[DNS] accessibility and the internet

[DNS] accessibility and the internet

From: David Goldstein <goldstein_david§yahoo.com.au>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2006 19:41:00 -0800 (PST)
And to expand on accessibility and pdf documents, in response to Kim's comments my accessibility guru has advised me (there are also some pertinent comments for those who are still on dial-up attempting to download new versions/features)...

"That right, but also very wrong..
It's right - you can't blame the file format.
It's wrong, though, in that:
a) construction of accessible PDFs is almost a science, and it is oh-so-easy to misdesign a pdf file with regards to accessibility. And, unlike webpages where a nearly-accessible page can give a reasonable experience, with a PDF a "near miss" is usually totally unusable.
b) the user doesn't have much choice on "how they use it". There are very few suitable tools for reading PDFs (don?t forget that screen readers interact with the agent and not with the pdf directly). So if Adobe Reader can't cope, or certain tools can't convert it to suitable formats, then you are in trouble.

There are also other factors that have been ignored:
 - HTML browsers are built into almost every computer and browsing a web-page has become a de-facto skill that users need when using a computer. Expecting them to learn another interface, and one that changes regularly, is annoying - especially when it is not needed as there are alternatives that users already know (HTML, Word)
 - The PDF format changes and expands to cope with new features. This necessitates the downloading of new readers to cope with the new formats. This causes accessibility problems in so far as people on dialup or in outback places can't get easy access to the 35MB download (or magazines where the reader is provided "free" for $7.95). By comparison, most HTML pages will still display in IE 5 which has been around for a very long time.
 - The pdf format itself is not always efficient - although admittedly worse if usually worse and RTF horrendous.

So, HTML is always best as you hit a common denominator on so many levels and lose very little functionality (apart from the ability to print)."

----- Original Message ----
From: Kim Davies <kim&#167;cynosure.com.au>
To: David Goldstein <goldstein_david&#167;yahoo.com.au>
Cc: .au DNS Discussion List <dns&#167;dotau.org>
Sent: Tuesday, 14 November, 2006 10:59:44 AM
Subject: Re: [DNS] accessibility and the internet

Quoting David Goldstein on Monday November 13, 2006:
| Your monosyllabic comments indicate really have no idea. Go to the Freedom Scientific site and trial the free version of Jaws. It's essential you turn your monitor off. Sure your friend/colleague may love accessing the internet, but ask him how he accesses pdf documents. Ask how he accesses chat rooms. Ask what he does when websites are difficult to navigate, if it's at all possible to navigate them. And then, it seems this person is quite experienced at accessing the internet. So think about how the inexperienced internet user who is blind goes about it. The inexperienced sighted user finds it difficult it enough.

PDFs, like web pages, are not hostile to accessibility. The two share
the same characteristic in that it is not the file format that is to
blame, it is how authors use it. PDFs are screen-reader friendly if
constructed the right way, just like web pages.

See http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/ for more info.

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Received on Tue Nov 14 2006 - 03:41:00 UTC

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