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Re: LongDesc for documents, not websites


From: Bevi Chagnon | PubCom
Date: Apr 21, 2011 11:39PM

Duff wrote:
" Why post a Word file if you can post a good PDF file instead? :) "

When the document is a work in progress, PDF isn't feasible. An editable
file (a REAL editable file, not the pseudo-editing capabilities in PDF) is
needed as the document is developed, reviewed, and approved. Plus,
government agencies use Word's track changes as an electronic paper trail
throughout the life of the document. Only after it's approved and finalized
does it become a PDF, and usually both the PDF and the Word source file are
stored somewhere on a server or intranet.

Many government documents never become PDFs but stay as Word documents. A
good example are templates for reports, forms, publications, fact sheets,
and research.

So a PDF file is like a one-size-fits-all shirt: it fits some people, but it
really doesn't fit all.

My interpretation of Section 508 standards (well, the forthcoming ones) is
that all information and communication technology must be accessible. So
that includes the working source files (namely Word) and a final PDF.

Given that one of the original intents of Section 508 was to give disabled
federal employees equal access to government information so that they can do
their job, it then doesn't make sense to have only the final PDF accessible
but not the working source file. If the working source file isn't
accessible, that means disabled federal employees aren't able to be on the
work team that is creating that source file.

Granted, it might not be feasible to make all working documents fully
accessible, but there should be a valid attempt to do so.

In sum, a good accessible PDF is fine for part of the workflow, but not the
entire workflow.


P.S. " Final-form electronic documents are almost by-definition PDF files -
or so I'd contend."
Wow, do I disagree! Not from an editor's or designer's viewpoint, that's for
Bevi Chagnon / PubCom
Government publishing specialists, trainers, consultants
Print, press, web, Acrobat PDF and 508
April-May Classes: www.pubcom.com/classes Section 508 Accessibility for
Word, InDesign, and Acrobat PDF