRayes wrote:
>I don't think accessibility of document formats has to do with a particular
>screen reader. Note that there are many screen readers out there and they
>have to work according to accessibility standards such as S508 (if they
>don't then it is a problem with the screen reader rather than with the
>standard). Standards are screen reader-independent (as they should) and they
>deal with other disabilities in addition to vision impairment. Hence the
>importance of making sure documents are accessible based on a given standard
>(such as S508) rather than a given screen reader (which may or may not
>provide an accurate implementation of the standard)

Standards are independent of any specific screen reader, but the
accessibility of a document format is not independent of the
capablities of screen readers (or AT in general) as a technology.
That is why WCAG 2.0 defined the concept of "accessibility-supported
* <http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#accessibility-supporteddef>;,

(However, if there is only one screenreader for a specific language,
then the set of accessibility-supported technologies for content in
that language will be determined by what that screenreader supports.
The English-speaking part of the world is spoilt for choice in
assistive technologies compared to some other languages.)

Best regards,

Christophe Strobbe

>Best Regards,
>Monir ElRayes
>NetCentric Technologies
>-----Original Message-----
>[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Don Mauck
>Sent: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 2:40 PM
>To: WebAIM Discussion List
>Subject: Re: [WebAIM] PDF will be legally accessible with the new 508
>I'd disagree with that, it depends on the screen reader.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Monir ElRayes [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
>Sent: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 7:09 AM
>To: WebAIM Discussion List
>Subject: Re: [WebAIM] PDF will be legally accessible with the new 508
>In addition to what Allen said, it is interesting to note that there are two
>other factors that are often confused with whether a given document format
>(e.g. pdf) is accessible:
>1) Does the document format have internal infrastructure that supports
>accessibility? PDF and HTML do for all known accessibility requirements
>related to various document elements (e.g. images, tables, lists etc).
>Interestingly MS Word - which many people view as inherently more accessible
>than PDF- does not have sufficient internal infrastructure to support some
>key elements (e.g. tables)
>2) How difficult is it to make a given format accessible (i.e. to author it
>correctly)? Much of the confusion about the accessibility of PDF is a result
>of the fact that it is very hard for an average user to make a PDF document
>accessible relying solely on the tools provided by Acrobat Pro or Standard,
>not to mention the fact that many PDFs don't even originate in Acrobat.
>Tools like CommonLook (for document remediation in Acrobat
>http://www.net-centric.com/products/cl_s508_adobe.aspx ) and PAW (for
>authoring accessible PDF from MS Word
>http://www.net-centric.com/products/PAW.aspx ) can help overcome the
>inherent difficulty in making PDF accessible.
>Monir ElRayes
>NetCentric Technologies

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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