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Re: adobe 6.0 accessibility


From: Holly Marie
Date: Oct 14, 2003 9:44AM

From: "Terence de Giere"

> The use of Acrobat and the PDF format for general use is discussed in
> condemning article by the usability specialist Jakob Nielsen. The
> article, entitled "PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption" is located at
> http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030714.html

Yeah, well, everyone has some sort of opinion and not. JN is not across
the board accessible, either, and his content could use some visual
improvements for those who do better with better chunking of
information, white space and even visual design elements, including
examples, graphics, and diagrams.

Personally, I cannot stand the GUI and usability of PDF as it is viewed
on screen, and I have no accessibility challenges. I just think it is a
clunky, unsmooth interface, lacks ability for copy paste, takes away OS
key functions moving them into the document pdf browsing window[more
often than not] but will say this...

PDF is an excellent alternative for those that cannot read well on
screen, and have otherwise normal vision. For those with eye hand or
motor visual coordination or coginitive challenges... being able to
print that document as intended offers up a way for the user to have the
copy in hand and also apply whatever extra help ... paper blocking that
will scroll while reading line by line, etc. Even those with lower
vision that have magnifying aids to read other general print items may
be able to access printed PDF likewise.

I believe PDF as an alternative to other options is still good for those
who need and wish to deliver print items.

> There are not just the accessibility issues with the widespread use of
> PDF, so there are many arguments to restrict its use. Originally PDF
> conceived as a way to make Adobe's Postscript printer language
> and it mostly developed along the lines of press printing document
> production. Its widespread use can be attributed to the ease with
> one can create PDF files. It is rare that one finds a PDF formatted
> a computer screen. I encountered one the other day believe it or not.

I tend to disagree and think that there are some accessibility items
that do surround PDF in print format.

> Compared to HTML, PDF is slow and cumbersome. Many applications can
> to formats other than their native file format, such as HTML, so this
> option when available is preferable to PDF, even if it needs to be
> cleaned up for the web.

I agree that alternatives need to be available.

>Attempting to convert PDF to a more accessible
> format puts the content one step further removed from the original
> source. Making a tagged PDF file is not necessarily quicker if one
> considers that the tags depend a lot on the original document
> and content may be out sequence.

Well this is so true for *every* form of content delivery.
Garbage in , garbage out.
Semantics, format, and structure somehow got lost along the way, whether
it is web, print[pdf, office, ppt, quark, pagemaker, etc]... if people
do not use tags or elements for clear meaningful use, it breaks for many

> Text boxes and graphics in Word, when
> converted to PDF sometimes show up in the wrong places in the main
> content and it is necessary to manually move them to the correct place
> in the document tag tree, as well as adding descriptive text for

This is true also... and the use of tables as formatting items may also
contribute to some odd transformation along the way.

OCR is often available allowing the content at least to be transformed
to readable text without much formatiting, and is often used by some...

National Library of Medicine(NLM) -
DocMorph and MyMorph
may offer a few free options for conversion for some.

Again, this is not optimal, though available, and having a document
delivered in alternative formats may be best.


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