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Re: Printable Brochures


From: Duff Johnson
Date: Oct 1, 2010 8:45AM

> 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.

Ah... not having access to the original ID files certainly makes things harder... but surely, tagging the PDFs would be a lot easier than converting PDFs to decent-looking AND accessible HTML!

> 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.

Reflow cannot help at all with a folding brochure because reflow is page-based - it does not follow logical structure across pages.

> I am not even sure if all PDF readers have the feature, Adobe is not the only game in town.

Correct, most PDF viewers do not have this feature.

> 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.

...which is entirely understandable given that the vast majority of PDF authors fail to tag their PDFs at all, let alone tag them for accessibility.

That situation, however, is changing, albeit slowly.

> 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/>

To begin with, the answer is content-dependant.

If the content is just simple text, then a text transcript would be adequate. If the content includes elements that require structure (such as tables), then you need to choose a solution that accommodates such structures (such as HTML or tagged PDF).

> 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.


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