WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Printable Brochures


From: Michael.Moore@dars.state.tx.us
Date: Sep 29, 2010 7:48AM

Karen and Duff,

You are both correct we can make the PDFs directly accessible (mostly). The issue that we have with the PDFs is the way that they are created in inDesign. These brochures are, as Karen describes in her book, fragile PDFs. The remediation is very time consuming and often only limited in success and we are talking about a large number of brochures. We also do not have access to the original inDesign files or the assets used to create them.

I believe, but may be swayed otherwise by the bright minds in this group, that even after remediation that the brochures will not be accessible to everyone. By default the visual reading order is incorrect until you print and fold the brochure. I am aware of reflow, but I do not believe that the average person on the street has ever seen that feature. I am not even sure if all PDF readers have the feature, Adobe is not the only game in town. I have seen problems with overlapping text in reflow view, particularly when magnification is applied. This may be another manifestation of the fragile nature of the PDFs that we are working with and the techniques used by the media artists working in inDesign. I have not even mentioned the real world issue that many (most who I have spoken with personally) screen reader users (my personal experience is primarily with JAWS users) regard the PDF format with deep suspicion and approach all PDFs as if they were inaccessible.

So my original question remains. Which is the better alternative, a link to a text transcript that duplicates the content of the PDF or to existing web content that provides more detailed and well organized presentations of the programs described in the brochures? If time and money were not an issue I would probably advocate for all three but even though I work for the government I still live in the real world and I really am here to help. <grin/>

By the way I highly recommend Karen's Book "Accessible and Usable PDF Documents: Techniques for Document Authors" to anyone who is responsible for creating or remediating PDFs.

Mike Moore

-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Karlen Communications
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 5:23 AM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Printable Brochures

I agree and work on tagged PDF tri-fold brochures all the time. If you're
encountering difficulties could it be with the source InDesign documents
and how they are created before exporting to tagged PDF?

Cheers, Karen

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Duff Johnson
Sent: September-29-10 4:04 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Printable Brochures

> My question is this. Would it be better to link from the brochure
libraries to the appropriate program content in the website rather than
duplicate the text of the brochure as a separate document? In my opinion the
website content is more thorough and much easier to navigate than the text
transcript of the brochure or the PDF would be if it were made accessible.

I'n not sure why you think the PDF wouldn't be easy to navigate. Ensure the
tags meet best-practice standards (include appropriate headings, etc), and
it would be precisely as navigable as HTNL.

Duff Johnson
Appligent Document Solutions
Blog: http://www.appligent.com/talkingpdf
Tweets: http://www.twitter.com/duffjohnson