WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: FTP site opinion


From: Chagnon | PubCom
Date: Feb 28, 2014 12:37PM

Here are some key obstacles I've run into with US and state government

1. Managers and employees are scared. They've heard horror stories about how
difficult, time-consuming, and expensive it is to make a document

2. Managers don't know how to make documents accessible, so they choose to
either ignore the problem, hide the document behind a loophole in the law,
or hire an outside contractor to fix the mess. The last option is very

3. Agencies haven't yet examined their workflow and retooled it for the job
that needs to get done. Right now their workflow is:

Step 1. Make a Word, InDesign, or other document.

Step 2. Either place it online as is, or export it to PDF.

Step 3. Hand off the PDF to someone else who remediates it into compliance.

There are 2 major problems with this workflow; it's extremely difficult and
time-consuming to remediate a PDF, and most users of Word and InDesign don't
really know how to use the software correctly and instead use it by the seat
of their pants. In other words, they make poorly constructed documents which
then go on to become PDF nightmares.

No wonder accessible documents are so difficult and expensive to make!
Agencies are using an illogical, backwards workflow because they don't know
any better.

The solution is to educate the managers so that they understand how
accessible documents can easily be made by their staff, and then train the
users of MS Word, PowerPoint, and Adobe InDesign who create 90% of our

The accessibility problems start with the very first word that's written in
MS Word. Fix the problem there by training the document creators. Basic
training in how to use MS Word correctly solves more than 50% of the
problems and makes accessibility nearly cost-free.

Teaching a man to fish is a lot cheaper than supplying him with fish every

-Bevi Chagnon
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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 2014 - www.Workshop.Pubcom.com

-----Original Message-----
Hi All.
I'm just looking for feedback (opinions) from others in this industry.
Here in Ontario, we are under the direction of the AODA (Accessibility for
Ontarians with Disabilities Act) which stipulates our websites must be WCAG
A compliant, moving to WCAG AA. Of course, like any large organization we
are faced with resistance from certain departments whose material, while
posted to a public site, is not necessarily meant for true public
So my question is this. Are there times when an FTP site is an acceptable
practice for target audiences (thereby bypassing the "law" per se).
Removing my own personal opinion (I am on the side of making all documents
accessible..period, end of story) I am just looking for opinions from
others. Perhaps some of you have faced similar situations with 508.

Logan Trafford
Web Intermediate Systems Developer/Integrator (WCAG Compliance) Corporate
Accessibility Office City of Ottawa
613-580-2424 x13598