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Re: PDF vs. HTML


From: John Brandt
Date: May 23, 2004 10:22AM

There have been plenty of folks who have already responded to this
discussion citing all of the things I would have regarding the value of HTML
over PDF... However, may I ask another question?


Is there a way of telling if a PDF has been made accessible by mere review?
In other words...how can you tell, by simply looking at the file in the
standard Acrobat reader if someone has made the effort of making that PDF


John E. Brandt
Augusta, Maine USA


-----Original Message-----
From: christopher.phillips [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Friday, May 21, 2004 1:20 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] PDF vs. HTML

I've been going back and forth this past week with a Director of Teaching
and Learning Technologies at a small community college about the benefits of
HTML vs. those of PDF. Pertaining to accessibility we both agree that a
document needs to be properly marked up regardless of what format it is
going to be displayed in, we disagree however on what format is best to
publish accessible content- HTML or PDF. While I believe that there are
definitely situations where PDF format may be appropriate, my opinion is
that semantic HTML is a better choice for displaying converted Word,
PowerPoint and General content online.
During our discussion, this colleague has summarily dismissed many of the
accessibility concerns with PDF that are raised in the WebAIM
I'm asking for your help for a couple of reasons-
1- I feel unqualified to answer some of his concerns and
2- I'm feeling perhaps a little too personally invested in the dialog we've
been having to trust myself to be objective at this point-

I've posted some of his concerns at:

I know that many of you know much more about PDF than I do and if anyone has
any words of wisdom or advice it would be greatly
Feel free to address any comments back to this list, to me individually or
in the comments section of the blog post above- whatever you feel most
comfortable with.

Thanks much,
Christopher Phillips
Institute for Community Inclusion
UMass Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
Curb Cut Learning

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