by Andrew Kirkpatrick

 Comments (5)


May 4, 2009

This post is subject to Adobe's Terms of Use.

The European mandate 376 process is which will ultimately result in standards which will help ensure that products procured publicly enable access for people with disabilities. The goals of mandate 376 are (from official Mandate 376 document):

  • to harmonise and facilitate the public procurement of accessible ICT products and
    services by identifying a set of functional European accessibility requirements for
    public procurement of products and services in the ICT domain, and
  • · to provide a mechanism through which the public procurers have access to an
    electronic toolkit, enabling them to make use of these harmonised requirements in
    procurement process.

Adobe participated in an Expert meeting on March 23 in Brussels to discuss WCAG 2.0 implementation and the report of this meeting was recently published. Adobe encourages the European commission to use WCAG 2.0 as the basis for the EU standards, and to do so without modification of the WCAG 2.0 document.
More information on Mandate 376:


  • By Mike Mac - 9:59 AM on May 5, 2009  

    Pretty ironic – they used a cheapo converter, and failed to tag the document for accessibilty…

  • By JLT - 1:05 AM on May 25, 2009  

    Dear Andrew,
    I was wondering whether the upcoming release of Adobe Strobe will incorporate WCAG standards for captioning and other accessibility tools.

  • By Deborah Armstrong - 12:24 PM on June 8, 2009  

    I am glad to see Adobe participating in so many accessibility task forces. Your pages often claim:
    “Adobe is committed to enabling all people to use Adobe software and formats.”. It is frustrating therefore that no attempt has been made to give screen reader users access toDigital Editions, and nowhere in the release notes or the FAQ for digital editions is accessibility ever mentioned. I could not get any screen reader to access digital editions’ content, and I can only find blog posts that obliquely refer to the product as not working with screen readers. I am writing to all my local libraries to ask them to discontinue using this inaccessible product for ebook distribution, since your commitment seems quite hypocritical. If libraries continue to use it they are not in compliance with the law! You could have chosen to build accessibility in to all your products from the ground up, instead of requiring that those who author content worry about making it accessible. And before you smugly assume that screen reader users are just a small and fractious minority, one day, each of you developers will become senior citizens and many of you will be forced to experience some vision loss. How nice it would be if you had worked towards making your products accessible before it happens to you!

  • By Andrew Kirkpatrick - 1:25 PM on June 8, 2009  

    I’ll accept the criticism that you aren’t seeing enough information about the state of accessibility in Digital Editions, but I do take exception to the statement that Adobe is doing nothing to make Digital Editions accessible and to the statement that our committment is hypocritical.
    My accessibility team is working with the Digital Editions team to address the accessibility issues, and while there isn’t a version of Digital Editions that supports screen reader users yet, there will be. We don’t have a specific date for that release at this time, but that doesn’t mean that nothing is going on behind the scenes.
    You wrote: “You could have chosen to build accessibility in to all your products from the ground up, instead of requiring that those who author content worry about making it accessible”. I’m afraid that expecting that the author not participate in the process of offering accessible content is asking too much of technology at this date. Authors need to indicate structure and equivalents, and provide other information that I wouldn’t rely on a piece of software to guess at.
    I’m sorry that you are frustrated and upset, but I can assure you that no one at Adobe is “smugly assum[ing]” anything in the area of accessibility. We take it very seriously. We recognize that there is still much to do and want to do it right, with the cooperation of an engaged user population.

  • By N Bass - 3:50 PM on July 23, 2009  

    I need to use a screen reader, I foolishly purchased an e-book that uses adobe digital editions. What screen reading program can i use to be able to read my book?
    If you have know which screen reader works with adobe digital editions please email me at nbass1978(at)gmail(dot)com