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JAWS and browser pdf plug-ins

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From: Strange, Lainie
Date: May 29, 2015 8:05AM


Hello - I have been researching an issue over the last week reported by a regular JAWS users that when they access pdf files on a site I maintain, that the pdf file 'hangs' or gives a 'document loading' message and never reads the document. We have discovered that either hitting the back button and forward button or hitting insert + escape to refresh the virtual buffer clears the problem and reads the pdf file normally. I had another fellow JAWS user test various pdf files on different sites I maintain, resulting in the same problem. I even had both users set IE preferences to retrieve new copies of files every time they visit the page, but still same results.

Both users were using IE 11 to open the pdf documents, using varied version of JAWS (14 and 16). I did some research and did discover that enabling fast web view on a pdf file can create problems for JAWS but even after disabling this, the problem persisted. The document was properly tagged, not protected and these were not large files (most under 50kb)

Our conclusion was that the source of the problem was somewhere between the pdf plug-in and JAWS. What are others' experiences? I do know from experience that I have had other problems with pdf plug-ins across many browsers even outside of screen readers. Any thoughts or advice greatly appreciated.

Lainie