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Re: JAWS and browser pdf plug-ins

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From: Moore,Michael (DARS)
Date: May 29, 2015 8:46AM


The browser plug-in PDF reader has been historically problematic. Users should set Adobe Reader to always open the PDF in the stand alone reader. This will reduce the number of problems that they will experience. When the file opens in a separate reader this forces the buffer to be cleared.

That said, we still encounter instances where JAWS will not start to read the document after it opens and the user must force a refresh. This varies day-to-day from machine to machine. We call it the snowflake effect. Experience JAWS users should be used to this behavior.

Mike Moore
Accessibility Coordinator,
Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
(512) 424-4159 (Office)
(512) 574-0091 (Cell)


-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Strange, Lainie
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2015 9:05 AM
To: ' <EMAIL REMOVED> '
Subject: [WebAIM] JAWS and browser pdf plug-ins

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