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Thread: PDF remediation

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Number of posts in this thread: 21 (In chronological order)

From: Sarah Ferguson
Date: Thu, Oct 19 2017 10:15AM
Subject: PDF remediation
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What is/are everyone's favorite tool(s) for making PDFs accessible and why?

I'm not talking about services, just tools for doing it yourself. I've used
several over the years, but I'm wondering if there are any hidden gems out
there :)


Sarah

From: Denis Boudreau
Date: Thu, Oct 19 2017 10:31AM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

Hello Sarah,

As imperfect as it remains to this day, I can't think of a better tool than Acrobat Pro to do PDF remediation. As a matter of fact, I can't think of any other tool I'd trust to do that kind of work. What else have you tried?

/Denis

--
Denis Boudreau,
Accessibility, user experience & inclusive design
Cell: +1-514-730-9168
Email:  = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Twitter: @dboudreau [http://www.twitter.com/dboudreau]


/Denis

--
Denis Boudreau,
Accessibility, user experience & inclusive design
Cell: +1-514-730-9168
Email:  = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Twitter: @dboudreau [http://www.twitter.com/dboudreau]


On 2017-10-19 12:16:42 PM, Sarah Ferguson < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
What is/are everyone's favorite tool(s) for making PDFs accessible and why?

I'm not talking about services, just tools for doing it yourself. I've used
several over the years, but I'm wondering if there are any hidden gems out
there :)


Sarah

From: L Snider
Date: Thu, Oct 19 2017 10:37AM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

Hi Sarah,

You may have used this already, but it is a great checker (in addition to
Acrobat Pro's features) that works with the Matterhorn Protocol:

http://www.access-for-all.ch/ch/pdf-werkstatt/pdf-accessibility-checker-pac.html

Cheers

Lisa

On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 11:15 AM, Sarah Ferguson < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> What is/are everyone's favorite tool(s) for making PDFs accessible and why?
>
> I'm not talking about services, just tools for doing it yourself. I've used
> several over the years, but I'm wondering if there are any hidden gems out
> there :)
>
>
> Sarah
> > > > >

From: Sarah Ferguson
Date: Thu, Oct 19 2017 11:01AM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

Denis, I mostly use Acrobat Pro, as well. It is very buggy and crashes a
lot. I'm training others to use Acrobat and it's a huge learning curve for
a lot of them. I haven't tried too many other tools for several years,
because I wasn't happy with them back then. I'm playing around in
CommonLook, PAVE, axesPDF so far to see how they do. Just wondering what
else is worth trying. I'd love to have an easy to use alternative for
people whose eyes glaze over with Adobe or for days when Adobe just won't
stop crashing (it does seem to have good days and bad days).

Lisa, I will look into that one, thanks! I think I once tried an older
version of it, but it's worth seeing how they have improved.

Sarah

On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 12:37 PM, L Snider < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Hi Sarah,
>
> You may have used this already, but it is a great checker (in addition to
> Acrobat Pro's features) that works with the Matterhorn Protocol:
>
> http://www.access-for-all.ch/ch/pdf-werkstatt/pdf-
> accessibility-checker-pac.html
>
> Cheers
>
> Lisa
>
> On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 11:15 AM, Sarah Ferguson < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> wrote:
>
> > What is/are everyone's favorite tool(s) for making PDFs accessible and
> why?
> >
> > I'm not talking about services, just tools for doing it yourself. I've
> used
> > several over the years, but I'm wondering if there are any hidden gems
> out
> > there :)
> >
> >
> > Sarah
> > > > > > > > > >
> > > > >

From: Josh Schroder
Date: Thu, Oct 19 2017 11:06AM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

I'm a big fan of CommonLook PDF.
It's essentially a very expensive plugin for acrobat that makes things WAY faster.

Here are some reasons why:
1 -- It makes quick work of generating properly tagged tables and lists
2 -- It's pretty good at linearizing tables
3 -- It can merge tags where needed
4 -- There's an extensive set of keyboard shortcuts, which are much faster than using a mouse
5 -- The automated checker is vastly superior to Acrobat
6 -- A PDF "integrity validator" is included, which can correct problems with anomalous or otherwise corrupt files

And some caveats:
1 -- Not a replacement for Acrobat, but an enhancement
2 -- Creating fillable forms still requires some work in Acrobat
3 -- OCR still needs to be done in Acrobat
4 -- It's not great at tagging nested lists, so it does require some intervention, but still faster than doing it manually

Josh Schroder
Web Administrator II
Office of Strategic Communications
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
(512) 936-8937

Josh Schroder
Web Administrator II
Office of Strategic Communications
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
(512) 936-8937

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Sarah Ferguson
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2017 12:01 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] PDF remediation

Denis, I mostly use Acrobat Pro, as well. It is very buggy and crashes a lot. I'm training others to use Acrobat and it's a huge learning curve for a lot of them. I haven't tried too many other tools for several years, because I wasn't happy with them back then. I'm playing around in CommonLook, PAVE, axesPDF so far to see how they do. Just wondering what else is worth trying. I'd love to have an easy to use alternative for people whose eyes glaze over with Adobe or for days when Adobe just won't stop crashing (it does seem to have good days and bad days).

Lisa, I will look into that one, thanks! I think I once tried an older version of it, but it's worth seeing how they have improved.

Sarah

On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 12:37 PM, L Snider < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Hi Sarah,
>
> You may have used this already, but it is a great checker (in addition
> to Acrobat Pro's features) that works with the Matterhorn Protocol:
>
> http://www.access-for-all.ch/ch/pdf-werkstatt/pdf-
> accessibility-checker-pac.html
>
> Cheers
>
> Lisa
>
> On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 11:15 AM, Sarah Ferguson < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> wrote:
>
> > What is/are everyone's favorite tool(s) for making PDFs accessible
> > and
> why?
> >
> > I'm not talking about services, just tools for doing it yourself.
> > I've
> used
> > several over the years, but I'm wondering if there are any hidden
> > gems
> out
> > there :)
> >
> >
> > Sarah
> > > > > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > >
> > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> >

From: Bim Egan
Date: Thu, Oct 19 2017 11:39AM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

OMG! That sounds like a miracle!

I've been struggling for years with Acrobat 9 using a combination of all
discoverable keyboard shortcuts with magnification at X16 for things that
are mouse essential. This year, Acrobat 9 seems to have taken a long
vacation. Even when I've added tags and everything seems good in Adobe
Reader, the file opens up as inaccessible in Acrobat. The resultant juggling
act made me give up on PDF remediation. No upgrade? No chance. I cannot cope
with ribbons. Call me T Rex for short :)

Thanks very much for this Josh. I doubt it would work with an ancient
Acrobat though. But it gives me hope for the future. A nice feeling on the
edge of retirement. Yup, both me and the Acrobat!

Cheers,

Bim

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf
Of Josh Schroder
Sent: 19 October 2017 18:07
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] PDF remediation

I'm a big fan of CommonLook PDF.
It's essentially a very expensive plugin for acrobat that makes things WAY
faster.

Here are some reasons why:
1 -- It makes quick work of generating properly tagged tables and lists
2 -- It's pretty good at linearizing tables
3 -- It can merge tags where needed
4 -- There's an extensive set of keyboard shortcuts, which are much faster
than using a mouse
5 -- The automated checker is vastly superior to Acrobat
6 -- A PDF "integrity validator" is included, which can correct problems
with anomalous or otherwise corrupt files

And some caveats:
1 -- Not a replacement for Acrobat, but an enhancement
2 -- Creating fillable forms still requires some work in Acrobat
3 -- OCR still needs to be done in Acrobat
4 -- It's not great at tagging nested lists, so it does require some
intervention, but still faster than doing it manually

Josh Schroder
Web Administrator II
Office of Strategic Communications
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
(512) 936-8937

Josh Schroder
Web Administrator II
Office of Strategic Communications
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
(512) 936-8937

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf
Of Sarah Ferguson
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2017 12:01 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] PDF remediation

Denis, I mostly use Acrobat Pro, as well. It is very buggy and crashes a
lot. I'm training others to use Acrobat and it's a huge learning curve for a
lot of them. I haven't tried too many other tools for several years, because
I wasn't happy with them back then. I'm playing around in CommonLook, PAVE,
axesPDF so far to see how they do. Just wondering what else is worth trying.
I'd love to have an easy to use alternative for people whose eyes glaze over
with Adobe or for days when Adobe just won't stop crashing (it does seem to
have good days and bad days).

Lisa, I will look into that one, thanks! I think I once tried an older
version of it, but it's worth seeing how they have improved.

Sarah

On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 12:37 PM, L Snider < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Hi Sarah,
>
> You may have used this already, but it is a great checker (in addition
> to Acrobat Pro's features) that works with the Matterhorn Protocol:
>
> http://www.access-for-all.ch/ch/pdf-werkstatt/pdf-
> accessibility-checker-pac.html
>
> Cheers
>
> Lisa
>
> On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 11:15 AM, Sarah Ferguson < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> wrote:
>
> > What is/are everyone's favorite tool(s) for making PDFs accessible
> > and
> why?
> >
> > I'm not talking about services, just tools for doing it yourself.
> > I've
> used
> > several over the years, but I'm wondering if there are any hidden
> > gems
> out
> > there :)
> >
> >
> > Sarah
> > > > > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > >
> > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> >
http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
---
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
http://www.avg.com

From: Chagnon | PubCom
Date: Thu, Oct 19 2017 11:52AM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

<< I've been struggling for years with Acrobat 9 >>

Acrobat 9 is grossly out of date (2008, 9 years ago) and didn't have good enough tools to check and remediate PDFs. Certainly didn't have a checker geared to WCAG 2.0 and PDF/UA-1.

Update to DC Pro (aka, version 12). And if Adobe keeps to its usual 2-year upgrade schedule, we should see the next version within the next 6 months.

But why not remediate the source document?
Or instruct the author to remediate it?
Or develop accessible templates for authors to use in Word, PowerPoint, and Adobe InDesign that create accessible PDFs?

Isn't it sounder to create the file correctly from the start...and not have to spend the time or money to fix it afterwards?

Does anyone have the time and budget today to fix thousands of PDFs every year that should have been created correctly from the start?

Love CommonLook...it saves the day when needed.
But it is a very costly and time-consuming solution to the problem, PDF after PDF after PDF.

--Bevi Chagnon

— — —
Bevi Chagnon | www.PubCom.com
Technologists, Consultants, Trainers, Designers, and Developers
for publishing & communication
| Acrobat PDF | Print | EPUBS | Sec. 508 Accessibility |
— — —

From: Bim Egan
Date: Thu, Oct 19 2017 2:10PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

Hi Bevi,

I agree with everything you say.

If I weren't an almost blind screen reader user I would have upgraded years
ago. In fact, if memory serves, I did; but found the adjustment to new
processes / shortcuts / other changes too difficult. Partly because
interaction with Acrobat was occasional rather than regular. . I use it only
for evaluation and most of my evaluation work is on web pages and most of
PDF error spotting can be done with the screenreader as the primary tool.

The only thing Acrobat does that Reader can't do equally well in error
spotting is expose the existence and exposure state of the file title. Plus,
of course, which software was used to create the original file. For that I
used Acrobat. Obviously I needed to know the originating software, so that
remedial action recommendations could be made as relevant as possible.

Best,

Bim


-----Original Message-----
From: Chagnon | PubCom [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Sent: 19 October 2017 18:53
To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ; 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: RE: [WebAIM] PDF remediation

<< I've been struggling for years with Acrobat 9 >>

Acrobat 9 is grossly out of date (2008, 9 years ago) and didn't have good
enough tools to check and remediate PDFs. Certainly didn't have a checker
geared to WCAG 2.0 and PDF/UA-1.

Update to DC Pro (aka, version 12). And if Adobe keeps to its usual 2-year
upgrade schedule, we should see the next version within the next 6 months.

But why not remediate the source document?
Or instruct the author to remediate it?
Or develop accessible templates for authors to use in Word, PowerPoint, and
Adobe InDesign that create accessible PDFs?

Isn't it sounder to create the file correctly from the start...and not have
to spend the time or money to fix it afterwards?

Does anyone have the time and budget today to fix thousands of PDFs every
year that should have been created correctly from the start?

Love CommonLook...it saves the day when needed.
But it is a very costly and time-consuming solution to the problem, PDF
after PDF after PDF.

--Bevi Chagnon

- - -
Bevi Chagnon | www.PubCom.com
Technologists, Consultants, Trainers, Designers, and Developers for
publishing & communication
| Acrobat PDF | Print | EPUBS | Sec. 508 Accessibility |
- - -





---
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
http://www.avg.com

From: Alan Zaitchik
Date: Thu, Oct 19 2017 2:16PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

Lisa,
I gave that access-for-all PDF checker a spin with a PDF I had worked on
quite intensely. My document failed because of untagged content. But the
untagged content was all either white space or lines around buttons and
table cells and the like. In Acrobat it was mostly artifacts or
annotations, and I have always assumed that this was not a problem. Do you
think I can dismiss these failures as false positives?
Alan



On 10/19/17, 12:37 PM, "L Snider" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

>Hi Sarah,
>
>You may have used this already, but it is a great checker (in addition to
>Acrobat Pro's features) that works with the Matterhorn Protocol:
>
>http://www.access-for-all.ch/ch/pdf-werkstatt/pdf-accessibility-checker-pa
>c.html
>
>Cheers
>
>Lisa
>
>On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 11:15 AM, Sarah Ferguson < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
>wrote:
>
>> What is/are everyone's favorite tool(s) for making PDFs accessible and
>>why?
>>
>> I'm not talking about services, just tools for doing it yourself. I've
>>used
>> several over the years, but I'm wondering if there are any hidden gems
>>out
>> there :)
>>
>>
>> Sarah
>> >> >> >> >>
>

From: Chagnon | PubCom
Date: Thu, Oct 19 2017 2:48PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

Untagged content is a failure in PDFs.

So those blank spaces, table cell borders, etc. should be artifacted with either Acrobat's tools or another program's tools. The annotations problem is usually because of faulty formatting/creation in the source document.

And, of course, the best solution for all of these problems is:

1. Create better source documents.

2. Don't put double black returns in your source documents, which then won't put those blank untagged elements into the PDF;

3. Don't put colored borders and background tints in tables because they don't convert well to PDFs. (This is a known Word problem, not a PDF problem. FYI, InDesign's borders and shading on tables converts perfectly.)

4. Update your software to the latest versions of Office, InDesign, and Acrobat. Many of these problems have been corrected or are being corrected in forthcoming releases.

-Bevi Chagnon

— — —
Bevi Chagnon | www.PubCom.com
Technologists, Consultants, Trainers, Designers, and Developers
for publishing & communication
| Acrobat PDF | Print | EPUBS | Sec. 508 Accessibility |
— — —

From: Sean Keegan
Date: Fri, Oct 20 2017 8:36PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

> What is/are everyone's favorite tool(s) for making PDFs
> accessible and why?

In addition to the other tools listed, have you tried Equidox? It is a
software-as-a-service option that allows you to import PDF documents, make
changes for accessibility, and then export as a tagged PDF version.

We are supporting this option to colleges who are looking for a PDF
remediation solution and are not able to or do not wish to use Adobe
Acrobat.

Take care,
Sean

From: Denis Boudreau
Date: Fri, Oct 20 2017 9:45PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

Hi Sean, first I hear about Equidox, thanks for bringing it up. In your experience, how good is it at turning an inaccessible PDF into one we would consider accessible, or at least WCAG 2.0 AA compliant? If you ran a PDF made accessible with Equidox, would it pass the Acrobat accessibility checker, or PAC2?

/Denis

--
Denis Boudreau,
Accessibility, user experience & inclusive design
Cell: +1-514-730-9168
Email:  = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Twitter: @dboudreau [http://www.twitter.com/dboudreau]


/Denis

--
Denis Boudreau,
Accessibility, user experience & inclusive design
Cell: +1-514-730-9168
Email:  = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Twitter: @dboudreau [http://www.twitter.com/dboudreau]


On 2017-10-20 10:36:12 PM, Sean Keegan < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> What is/are everyone's favorite tool(s) for making PDFs
> accessible and why?

In addition to the other tools listed, have you tried Equidox? It is a
software-as-a-service option that allows you to import PDF documents, make
changes for accessibility, and then export as a tagged PDF version.

We are supporting this option to colleges who are looking for a PDF
remediation solution and are not able to or do not wish to use Adobe
Acrobat.

Take care,
Sean

From: Thompson, Rachel
Date: Fri, Oct 20 2017 10:04PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

To take this thread in a different direction, we have a backlog of PDF files that we want to have made accessible. We are addressing current docs and educating the folks who make them, but My thought is that the older files would be best addressed en masse and outsourced.

Have you followed this approach and, if so, could you share how it has gone and what you did?

Thanks and hope you have a good weekend,
Rachel

Dr. Rachel S. Thompson
Director, Emerging Technology and Accessibility
Office of Information Technology
University of Alabama

> On Oct 20, 2017, at 10:45 PM, "Denis Boudreau" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
> Hi Sean, first I hear about Equidox, thanks for bringing it up. In your experience, how good is it at turning an inaccessible PDF into one we would consider accessible, or at least WCAG 2.0 AA compliant? If you ran a PDF made accessible with Equidox, would it pass the Acrobat accessibility checker, or PAC2?
>
> /Denis
>
> --
> Denis Boudreau,
> Accessibility, user experience & inclusive design
> Cell: +1-514-730-9168
> Email: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
> Twitter: @dboudreau [http://www.twitter.com/dboudreau]
>
>
> /Denis
>
> --
> Denis Boudreau,
> Accessibility, user experience & inclusive design
> Cell: +1-514-730-9168
> Email: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
> Twitter: @dboudreau [http://www.twitter.com/dboudreau]
>
>
>> On 2017-10-20 10:36:12 PM, Sean Keegan < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>> What is/are everyone's favorite tool(s) for making PDFs
>> accessible and why?
>
> In addition to the other tools listed, have you tried Equidox? It is a
> software-as-a-service option that allows you to import PDF documents, make
> changes for accessibility, and then export as a tagged PDF version.
>
> We are supporting this option to colleges who are looking for a PDF
> remediation solution and are not able to or do not wish to use Adobe
> Acrobat.
>
> Take care,
> Sean
> > > > > > > >

From: Sean Keegan
Date: Sun, Oct 22 2017 12:26PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

Hey Denis,

> In your experience, how good is it at turning an inaccessible PDF into
one we
> would consider accessible, or at least WCAG 2.0 AA compliant? If you ran
a PDF
> made accessible with Equidox, would it pass the Acrobat accessibility
> checker, or PAC2?

Overall, it does a good job with most types of PDF documents. There have
been one or two issues with how background images and text are recognized
with PDFs originating from Adobe Illustrator, but these seem to have been
outlier issues. One thing I do like about the tool is a "sensitivity"
slider that sets a zone for the content. By moving the sensitivity slider,
you can quickly change the regions and zones on the page to include or
exclude text content. Another feature that works (mostly) is a Preview
option that provides a linearized view of the page content. That helps
identify where the logical structure of the page is incorrect.

Yes - you can use Equidox to create PDFs that pass the Acrobat
accessibility checker. After making corrections in Equidox, I generally run
the PDF through the Acrobat accessibility checker to perform a quick
verification of my edits. So far, the checker only reports the need to
perform the manual tests. I have not tested with PAC2.

I am encountering some issues with PDFs created from PowerPoint in that all
images were being recognized, including those that were intended as
background content. I suspect these background images were just dropped
into the slides and not managed via the Master template. Their development
team has been very responsive, so I don't expect this to be a problem going
forward.

Take care,
Sean

From: Sean Keegan
Date: Sun, Oct 22 2017 12:59PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

> We are addressing current docs and educating the folks who make them,
> but My thought is that the older files would be best addressed en masse
> and outsourced.

Yes, this is similar to an overall strategy I had considered for colleges
consisting of:
1) provide training to increase the prevalence of accessible documents and
reduce the need for remediation;
2) provide a centralized tool to assist in remediation efforts, as needed;
3) identify a 3rd-party vendor through an RFP process to support complex
documents, bulk processing of older files, etc.

Even though we identified a 3rd-party with specified price points, the
problem has been that not too many people want to take advantage of that
option. I think for many it sounds great in the moment, but when it comes
time to proceed with a financial commitment, there is no completion of the
process. Anecdotal evidence seems to point to hiring students instead to do
that bulk processing of older documents, but there also does not seem to be
a cost analysis is such decisions.

In some respects, I think the PDF accessibility and remediation effort at
an institutional level will need to happen in a way similar to that of
captioning. When you see an internal institutional policy and/or
requirements that all public-facing PDF documents must meet a specified
standard, then I believe there will be more interest in pursuing 3rd-party
options.

Take care,
Sean

From: Denis Boudreau
Date: Mon, Oct 23 2017 12:36PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

Thanks Sean, that's very useful to know.

/Denis

--
Denis Boudreau,
Accessibility, user experience & inclusive design
Cell: +1-514-730-9168
Email:  = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Twitter: @dboudreau [http://www.twitter.com/dboudreau]

On 2017-10-22 2:26:12 PM, Sean Keegan < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
Hey Denis,

> In your experience, how good is it at turning an inaccessible PDF into
one we
> would consider accessible, or at least WCAG 2.0 AA compliant? If you ran
a PDF
> made accessible with Equidox, would it pass the Acrobat accessibility
> checker, or PAC2?

Overall, it does a good job with most types of PDF documents. There have
been one or two issues with how background images and text are recognized
with PDFs originating from Adobe Illustrator, but these seem to have been
outlier issues. One thing I do like about the tool is a "sensitivity"
slider that sets a zone for the content. By moving the sensitivity slider,
you can quickly change the regions and zones on the page to include or
exclude text content. Another feature that works (mostly) is a Preview
option that provides a linearized view of the page content. That helps
identify where the logical structure of the page is incorrect.

Yes - you can use Equidox to create PDFs that pass the Acrobat
accessibility checker. After making corrections in Equidox, I generally run
the PDF through the Acrobat accessibility checker to perform a quick
verification of my edits. So far, the checker only reports the need to
perform the manual tests. I have not tested with PAC2.

I am encountering some issues with PDFs created from PowerPoint in that all
images were being recognized, including those that were intended as
background content. I suspect these background images were just dropped
into the slides and not managed via the Master template. Their development
team has been very responsive, so I don't expect this to be a problem going
forward.

Take care,
Sean

From: Metzessible
Date: Mon, Oct 23 2017 1:31PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

Great question! I love complaining about PDF tools.

I'd honestly never heard of PAVE, so I decided to give it a whirl. It's an
interesting concept, but leaves much to be imagined in terms of providing
an actual accessible PDF beyond what a user can do by merely using the
'Print' function on the authoring file. It's also really confusing to use,
as it will tell me there's a problem with the PDF, but it doesn't actually
show me where the problem is. I'm also irritated that error handling solely
relies on color formatting. This is probably the most basic accessibility
mistake a developer can make, which instantly made me suspect the PDF
results would be extremely subpar. All this is said with the
acknowledgement that it's hard to complain about free software, since you
get what you pay for.

I evaluated AxesPDF recently and received the following errors evaluating
the software:

1. *Syntax error:* Operator ‘h’ is not allowed in the current state.
2. *Syntax error:*Operator ‘f’ is not allowed in the current state.

Unlike free software, I CAN complain about this. For over $700 USD per
license, I'd expect it to work out of the box, and give me better error
explanations. I also expect it to be intuitive to use (The UI reminds me of
one of those old OSX X11 apps from years back), or at least provide a basic
concept of how the rudimentary workflow is supposed to be managed. It did
none of these things, and was left irritated after I tried it. I know
several other SMEs in the field use this software for remediation, but I'm
not impressed at all with the level of accessible PDF it returns with the
PDF/UA flag attached. I can go into much further detail about it if anyone
cares to hear my thoughts about it, but I won't be buying this software
because of my evaluation.

I've tried reaching out to CommonLook four times for a demo, and no one has
ever contacted me. So I can't speak about it as a solution that's any
better or worse than anything else. However, I use CommonLook Validator
(the free QA tool they provide) religiously. Quite honestly, I'll never
understand why anyone would ever rely on a vendor's included accessibility
checker to evaluate mistakes. You're only going to be looking at the things
that the vendor understands about a given problem, not according to
existing standards.

In any case, if CommonLook GA is similar to Validator, the UI might be a
bit clunky if you're already having problems training colleagues on how to
use a program like Acrobat. The errors in Validator provide no explanation
to why something is considered an error or warning, and it uses language
which requires a solid understanding of PDF that most people clearly lack
in general. Also, it cannot seem to identify pagination artifacts at all.
While it states that for the purpose of testing it marks them as artifacts
for you, it still shows up as a failure. The reports they generate are very
helpful, but this (and other issues, like missing BBox attributes which
clearly exist) must be sanitized from the final report after the fact. This
can make for a time consuming analysis, especially if you rely on these
reports for QA, Kirkpatrick training supplements, or for CMMI CM, MM or
PPQA Process Improvement evidence.

I've heard great things about Equidox. The price seems a bit high at first
glance (1200 for 10 licenses for education). However, I don't think you
need Acrobat for it, which makes it only $120 per person. I'm a bit
concerned about how astronomical the commercial license would be. The one
thing that I didn't like was that it was per-page remediation, and very
visual in how you use it. It seems to take all the things people like about
using the Touchup Reading Order Panel in Acrobat and makes it usable and
effective. Also, it's worth noting, I've never seen a PDF from this SASS,
so I can't speak to it's quality either.

The one thing I have played around with when I get chances to use it is
Tesseract for OCR. It's a bit more complex of a tool, but the results are
amazing. In fact, using Tesseract with Adobe's built-in autotag feature is
like what would happen if you found some free audio software that could
make YouTube captions with 90% accuracy. It's really powerful, yet
extremely confusing and difficult to learn.

That said, my go to tool is still Acrobat. I use both a mac and PC, but I
prefer the subtleties of the Mac Acrobat version over the PC version. When
I'm editing a bunch of tags, it's often easier and less time consuming to
single-click the tag, then click again to enter it. In later versions of
Acrobat for the PC, this seems to require extra clicks. But it's not the
end of the world, and therefore Acrobat is my go-to tool of choice
regardless. My main problem is that Adobe made the software a Jack of All
Trades, yet a Master of None. So it handles everything under the sun that
is related to PDF, but it does them equally badly. That said, one could
theoretically use the command line to remediate PDFs, but why would anyone
go through that much trouble? Acrobat is what it is, but it's still the
defacto industry standard, and will most likely be going forward for the
foreseeable future. Software companies either try to reinvent the wheel by
blatantly ignoring the ISO standards, or make something that requires you
to own Acrobat in the first place.

Though, I'm actually a service provider myself, so what works for me as a
PDF a11y expert might not work for your situation. Therefore, I have to
agree with Bevi that the best solution is to create the most accessible
authored file you can BEFORE it goes to Acrobat so you have more hair at
the end of remediation! In fact, you can automate most of your Word file
backlog using macros and VBA once you have accessible templates in place.
This makes remediation that much easier, especially since you have the
original files.

Jon Metz

On Mon, Oct 23, 2017 at 2:36 PM, Denis Boudreau < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
wrote:

> Thanks Sean, that's very useful to know.
>
> /Denis
>
> --
> Denis Boudreau,
> Accessibility, user experience & inclusive design
> Cell: +1-514-730-9168
> Email: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
> Twitter: @dboudreau [http://www.twitter.com/dboudreau]
>
> On 2017-10-22 2:26:12 PM, Sean Keegan < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> Hey Denis,
>
> > In your experience, how good is it at turning an inaccessible PDF into
> one we
> > would consider accessible, or at least WCAG 2.0 AA compliant? If you ran
> a PDF
> > made accessible with Equidox, would it pass the Acrobat accessibility
> > checker, or PAC2?
>
> Overall, it does a good job with most types of PDF documents. There have
> been one or two issues with how background images and text are recognized
> with PDFs originating from Adobe Illustrator, but these seem to have been
> outlier issues. One thing I do like about the tool is a "sensitivity"
> slider that sets a zone for the content. By moving the sensitivity slider,
> you can quickly change the regions and zones on the page to include or
> exclude text content. Another feature that works (mostly) is a Preview
> option that provides a linearized view of the page content. That helps
> identify where the logical structure of the page is incorrect.
>
> Yes - you can use Equidox to create PDFs that pass the Acrobat
> accessibility checker. After making corrections in Equidox, I generally run
> the PDF through the Acrobat accessibility checker to perform a quick
> verification of my edits. So far, the checker only reports the need to
> perform the manual tests. I have not tested with PAC2.
>
> I am encountering some issues with PDFs created from PowerPoint in that all
> images were being recognized, including those that were intended as
> background content. I suspect these background images were just dropped
> into the slides and not managed via the Master template. Their development
> team has been very responsive, so I don't expect this to be a problem going
> forward.
>
> Take care,
> Sean
> > > > > > > > >

From: Sarah Ferguson
Date: Mon, Oct 23 2017 1:41PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

Thanks for the reviews, Jon. I was able to get a trial for CommonLook
through Andy Baum: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =

Sarah Ferguson
Web Accessibility Specialist
Department of Digital Communications
Brandeis University *|* 781.736.4259
www.brandeis.edu/web-accessibility


On Mon, Oct 23, 2017 at 3:31 PM, Metzessible < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Great question! I love complaining about PDF tools.
>
> I'd honestly never heard of PAVE, so I decided to give it a whirl. It's an
> interesting concept, but leaves much to be imagined in terms of providing
> an actual accessible PDF beyond what a user can do by merely using the
> 'Print' function on the authoring file. It's also really confusing to use,
> as it will tell me there's a problem with the PDF, but it doesn't actually
> show me where the problem is. I'm also irritated that error handling solely
> relies on color formatting. This is probably the most basic accessibility
> mistake a developer can make, which instantly made me suspect the PDF
> results would be extremely subpar. All this is said with the
> acknowledgement that it's hard to complain about free software, since you
> get what you pay for.
>
> I evaluated AxesPDF recently and received the following errors evaluating
> the software:
>
> 1. *Syntax error:* Operator ‘h’ is not allowed in the current state.
> 2. *Syntax error:*Operator ‘f’ is not allowed in the current state.
>
> Unlike free software, I CAN complain about this. For over $700 USD per
> license, I'd expect it to work out of the box, and give me better error
> explanations. I also expect it to be intuitive to use (The UI reminds me of
> one of those old OSX X11 apps from years back), or at least provide a basic
> concept of how the rudimentary workflow is supposed to be managed. It did
> none of these things, and was left irritated after I tried it. I know
> several other SMEs in the field use this software for remediation, but I'm
> not impressed at all with the level of accessible PDF it returns with the
> PDF/UA flag attached. I can go into much further detail about it if anyone
> cares to hear my thoughts about it, but I won't be buying this software
> because of my evaluation.
>
> I've tried reaching out to CommonLook four times for a demo, and no one has
> ever contacted me. So I can't speak about it as a solution that's any
> better or worse than anything else. However, I use CommonLook Validator
> (the free QA tool they provide) religiously. Quite honestly, I'll never
> understand why anyone would ever rely on a vendor's included accessibility
> checker to evaluate mistakes. You're only going to be looking at the things
> that the vendor understands about a given problem, not according to
> existing standards.
>
> In any case, if CommonLook GA is similar to Validator, the UI might be a
> bit clunky if you're already having problems training colleagues on how to
> use a program like Acrobat. The errors in Validator provide no explanation
> to why something is considered an error or warning, and it uses language
> which requires a solid understanding of PDF that most people clearly lack
> in general. Also, it cannot seem to identify pagination artifacts at all.
> While it states that for the purpose of testing it marks them as artifacts
> for you, it still shows up as a failure. The reports they generate are very
> helpful, but this (and other issues, like missing BBox attributes which
> clearly exist) must be sanitized from the final report after the fact. This
> can make for a time consuming analysis, especially if you rely on these
> reports for QA, Kirkpatrick training supplements, or for CMMI CM, MM or
> PPQA Process Improvement evidence.
>
> I've heard great things about Equidox. The price seems a bit high at first
> glance (1200 for 10 licenses for education). However, I don't think you
> need Acrobat for it, which makes it only $120 per person. I'm a bit
> concerned about how astronomical the commercial license would be. The one
> thing that I didn't like was that it was per-page remediation, and very
> visual in how you use it. It seems to take all the things people like about
> using the Touchup Reading Order Panel in Acrobat and makes it usable and
> effective. Also, it's worth noting, I've never seen a PDF from this SASS,
> so I can't speak to it's quality either.
>
> The one thing I have played around with when I get chances to use it is
> Tesseract for OCR. It's a bit more complex of a tool, but the results are
> amazing. In fact, using Tesseract with Adobe's built-in autotag feature is
> like what would happen if you found some free audio software that could
> make YouTube captions with 90% accuracy. It's really powerful, yet
> extremely confusing and difficult to learn.
>
> That said, my go to tool is still Acrobat. I use both a mac and PC, but I
> prefer the subtleties of the Mac Acrobat version over the PC version. When
> I'm editing a bunch of tags, it's often easier and less time consuming to
> single-click the tag, then click again to enter it. In later versions of
> Acrobat for the PC, this seems to require extra clicks. But it's not the
> end of the world, and therefore Acrobat is my go-to tool of choice
> regardless. My main problem is that Adobe made the software a Jack of All
> Trades, yet a Master of None. So it handles everything under the sun that
> is related to PDF, but it does them equally badly. That said, one could
> theoretically use the command line to remediate PDFs, but why would anyone
> go through that much trouble? Acrobat is what it is, but it's still the
> defacto industry standard, and will most likely be going forward for the
> foreseeable future. Software companies either try to reinvent the wheel by
> blatantly ignoring the ISO standards, or make something that requires you
> to own Acrobat in the first place.
>
> Though, I'm actually a service provider myself, so what works for me as a
> PDF a11y expert might not work for your situation. Therefore, I have to
> agree with Bevi that the best solution is to create the most accessible
> authored file you can BEFORE it goes to Acrobat so you have more hair at
> the end of remediation! In fact, you can automate most of your Word file
> backlog using macros and VBA once you have accessible templates in place.
> This makes remediation that much easier, especially since you have the
> original files.
>
> Jon Metz
>
> On Mon, Oct 23, 2017 at 2:36 PM, Denis Boudreau < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> wrote:
>
> > Thanks Sean, that's very useful to know.
> >
> > /Denis
> >
> > --
> > Denis Boudreau,
> > Accessibility, user experience & inclusive design
> > Cell: +1-514-730-9168
> > Email: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
> > Twitter: @dboudreau [http://www.twitter.com/dboudreau]
> >
> > On 2017-10-22 2:26:12 PM, Sean Keegan < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> > Hey Denis,
> >
> > > In your experience, how good is it at turning an inaccessible PDF into
> > one we
> > > would consider accessible, or at least WCAG 2.0 AA compliant? If you
> ran
> > a PDF
> > > made accessible with Equidox, would it pass the Acrobat accessibility
> > > checker, or PAC2?
> >
> > Overall, it does a good job with most types of PDF documents. There have
> > been one or two issues with how background images and text are recognized
> > with PDFs originating from Adobe Illustrator, but these seem to have been
> > outlier issues. One thing I do like about the tool is a "sensitivity"
> > slider that sets a zone for the content. By moving the sensitivity
> slider,
> > you can quickly change the regions and zones on the page to include or
> > exclude text content. Another feature that works (mostly) is a Preview
> > option that provides a linearized view of the page content. That helps
> > identify where the logical structure of the page is incorrect.
> >
> > Yes - you can use Equidox to create PDFs that pass the Acrobat
> > accessibility checker. After making corrections in Equidox, I generally
> run
> > the PDF through the Acrobat accessibility checker to perform a quick
> > verification of my edits. So far, the checker only reports the need to
> > perform the manual tests. I have not tested with PAC2.
> >
> > I am encountering some issues with PDFs created from PowerPoint in that
> all
> > images were being recognized, including those that were intended as
> > background content. I suspect these background images were just dropped
> > into the slides and not managed via the Master template. Their
> development
> > team has been very responsive, so I don't expect this to be a problem
> going
> > forward.
> >
> > Take care,
> > Sean
> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > >

From: Philip Kiff
Date: Mon, Oct 23 2017 8:13PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

I'm a regular user of axesPDF and I recently went through an evaluation
trial of CommonLook PDF Global Access (GA). I was intending to write-up
a proper review comparing those two specific tools, but who knows when
I'll get around to that, and contributing to this discussion may be more
useful.

Acrobat Still Required

Like Bevi and Jon and others suggest, Acrobat Pro continues to be the
essential, base tool for remediating PDFs. I would recommend upgrading
to Acrobat DC - but I'm not waiting or expecting a significant version
upgrade on any schedule anymore now that they are on a "continuous"
release with a subscription licensing model. Though flawed, it is still
a powerful tool, and I still find myself surprised every once in a while
when I discover some new trick that has been buried away, undocumented
and hidden away from users.

Program Quality

> I evaluated AxesPDF recently and received the following errors
> evaluating the software [....]
I've also periodically run into stray errors with AxesPDF, and some of
them are not well explained at all. I've also run into files that would
not open in AxesPDF for some reason. CommonLook GA seems definitely to
do a better job managing corrupted files, and I would not be surprised
if it generally is programmed more tightly and carefully than AxesPDF.
Having said that, I only ran into a handful of such problem files out of
some thousand or so files I worked on with a colleague in the past year
or two. And in each of those cases, it was eventually possible for me to
figure out what was causing the error.

Interface

The interface of CommonLook is not that different from AxesPDF: document
in the middle, panels on the left and right, a set of vertical tabs on
the far right to open up new panels, and a toolbar across the top.
CommonLook works as a plugin to Acrobat, while AxesPDF is standalone
software. Initially, I assumed that CommonLook would give a better user
experience because it would be tightly integrated with Acrobat, but it
isn't really. You load it up through a submenu in Acrobat, and it
*looks* like it might just be augmenting the regular Acrobat view, but
it actually provides its own view of the document, and when you switch
back to Acrobat proper, you are back in a different environment again.
For an experienced user, it doesn't seem to save much time switching
back and forth than if you just keep both AxesPDF and Acrobat open and
reload the document when you switch back and forth between them.

Cost

> For over $700 USD per license, I'd expect [...]
Good point. I agree with Jon that the pricing of AxesPDF is very high
for the apparent quality and the UI is not as polished or well-thought
out as it could be. My pet peeve is that the "Preview" button is not
visible unless you maximize the window (it's at the bottom, but you
can't scroll down to it unless the window is maximized for some reason),
which meant that I couldn't even figure out how to get a preview at
first, and I still get annoyed every time I have to change my window
size just to use the Preview function.

But I think it is useful to put axesPDF in context. This month, I was
quoted a price of CAD $15,000, PER YEAR, PER LICENSE, (that's about USD
$11,800 or $10,000 Euros PER YEAR!) for commercial use of CommonLook GA
(i.e., for a license that would allow me to provide PDF remediation
services to 3rd parties). To me, that is completely insane pricing. I
would go so far as to call it offensively high. There is no small
business operator trying to eke out a living remediating PDFs, who can
afford to pay that amount, per year just for software, especially when
software like axesPDF at 1/15 the price actually does much of what
CommonLook GA claims to do. That price is so high that I was driven to
use axesPDF as a simple act of protest, if nothing else, in the hopes
that by supporting the competition it will eventually force CommonLook
to lower its prices. And unlike CommonLook, axesPDF displays their
prices publicly, directly on their website so you can easily compare
licenses and choose what works instead of waiting for a customer server
representative to get back to you and work on a quote with you. And
axesPDF has an automated trial method, so you don't have to wait for
someone to get back to you for that either.

Validators

I must admit that I'm still learning the ins and outs of the PDF format,
and I've been happy to use the PAC 2 tool to assist in performing
automated validation of PDF/UA compliance for those checks that are
possible to do with an automated checker. AxesPDF incorporates a version
of the PAC 2 checker: the company that made the PAC tool also created
AxesPDF, so the results you get with PAC 2 will be identical to those
you get using axesPDF checker. For me, the move from the rudimentary
Adobe built-in checker to the PAC 2 tool, was quite a leap. And I am
only now realizing the breadth of additional checking that is possible.
I certainly found the compliance tools in CommonLook GA more detailed
than in axesPDF. CommonLook offers to check against WCAG, Section 508,
and HHS in addition to just the PDF/UA check that axesPDF offers. And I
found it especially nice in CommonLook to have readable explanations of
each error. But both error reports can be equally daunting when they
present a user with hundreds or thousands of errors.  In practical
terms, I did not find much difference between elements that were flagged
as problems between the two built-in checkers, though the way they
identified the issues would sometimes be different.

Common Features that Help a Lot

Both axesPDF and CommonLook share a number of common features that help
reduce the time it takes to remediate PDFs a lot. Here are a few key ones:

1. global edits (change all REF tags to LINK, for e.g.)
2. mass edits (select many tags, edit their properties all at once)
3. display and edit more properties easily (without entering raw PDF
property array)
4. search and find tags
5. lots of one-click fixes for annoying issues

Unique Features in CommonLook

CommonLook has a good number of unique features that seemed valuable -
just not worth 15 times the price. Josh Shroder above listed some of his
favourite features of CommonLook:
> 1 -- It makes quick work of generating properly tagged tables and lists
> 2 -- It's pretty good at linearizing tables
> 3 -- It can merge tags where needed
> 4 -- There's an extensive set of keyboard shortcuts, which are much
> faster than using a mouse
> 5 -- The automated checker is vastly superior to Acrobat
> 6 -- A PDF "integrity validator" is included, which can correct
> problems with anomalous or otherwise corrupt files
axesPDF doesn't have a comparable replacement for 4 of these 6 (it has a
very good built-in checker with its version of the PAC tool, and it has
some keyboard shortcuts for tag editing). I'm not sure how often I would
need the merge tags feature, but the possibility of quickly fixing
tables and lists in particular is very attractive. For example, to fix
complex tables in axesPDF, I find myself sometimes using the TURO tool
in Acrobat to tag cell content as text (P) and then switching to axesPDF
to mass edit the P's into TD's. This is still faster than manually
editing a large table in Acrobat alone, but a good table tag
analyzer/generator would be very nice.

In addition, I found a couple other unique features in CommonLook that I
am not sure are used regularly by power users, but that I could imagine
being valuable:

1. find tags by properties
2. unique separate view of untagged content

That's it for now. I look forward to trying out some of these other
tools and online options that others have pointed out.

Phil.

From: Philip Kiff
Date: Mon, Oct 23 2017 8:41PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | Next message →

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on this, Jon! AxesPDF is my main
tool (after Acrobat). Do you have issues with some of their one-click
fixes? Or are there more serious issues with what they are doing the PDF
structure do you think?

Phil


On 2017-10-23 3:31 PM, Metzessible wrote:
> [....] I'm
> not impressed at all with the level of accessible PDF it returns with the
> PDF/UA flag attached. I can go into much further detail about it if anyone
> cares to hear my thoughts about it, but I won't be buying this software
> because of my evaluation.

From: Chagnon | PubCom
Date: Mon, Oct 23 2017 11:24PM
Subject: Re: PDF remediation
← Previous message | No next message

RE: the comment "I would recommend upgrading to Acrobat DC - but I'm not waiting or expecting a significant version upgrade on any schedule anymore now that they are on a "continuous" release with a subscription licensing model."

Acrobat has always been on a 24 to 30 month schedule for major version updates. Note that Acrobat's release schedule is different from the Adobe Creative Suite's schedule (InDesign, Photoshop, etc.), which now is every fall to coincide with Adobe's conference called Max. The Creative Suite just released new versions CC : 2018 last Wednesday.

Although I don't know for certain, Acrobat is due for a major release of its own, given that version DC (a k a 12) was released in April 2015 and we're right now at the 30 month mark.

RE: the continuous release that comes with a subscription.

This gives users new incremental updates and improvements throughout the year. I'm seeing them about every 6 to 8 weeks. Lots of small items in those, but still very helpful and important such as being able to Un-Do in the Tags panel, more accurate PDF exports from Word documents, and an updated PDF Maker plug-in for MS Office (version 17).

If you opt to not subscribe and instead purchase a perpetual license, then you'll get these features in the next major release...in other words, you'll wait 24 to 30 months rather than get them when they become available.

If you're doing accessible PDFs, the subscription is worth it just to get your fingers on these improvements. 2 years is a long time to wait to get the accessibility features.

For those who are interested to know, the current version of Acrobat DC is 2017.012.20098 which you can find under the Help menu, About Acrobat. I guessing that the next version will be called DC : 2018, but that hasn't yet been divulged by Adobe.

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