March 20, 2008
There is a lot of PDF that is generated though Adobe’s PDFMaker plug-in for Microsoft Word. You can quite easily create PDF documents that meet the majority of accessibility needs with very little effort, if you know how. For the CSUN conference, we created a one-page document that helps guide users who may not know much about accessibility so that they can more easily address accessibility in their documents.
This document doesn’t cover every possible issue, but identifies the small number of items that need some attention to avoid the most common issues that authors can prevent. In general, if an author:
- provides equivalents for images in Word
- uses Word’s styles to define structural headings
- identifies table headings for simple tables
- uses Word’s column feture instead of text boxes, and
- enables the generation of tagged PDF
The results are excellent for most documents created in Word. Yes, you can deviate from this path and need to perform repair work to make a PDF document accessible, but to start I want to ensure that authors know what the path to minimize challenges looks like.
This is a first stab at this document, please let us know what you like, if it is useful to you, or any other comments you may have.
Download Reference Card
Last week, members of the Adobe accessibility team attended the California State University’s “Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference” – aka CSUN. This is a big event in accessibility each year and if you are interested in accessibility you should consider attending in 2009.
Adobe participated in four talks at CSUN:
- IAccessible2 Development: An Accessibility API that Works for Assistive Technologies and Applications. This was a panel discussion involving IT and assistive technology companies.
- Accessible PDF Authoring Techniques. This was a talk by Greg Pisocky and Pete DeVasto from Adobe and Brad Hodges from the American Foundation for the Blind. The presentation slides are available.
- Rich Internet Applications with Flash and Dreamweaver. This was a talk by Matt May and Andrew Kirkpatrick discussing Flash and AJAX accessibility, related to Adobe’s SPRY framework, Flash and Flex. The presentation slides are available.
- Accessible Internet Video. This was a talk by Andrew Kirkpatrick on how you can deliver the most accessible experience in video online using Flash. The presentation slides
are available. I’m going to post the main demonstration example shortly.
Please take a look and let us know if you have any comments.
December 11, 2007
A group of IT and assistive technology companies have formed a group designed to address engineering challenges around accessibility issues. The group’s name is the Accessibility Interoperability Alliance, or AIA. Adobe is part of this group because it is important to have improved methods to provide straightforward interoperability between IT products and assistive technology tools.
Of particular interest is the project that seeks to harmonize existing accessibility APIs such as IAccessible2 and UIAutomation. With the wide variety of assistive technologies available today, both these tools and Adobe’s players need reliable and standard methods to participate in information exchanges with assistive tools. There are too many tools for Adobe’s players to support directly through customization and similarly the assistive technology tools have too many IT products that they need to support so they too cannot provide custom solutions across the board. The way forward is through better and harmonized (or converged) APIs.
The AIA press release is at: http://www.accessinteropalliance.org/newsevents/pr121007.html.
The AIA group web site is http://www.accessinteropalliance.org/.
July 31, 2006
A new accessibility book hit the shelves last Monday. Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance is the collective work of several well-known names in accessibility, including Jim Thatcher. This is the new version of the standard reference “Constructing Accessible Websites” that Jim and others wrote a few years back, so the format and cover image are similar, but with updated and new content.
I wrote chapters on PDF accessibility and an overview of accessible technologies and co-authored/updated the chapter on Flash accessibility with Bob Regan. I’m very happy with the book, and I’m sure you’ll find it invaluable.