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Re: Problematic PDF Form


From: Chagnon | PubCom
Date: Jun 15, 2017 10:07AM

That's a doozie of a PDF form! No wonder you're having problems with it.

Even page two, which is just text, headings, and a list, isn't fully accessible. The headings are P tags and they have blank hard returns between paragraphs (not a strict failure point of accessibility, but its strongly recommended to not do that).

The signs tell me that the creator or creators:
1. Don't have good MS Word skills.
2. Don't have basic accessibility down pat for MS Word and PDF.
3. And they definitely don't know accessibility for PDF forms.

Page 1, the form page, is created with multiple tables with some nested inside another. And some tables have blank rows and cells. As a designer, this type of form with rows and columns is difficult to create without using a table, but the designer needed to take extra steps to make the final form accessible. Generally I prefer to artifact the table structure itself and leave the content for A.T. to read, but this is tough to do with today's tools. (Note, we need better tools in Word, Adobe InDesign, and Acrobat for creating accessible forms.)

These basic construction errors cause some of the problems you've encountered using a screen reader. The reading order is off in many places of the form.

And I didn't find one Form field tag (a form control) in the entire form.

Since the PDF is locked, I can't delve into the form field creation section of Acrobat and diagnose what's going on with this.

But without form controls, you don't have much accessibility of the form fields themselves and definitely no control of the field reading order, reading the labels, and other items.

Purchase Karen McCall's "Bible" of PDF accessibility. She has an entire chapter on making accessible fillable PDF forms (starts on page 539).

You can purchase a digital copy from www.PubCom.com/books. All of Karen's books are fully accessible themselves.

--Bevi Chagnon

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Bevi Chagnon | www.PubCom.com
Technologists, Consultants, Trainers, Designers, and Developers
for publishing & communication
| Acrobat PDF | Print | EPUBS | Sec. 508 Accessibility |
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-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Sarah Jevnikar
Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2017 9:40 AM
Subject: [WebAIM] Problematic PDF Form

Hi everyone,
I am a screen reader user (JAWS and NVDA on Windows 10) user and I was asked to review a site for my employer. The following form was on the site, and I was given permission to share it with the list. It appears oddly. The forms appeared labelled for awhile, but then were unlabelled. I also discovered that moving between fields with the arrow keys, the tab key, and "f" for form field navigation all produced different results. Some field were skipped over completely and others have different labels depending on the means used to find them. I'm using Adobe Reader so don't think I have access to the accessibility checker found in the full Adobe Acrobat.

My questions are these:
1. What's going wrong here?
2. How can it be fixed?
3. How can I better evaluate these forms to understand what's going wrong in future?

Thank you very much,