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PDF forms: all form field-related information read out twice


From: Nasrin Saef
Date: Jun 24, 2014 2:00AM

Hello list,

I have a questioning concerning accessible pdf forms and I'd be really
grateful for any suggestions you can make. (As for my background: I'm
responsible for ensuring the accessibility of my agency's documents, but
I'm relatively new to the field. So while I do think I got the basics,
there probably are plenty of use cases I just don't think about yet).

When creating a pdf form, so far I went through two basic steps:

- create a tagged pdf from a well-formatted word document with blank
space for the form fields
- add the form fields in Acrobat, include tool tips and put the form
tags on them

Now there are two ways I can see of accessing the form:

1. simply read everything, either from the beginning or from any other
point of the form (page, bookmark, etc.)
2. tab through the form fields

The latter is not a problem - I've included tool tips that always give
enough information to know which part of the form the user is in and, of
course, what information to enter into the field.
But because of that, the former is problematic. Currently, the text in the
document is tagged, and the form fields have tool tips - both are read out.
This results in voice feedback like this: "Name. Form field 'Name of the
institution'. Empty.", or "Contact me by: Radio button 'phone' phone. Radio
button 'email' email." etc. This can range from being mildy annoying for
short descriptions like the ones given above, and a real pain for a
selection between 20 radio buttons some of which have pretty long names
(real example and no way around it).

So, is there any way to avoid this? Removing the content tags which include
the names of the form fields works (then only the tool tip is read out),
but I'm worried there are situations in which these would be necessary and
I might involutarily render my form inaccessible. Are there other ways
people access forms that I haven't thought about?

Let me finish by saying I'm really glad this list exists, since I started
working in the field I've found quite the big amount of good hints, useful
links and insightful discussions here!