WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Document Accessibility Analysis (like the WebAIM Million but for documents)


From: L Snider
Date: Sep 29, 2021 1:25PM

Hi Elizabeth,

I see where you are going, and I would encourage you to continue on!

The one good thing is that InDesign actually makes some of the most
accessible PDFs, but you need to know what to do before you tag it.
You are right on track in my view, as things should be defaults-so in
Word they now do automatic alt tags, but they are done by artificial
intelligence and they are horrible, like totally horrible. So why
can't a box pop up anytime you put in an image so you must do
something about the alt?

I teach InDesign accessible document courses, and there is a ton to
know. They improved that program so much in the last 4-5 years, and I
give Adobe kudos for that work, but why isn't Acrobat that way?
Documents have always been harder, as you said below, because each
program is a silo of its own...word has been updated majorly in many
ways, but Adobe, well I won't rant again about them! The company has
to take accessibility into their workflows of engineering and software
creation, and until that is done, we are still like Leonardo DiCaprio
wanting to get on the door to get out of the water (and we know how
that went in the movie Titanic :)

The other issue I am working on is that neurological, cognitive,
intellectual and learning disabilities are not part of the checkers
(that is more complex due to WCAG and legislation). So people are
producing documents that may be okay for screen reader users, which is
awesome! However, there are so many others that need barriers reduced
in documents. It has been a long fight, many years (and now PhD work),
but I encourage you to try and change things!




On Wed, Sep 29, 2021 at 3:25 PM Elizabeth Thomas < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> Lisa,
> Totally agree with everything you're saying. An automated checker is only the first step in analyzing a document's accessibility. It always requires a human check.
> My thought process was to use the "survey" as a sort of landscape analysis to determine what the most common barriers are (which are obviously limited to things an automated checker can flag and assuming that I'm able to gather a representative sample). I think that's valuable information that can then inform trainings, curricula, software tools, etc. Even if it's just informing my own and no one else pays attention.;)
> For example, Maybe some of the issues in PDFs that originate in InDesign could be fixed by updating the software. Maybe make the default to export a tagged PDF. So people would have to uncheck that option if they want an untagged PDF. But if most PDFs from In be dDesign are tagged, then it's not actually a big issue. However, I wouldn't know that unless I tested a ton of files. I only know that the InDesign PDFs I tend to receive are untagged unless I ask the author to send me a tagged version.
> Additionally, I know what I think the most common issues are, but maybe my experience or perspective is skewed. Maybe the reality of my documents isn't reflective of the larger reality of documents elsewhere.
> Anyway, sounds like something like this doesn't exist. So once I finish remediating this 200 page PDF, maybe I'll think about how to start. ;)
> -Elizabeth Thomas
> Sent from my iPhone
> > On Sep 29, 2021, at 10:52 AM, L Snider < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> >
> > I have thought about this in the past...but the document checkers are
> > usually program based, Word, PDF (except PAC and others like it), etc.
> > Websites are easier this way, as they all have to use HTML code for
> > the base, so they can be easier to check (generalization).
> >
> > In my experience 90% of documents fail on the most basic things-even
> > in disability organizations and governments. Both the PDF and Word
> > checkers are limited in what they check (you do have PAC though for
> > PDF/UA but most people have never heard of UA). Plus, personally,
> > accessibility for me is far more than the checkers, they don't cover a
> > lot.
> >
> > Things have improved slightly within the last 5 years for document
> > accessibility, but with Acrobat being so hard to use (I used it since
> > it came out and still don't understand why a PDF has three or more
> > layers), PDF accessibility is way harder than it needs to be. If EPUBs
> > could use any browser as a viewer, they would take over from PDF-in my
> > personal view...
> >
> > WCAG was created to work with everything digital, but most legislation
> > messed that up because it focused on websites (and I would argue WCAG
> > examples for each criterion and the focus still is on websites in my
> > personal opinion)...which was fine until 2007-8 ish, and then the
> > digital world changed. Websites are only one slice of the pie. Robots,
> > documents, apps, virtual reality, etc. have been the future for a long
> > time...
> >
> > Just my two cents, others may have different mileage!
> >
> > Cheers
> >
> > Lisa
> >
> >> On Wed, Sep 29, 2021 at 10:46 AM Elizabeth Thomas < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> >>
> >> Does anyone know of a large-scale document accessibility analysis?
> >> Something like the WebAIM Million <https://webaim.org/projects/million/>,
> >> but for documents? So maybe an analysis of the top (insert any number here)
> >> most downloaded documents. Download the documents, run them through an
> >> automated checker, and log the issues in some sort of database (or even a
> >> simple Excel worksheet).
> >>
> >> Does that exist? Is anyone working on something like this right now? If
> >> not, I think I found my next side project...
> >>
> >> -Elizabeth Thomas
> >> > >> > >> > >> > >