Accessibility and PDFs
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Accessibility and PDFs



Presentation by Gian Wild to the Victoria Online Seminar in Melbourne, 14 October 2010.

Presentation by Gian Wild to the Victoria Online Seminar in Melbourne, 14 October 2010.



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Accessibility and PDFs Accessibility and PDFs Presentation Transcript

  • Gian Wild October 2010 [email_address] Accessibility and PDFs
  • What is online accessibility?
    • Online accessibility:
      • The ability for a person with a disability to understand and use a web site, application intranet, or program
    • Governed by:
      • AHRC: Disability Discrimination Act
    • Achieved by:
      • W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
  • Accessibility is important…
    • It allows people with disabilities to:
    • access information like anyone else
    • interact with others without being categorised as “disabled”
    • undertake activities which they are not otherwise able to do
  • People with Disabilities
    • What types of people with disabilities are assisted by an accessible web site?
      • Disabilities affecting vision
      • Disabilities affecting how the mind interprets information
      • Disabilities affecting movement
      • Disabilities affecting hearing
  • Disabilities affecting vision
    • Types of visual disabilities:
      • Blindness
      • Colour blindness
      • Glaucoma
      • Cataracts
  • How do people with visual disabilities access the web?
    • Assistive technologies:
      • Screen readers or braille readers
      • Braille keyboards or large size keyboards
      • Magnifiers
    • User techniques:
      • Increasing text size
      • Turning off JavaScript
      • Changing text and background colour
  • Disabilities affecting the mind
    • Types of cognitive disabilities:
      • Epilepsy & migraine
      • Dyslexia
      • Aphasia
      • Problems with memory
      • Reading disabilities
  • Disabilities affecting the mind
    • Assistive technologies:
      • Screen readers
      • Speech recognition software
      • Screen masking software
      • Hover highlighting software
      • Dictionary definition software
    • User techniques:
      • Turning off Flash, JavaScript
  • Disabilities affecting movement
    • Types of physical disabilities:
      • Cerebral palsy
      • Motor Neuron Disease
      • Huntington’s
      • Parkinson’s
      • Quadriplegia
  • Disabilities affecting movement
    • Assistive technologies:
      • Joysticks
      • Modified or onscreen keyboards
      • Touchscreens & headwands
      • Switches
    • User techniques:
      • Turning off Flash, JavaScript
      • Using the keyboard only
      • Increasing text size
  • Disabilities affecting hearing
    • Types of audio disabilities:
      • Profound deafness
      • Hard of hearing
    • Assistive technologies:
      • Speech to text translators
    • User techniques:
      • Open or closed captioning (by the author)
  • Legal Requirements
    • The provision of information and online services through the Worldwide Web is a service covered by the DDA. Equal access for people with a disability in this area is required by the DDA where it can reasonably be provided.
    • World Wide Web Access: Disability Discrimination Act Advisory Notes
  • Legal Precedents
    • June 1999 – August 2000
    • Bruce Maguire lodged a HREOC complaint about the Sydney Olympics web site
    • HREOC ruled in Maguire’s favour
    • September 2000
    • SOCOG ignored HREOC and fined $20,000
    • Legal fees greater than $500,000
  • Disability Discrimination Act
    • Recommends following W3C WCAG, Version 1.0
    • Will be moving to W3C WCAG, Version 2.0
    • AGIMO has a recommended timeframe for federal sites:
      • WCAG2 Level A: December 2012
      • WCAG2 Level AA: December 2015
  • AGIMO National Transition Strategy
    • Preparation phase: July – Dec 2010
    • Agency website stocktake
    • WCAG2 conformance check
    • Website infrastructure assessment
    • Capability assessment
    • Risk assessment
    • Mitigation projects led by AGIMO
  • What does this mean for PDFs?
    • WCAG1 (Level A):
    • Requires an accessible equivalent for all PDFs:
      • RTF or
      • HTML or
      • Text or
      • Word document
  • What does this mean for PDFs?
    • WCAG1 (Level AA):
    • Above and
    • Requires PDFs to be tagged with accessibility features, such as:
      • Headings
      • Alternative text for images
      • Bookmarks
      • Links
  • The AGIMO PDF project
    • People with disabilities make more complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission about PDF documents than any other format
    • 40 submissions to the AGIMO PDF project including those from:
      • Adobe
      • Government departments
      • Assistive technology manufacturers
      • People with disabilities
      • Accessibility specialists
  • The AGIMO PDF project
    • Vision Australia tested a variety of PDFs with low vision and blind users. They found:
      • There was a strong negative attitude about PDF
      • Even with assistance a tagged PDF was often difficult to use
      • Lack of support for certain scanning and navigation features. For more see my blog post:
  • The AGIMO PDF project
    • PDFs were tested against the technology-neutral WCAG2.
    • Different PDFs were tested:
      • Adobe tagged “best practice” PDFs
      • Specialist tagged PDFs
      • Non-tagged PDFs
  • The AGIMO PDF project
    • Talked to assistive technology vendors:
      • What is supported?
      • How many people use the technology?
      • What will be supported?
  • What does this mean for PDFs?
    • PDF will not be defined as an “accessible technology”
    • WCAG2 will require:
    • An accessible equivalent for all PDFs:
      • RTF or
      • HTML or
      • Text or
      • Word document
  • Conclusions
    • PDF is not defined as an “accessible technology” because:
    • The design of the PDF file (and no universal definition of an “accessible PDF”)
    • Technical ability of the assistive technologies
    • Skill of the end user (using an assistive technology with a PDF is different to HTML)
  • Some advances in PDF accessibility
    • For people with severe vision impairments, tagging is essential.
    • For people with mild visual impairments, physical and cognitive disabilities, BrowseAloud can interpret untagged PDF documents
  • Cognitive disabilities and low literacy…
    • 6.2 million adults have low literacy levels
    • 2 million people with dyslexia or specific learning difficulties
    • 3 million people with English as a foreign language
    • 300,000 people who have a mild visual impairment
    • 4 million people with a registered disability
  • More on accessibility…
    • eGovernment Accessibility Toolkit
    • WebAIM
    • W3C Web Accessibility Initiative
    • Twitter: #accessibilityoz