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Re: Acrobat instability when using screenreaders

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From: Duff Johnson
Date: Jun 22, 2010 5:33PM


> I've had problems with Acrobat instability when accessing PDF files while using screen readers such as JAWS and NVDA. These files were created using MS Word 2007 and converted to PDFs with the Acrobat PDFMaker plugin for Word. Some of the files also had form elements added in Acrobat Pro 9. The documents read correctly when using Acrobat's internal Read Out Loud functionality and they also show no errors when running Acrobat's Full Accessibility check. The problem appears when accessed while using screen readers - Acrobat becomes sluggish and unstable causing the application to eventually lock up. I've tried processing and testing the documents on different machines but I'll still having the same issues.
>
> Here's a link to one of the files: http://cmstest1.test.utah.edu/sample.pdf
>
> Any Idea what might be causing the problem??

The sample provided isn't tagged correctly. Indeed, it's tagged in a very unorthodox way (page content inside <Form> tags, for example) that might cause instability when the form encounters a screen-reader.

For reference: Acrobat's "Read Out Loud" function is not useful for checking accessibility. See this article:

http://www.appligent.com/talkingpdf-itsoundedlikeagoodideaatthetime

Likewise, Acrobat's accessibility checker is of marginal use in determining accessibility. It has no idea, for example, that this file has all the page-content sitting inside <Form> tags. Nor can it validate the logical order of the content.

Duff Johnson
Appligent Document Solutions, CEO
US Committee for ISO/CD 14289 (PDF/UA), Chair

22 E. Baltimore Ave
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