Accessibility and PDFs


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

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Accessibility and PDFs

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