WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: PDF forms: all form field-related information read outtwice


From: Karlen Communications
Date: Jun 24, 2014 4:37AM

In looking at your process, keep in mind that when creating forms, you add
the form controls before you tab the document. Tagging the document and then
adding the form controls can create an inaccessible form.

I agree with the other response you got for this post: I can either go
through the form reading the text/instructions or by getting a list of form
controls. Having the text tagged gives me access to any information outside
of a form control while being able to reaffirm that I am in the right form
control for what I want to enter is provided by the ToolTips. Many forms
provide information specific to that point in the form and I want to be able
to have access to that content. Also, I can go through the text in a more
granular way while I can't do this with the ToolTips. So if there is one
word or phrase I don't understand, I can go out of forms mode and to the
text of the form/question.

For people with learning, cognitive or visual disabilities, having that
redundant information helps in understanding where they are in the form and
what to enter into the field. If they are using screen reading or
Text-to-Speech software, it can also confirm the Tab Order of the form

Cheers, Karen

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Nasrin Saef
Sent: June 24, 2014 4:00 AM
Subject: [WebAIM] PDF forms: all form field-related information read out

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!

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