WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Accessible GIS coordinates


From: Chagnon | PubCom
Date: Oct 31, 2013 12:42PM

Jonathan Metz wrote:
"Couldn¹t this be solved by using ActualText, since they are unambiguous as
Olaf points out."

If only we could do that, Jonathan!

Neither MS Word nor Adobe InDesign allow designers to select one text
character, such as the prime glyph or any other dingbat character or symbol,
and set Actual Text for it.

In Word, Actual Text can only be applied to graphic objects. The utility is
actually on the Format Picture command.

In InDesign, Actual Text can only be applied to frames, that is to the
entire text or graphic frame not to just one character.

As an example, a normal publication layout in InDesign would have an entire
column of text in one frame and the glyph, like the prime or any other
non-standard glyph, is just a text character somewhere in the frame with the
rest of the regular text.

So, we can't apply Actual Text to the entire column's text frame.
We also can't select just one glyph and apply Actual Text to it.

We can, however, convert the glyph to a graphic, anchor the graphic into the
body text at the appropriate place, and put Actual Text on the graphic. But
that requires a ridiculous amount of time, especially over the 100+ pages of
a tour book with probably close to 1,000 of these glyphs. And then, when
editors do what they do — edit — this becomes a very messy layout to change.
In this tour book we're working on, this process would add several days of
production time just to make the GIS minutes and seconds glyphs accessible.

Therefore it's not going to happen and this book won't be as accessible as
it should be.

InDesign does a decent job of exporting anchored graphics into the correct
reading order/tag order when the layout is exported to PDF, but with Word,
we're always surprised by where it decides to place anchored graphics in the
exported PDF. They can end up anywhere in the PDF's tag tree/reading order.
And they require a ridiculous amount of time to correct in Acrobat.

The best solution is 2-fold:
1) Screen Reader manufacturers pick up the glyph's name/description from the
font information and voice it.
2) Adobe and Microsoft develop tools to let Actual Text be applied to
individual glyphs. Sort of like the <ABBR> tag in HTML (which isn't
available in Word, InDesign or PDF).

Someone has to figure out a solution to this.

Those of us producing professional publications run into the problem daily.
There are countless times we're using font glyphs as visual shortcuts of
communication, like the end-of-story box at the end of the story.

In this tour book, a character on the Wingdings font is used to visually
flag key scenic points. I have no practical way to convey that visual
information to a screen reader user.

Will the final PDF file be accessible? Yes.
Will it convey all the information to screen reader users? No. I don't have
the tools to do that.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
www.PubCom.com — Trainers, Consultants, Designers, Developers.
Print, Web, Acrobat, XML, eBooks, and U.S. Federal Section 508
New Sec. 508 Workshop & EPUBs Tour in 2013 — www.Workshop.Pubcom.com