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Re: Screen reader support for PDF forms


From: John E Brandt
Date: Jan 26, 2011 2:36PM


Curious, what did you use to read PDF forms on the Mac OS with VoiceOver?

As I recall - and this was several years ago - the free Adobe Acrobat Reader
(probably version 9) did not work with VoiceOver. In fairness, this was true
of many/most non-native applications (and even a bunch of Apple's own
applications) The only way to simply read a PDF on the Mac was with Preview.
But I'm fairly certain that it reads the content as simple text and not as
tagged content. This might explain why you had poor results with PDF forms.

I know that there is a new Adobe Acrobat Reader (version X) but I have not
downloaded it. So I don't know if it works with VoiceOver.

Has anyone tried Acrobat Reader X on the Mac with VoiceOVer? Andrew, any
word on how Acrobat Reader X works with VoiceOver?

John E. Brandt
Augusta, Maine, USA

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Birkir Rúnar
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 3:33 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Screen reader support for PDF forms


Before Hal v12 there was no pdf form support (no pdf support except reading
the text in a document. Headings, lists and links were not recognized in the
document at all, as of v12 this is no longer the case, though I cannot speak
to specifically how good the support is, if you send me a form you have in
mind I can test it with Hal v12).
I tested pdf with Orca, it did absolutely nothing (this is something I did
last summer, I can dig up precise software and version details), did not
even read the text in the pdf document I tested (I tested with Milestone mp3
player user guide from Bones, accessible pdf document, and a static pdf
form, I can send you the document off list if you want).
VoiceOver did basically just as badly.
That was on a MacMini, OSX, I think 10.6, whatever was the latest available
version in July 2010.
We do this screen reader comparison tests now annually and I will give a
presentation on the set up and results at this year's CSUN conference.
After that I will send the full report out and would appreciate any feedback
or comments.
There may easily be mistakes there, especially in the open source field
where one pdf reader could perform a lot better than another, or some secret
settings have to be configured to drastically improve access.

> Hi,
> I know that PDF forms when built properly are well supported using
> NVDA and JFW. Even dynamic forms are now well supported in current
> releases of those screen readers.
> How well are they supported with other screen readers such as Apple's
> VoiceOver, Dolphin's HAL/SuperNova, GW Micro's Window Eyes or Orca?
> Does anyone have a matrix that lists what is supported by which
> versions? I am particularly interested in dynamic feature support such
> as branching logic and expandable text fields.
> Mike Moore