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Re: Printable Brochures


From: Shirley Hicks
Date: Sep 29, 2010 8:21AM

Good morning all,

Forgive me for jumping in at this point; I've lurked on the list for a
couple of years.
I'm in the middle of a career transition from print production to
software development
and systems administration. Currently back at school for computer
science, but know
the Adobe products well.

One of the issues still to be addressed in both the print and web
production worlds is a unified
content flow. RIght now, content for destined for the two different
mediums flows through
different production formats, with different encoding and tagging

There are technical and historical reasons for this, mainly to due
with a forking of formatting methods
and languages in the move forward from Compugraphic typesetting
systems to desktop composition
systems. When HTML was developed, it was based on SGML, the original
Compugraphic markup language.
However, the initial Adobe products used their own markup language and
the two didn't talk well for, oh,
about 15-17 years.

The ultimate solution is to use a common formatting markup structure,
with final formatting being
applied late in the game dependent on final destination. Two years
ago, I saw (and played with)
the first long document production package that used HTML and CSS to
style documents for
commercial print output.

It's called Flare and it's produced by a company called MadCap
(website is http://www.madcapsoftware.com, not sure how accessible it

This is not the only application I saw that could do this, but it was
the first one that I'd seen that could
produce final files that I'd want to deal with as a pre-press

Having seen that, I knew it was time to start getting ready for the
next wave of change that will
soon hit the printing industry.

While this won't solve the immediate problem being discussed, I think
that it's worth noting that
there is at least one print-production compatible software package
available that is worth exploring
to see if it will allow cleaner tagging within generated pdfs for the
visually impaired population.

As part of the discussion here, my own take would be that the fastest,
easiest solution would be to get
the upstream (pre-production or extracted) text files, clean them up
and structure them with HTML and CSS.

WIll be looking for the book.

Shirley Hicks
BIrmingham, AL

On 29-Sep-10, at 8:47 AM, < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> 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