PDF's and Signatures

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PDF's and Signatures

Kane, Sarah
Though it seems to be not recommended to add signatures to PDFs on a public website, I have not been able to find if it's within WCAG 2.0 guidelines to include a signature either by adding an e-signature or inserting an image of a signature with alt text. Any suggestions or resources?

Thanks for your time,

Sarah Kane 
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RE: PDF's and Signatures

Andy Keyworth

Hi Sarah,

 

In a strict sense, WCAG 2.0 doesn’t apply to PDFs, but rather to web content in the sense of HTML (and dynamic coding, etc.) pages. Having a signature on any form of web content is outside of WCAG 2.0’s purview, as a signature wouldn’t in itself be an accessibility matter- the means by which a signature is presented, is.

 

Cheers,

 

Andy Keyworth
Senior Web Accessibility Specialist

T-Base Communications

Phone: 613-236-0866 | Toll free: 1-800-563-0668 x 1256

www.tbase.com | Ogdensburg, NY | Ottawa, ON

ALL TOUCH POINTS. ALL ACCESS METHODS. ALL FORMATS.TM

 

This email may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If you have received this communication in error, please delete this email message immediately.

 

From: Kane, Sarah [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: January-21-15 2:34 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: PDF's and Signatures

 

Though it seems to be not recommended to add signatures to PDFs on a public website, I have not been able to find if it's within WCAG 2.0 guidelines to include a signature either by adding an e-signature or inserting an image of a signature with alt text. Any suggestions or resources?

 

Thanks for your time,

 

Sarah Kane 


No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 2014.0.4800 / Virus Database: 4257/8970 - Release Date: 01/21/15

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RE: PDF's and Signatures

Foliot, John

I have to disagree slightly with Andy’s claim – PDFs *are* covered-by and included in WCAG, and in fact there is a whole section of Success Techniques provided by the W3C. Please see: http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20-TECHS/pdf.html

 

I think the issue(s) you will find problematic include how to render that wet signature to non-visual users (it’s not text, so OCR etc. will struggle to deal with what is, or will be, essentially a graphical blob on the document). Another issue, outside of WCAG, might center on security (and personal data theft – I don’t know if I would want my signature floating round the internet) – although this issue could/would be mitigated through the use of digital signatures. If you MUST include a graphic of a signature, you will of course need to also provide appropriate alt text (I would likely counsel this: alt=”[Signature: Mickey Mouse]”)

 

I am personally unaware of the current state of accessibility and digital signatures on PDFs, although my first guess is that it is likely not perfect, but not terrible either: Adobe does a good job of meeting their ADA requirements, and PDF is a robust and long-standing (if still imperfect) tool in their shed. Perhaps Andrew might have a comment here (?)

 

If, on the other hand, you looking to see if adding a signature is *required* by WCAG 2, the answer is no, irrespective of the document format (HTML, PDF, RTF, etc.)

 

HTH

Cheers!

 

JF

-------------------------

John Foliot
JP Morgan Chase

Senior Web Accessibility Specialist | Lead Accessibility Trainer
Digital Customer Experience 

600 Harrison Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA, 94107


LinkedIn Profile

 

 

 

 

 

From: Andy Keyworth [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2015 11:46 AM
To: 'Kane, Sarah'; [hidden email]
Subject: RE: PDF's and Signatures

 

Hi Sarah,

 

In a strict sense, WCAG 2.0 doesn’t apply to PDFs, but rather to web content in the sense of HTML (and dynamic coding, etc.) pages. Having a signature on any form of web content is outside of WCAG 2.0’s purview, as a signature wouldn’t in itself be an accessibility matter- the means by which a signature is presented, is.

 

Cheers,

 

Andy Keyworth
Senior Web Accessibility Specialist

T-Base Communications

Phone: 613-236-0866 | Toll free: 1-800-563-0668 x 1256

www.tbase.com | Ogdensburg, NY | Ottawa, ON

ALL TOUCH POINTS. ALL ACCESS METHODS. ALL FORMATS.TM

 

This email may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If you have received this communication in error, please delete this email message immediately.

 

From: Kane, Sarah [[hidden email]]
Sent: January-21-15 2:34 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: PDF's and Signatures

 

Though it seems to be not recommended to add signatures to PDFs on a public website, I have not been able to find if it's within WCAG 2.0 guidelines to include a signature either by adding an e-signature or inserting an image of a signature with alt text. Any suggestions or resources?

 

Thanks for your time,

 

Sarah Kane 


No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 2014.0.4800 / Virus Database: 4257/8970 - Release Date: 01/21/15

This transmission may contain information that is privileged, confidential, legally privileged, and/or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution, or use of the information contained herein (including any reliance thereon) is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Although this transmission and any attachments are believed to be free of any virus or other defect that might affect any computer system into which it is received and opened, it is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that it is virus free and no responsibility is accepted by JPMorgan Chase & Co., its subsidiaries and affiliates, as applicable, for any loss or damage arising in any way from its use. If you received this transmission in error, please immediately contact the sender and destroy the material in its entirety, whether in electronic or hard copy format. Thank you.

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Re: PDF's and Signatures

Duff Johnson
> I have to disagree slightly with Andy’s claim – PDFs *are* covered-by and included in WCAG

To a degree, There are many facets of PDF that WCAG does not cover. For a complete understanding of PDF accessibility it is necessary to look to PDF/UA, the ISO standard for accessible PDF.

> , and in fact there is a whole section of Success Techniques provided by the W3C. Please see: http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20-TECHS/pdf.html

While many of these are useful, some are simply wrong, misleading, or both. Additionally, these techniques represent only a modest fraction of what’s necessary to guarantee an accessible PDF.

> I think the issue(s) you will find problematic include how to render that wet signature to non-visual users (it’s not text, so OCR etc. will struggle to dealinclude a graphic of a signature, you will of course need to also provide appropriate alt text (I would likely counsel this: alt=”[Signature: Mickey Mouse]”)

One must distinguish between an ink signature (which is simply a graphics object requiring alt text to be accessible) and a digital signature, which is a property of the document itself, and should be exposed by AT accordingly just as is other document metadata.

> I am personally unaware of the current state of accessibility and digital signatures on PDFs, although my first guess is that it is likely not perfect, buta robust and long-standing (if still imperfect) tool in their shed. Perhaps Andrew might have a comment here (?)

So far as I am aware the digital signature UIs in Adobe’s tools are as accessible as the rest of Adobe Acrobat / Reader’s UI. This has *nothing* to do, however, with an “ink” signature, which is simply a pretty picture on the page, and like all other pictures, needs alt text to expose it to all forms of AT equally.

Duff.


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PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

Thompson, Rachel
Hi, all.

This is a question I have received several times lately: What
accessibility guidelines should our web teams and instructors follow when
making PDFs available online? It seems like there is not a consensus with
this group (and you are the group I look to for guidance on these issues).
What guidelines have other organizations adopted? Any ideas or feedback
are welcome.

Rachel

Dr. Rachel S. Thompson
Director, Emerging Technology and Accessibility
Center for Instructional Technology
University of Alabama
http://accessibility.ua.edu



-----Original Message-----
From: Duff Johnson <[hidden email]>
Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM
To: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: PDF's and Signatures
Resent-From: <[hidden email]>
Resent-Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM

> I have to disagree slightly with Andy¹s claim ­ PDFs *are* covered-by
>and included in WCAG

To a degree, There are many facets of PDF that WCAG does not cover. For a
complete understanding of PDF accessibility it is necessary to look to
PDF/UA, the ISO standard for accessible PDF.

> , and in fact there is a whole section of Success Techniques provided by
>the W3C. Please see: http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20-TECHS/pdf.html

While many of these are useful, some are simply wrong, misleading, or
both. Additionally, these techniques represent only a modest fraction of
what¹s necessary to guarantee an accessible PDF.

> I think the issue(s) you will find problematic include how to render
>that wet signature to non-visual users (it¹s not text, so OCR etc. will
>struggle to dealinclude a graphic of a signature, you will of course need
>to also provide appropriate alt text (I would likely counsel this:
>alt=²[Signature: Mickey Mouse]²)

One must distinguish between an ink signature (which is simply a graphics
object requiring alt text to be accessible) and a digital signature, which
is a property of the document itself, and should be exposed by AT
accordingly just as is other document metadata.

> I am personally unaware of the current state of accessibility and
>digital signatures on PDFs, although my first guess is that it is likely
>not perfect, buta robust and long-standing (if still imperfect) tool in
>their shed. Perhaps Andrew might have a comment here (?)

So far as I am aware the digital signature UIs in Adobe¹s tools are as
accessible as the rest of Adobe Acrobat / Reader¹s UI. This has *nothing*
to do, however, with an ³ink² signature, which is simply a pretty picture
on the page, and like all other pictures, needs alt text to expose it to
all forms of AT equally.

Duff.




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WCAG Techniques - errors? (was RE: PDF's and Signatures)

John Foliot
In reply to this post by Duff Johnson
Duff Johnson
>
> > , and in fact there is a whole section of Success Techniques provided
> by the W3C. Please see: http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20-TECHS/pdf.html
>
> While many of these are useful, some are simply wrong, misleading, or
> both. Additionally, these techniques represent only a modest fraction
> of what's necessary to guarantee an accessible PDF.

Hi Duff,

I am somewhat concerned by this statement. Can you elaborate on which
techniques you believe are "simply wrong, or misleading"? The WCAG Techniques
group should be advised of these issues, so that they can be addressed
(although I find it curious, as Andrew Kirkpatrick is the chair of that
working group at the W3C). For the benefit of us all, please do elaborate.
(Thanks!!)


JF




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Re: WCAG Techniques - errors? (was RE: PDF's and Signatures)

Duff Johnson
Hi John,

> I am somewhat concerned by this statement. Can you elaborate on which
> techniques you believe are "simply wrong, or misleading”?

Just start with PDF3, Example 4, which advises use of Acrobat’s “Reflow” feature to “check the reading order”.

The problem is that the Reflow feature does not use tagged PDF to show the logical (i.e., tagged) reading order of the content. Reflow uses the content order (the sequence of objects as they are written to the page), which often differs from the logical reading order.

Of course, it is the logical reading order that is of interest to AT users.

I regard PDF3 as one of the leading causes of end-user confusion when it comes to understanding how to make PDF files accessible.

> The WCAG Techniques
> group should be advised of these issues, so that they can be addressed
> (although I find it curious, as Andrew Kirkpatrick is the chair of that
> working group at the W3C). For the benefit of us all, please do elaborate.
> (Thanks!!)

Some of these issues (PDF3 being the most egregious in several aspects) have been raised in the past.

Duff.
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RE: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

Jonathan Avila-2
In reply to this post by Thompson, Rachel
> What accessibility guidelines should our web teams and instructors follow when making PDFs available online?

Duff's 2012 article on the relationship between WCAG and PDF/UA is still relevant and may help you make  determinations on what standards to follow.  
http://www.commonlook.com/WCAG-20-and-PDF-UA-Your-Questions-Answered

Right now in a practical sense there are a limited number of accessible PDF readers and a limited number of conforming assistive technologies -- so WCAG guidelines are likely to be sufficient as long as sufficient techniques used to meet the success criteria are accessibility supported.  That's also one area where PDF/UA will in the future play a more important role.

WCAG also tends to go into more details on what is really required when color is used -- e.g. that you must have a visual and text/programmatically way to communicate the use of color.  IMO the PDF/UA is a little weak in this are implying that programmatic alternatives will suffice.  In practical sense this could work if user agents exposed programmatic information to users who are colorblind but don't use assistive technology but this isn't the case.  Similarly, IMO the PDF/UA requirements for multimedia don't go into all of the requirements for accessible multimedia in way that is practically needed to ensure captions and audio description are synchronized and truly provide equivalents.  But I don't think the goal of PDF/UA was duplicate WCAG -- it grew up alongside WCAG 2 and provide sufficient techniques that can be used to determine conformance and provides details on contracts between conforming user agents in way similar to the UAAG.

Jonathan

--
Jonathan Avila
Chief Accessibility Officer
SSB BART Group
[hidden email]

703-637-8957 (o)
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | Newsletter


-----Original Message-----
From: Thompson, Rachel [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2015 10:07 AM
To: Duff Johnson; [hidden email]
Subject: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

Hi, all.

This is a question I have received several times lately: What accessibility guidelines should our web teams and instructors follow when making PDFs available online? It seems like there is not a consensus with this group (and you are the group I look to for guidance on these issues).
What guidelines have other organizations adopted? Any ideas or feedback are welcome.

Rachel

Dr. Rachel S. Thompson
Director, Emerging Technology and Accessibility Center for Instructional Technology University of Alabama http://accessibility.ua.edu



-----Original Message-----
From: Duff Johnson <[hidden email]>
Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM
To: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: PDF's and Signatures
Resent-From: <[hidden email]>
Resent-Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM

> I have to disagree slightly with Andy¹s claim ­ PDFs *are* covered-by
>and included in WCAG

To a degree, There are many facets of PDF that WCAG does not cover. For a complete understanding of PDF accessibility it is necessary to look to PDF/UA, the ISO standard for accessible PDF.

> , and in fact there is a whole section of Success Techniques provided
>by the W3C. Please see: http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20-TECHS/pdf.html

While many of these are useful, some are simply wrong, misleading, or both. Additionally, these techniques represent only a modest fraction of what¹s necessary to guarantee an accessible PDF.

> I think the issue(s) you will find problematic include how to render
>that wet signature to non-visual users (it¹s not text, so OCR etc. will
>struggle to dealinclude a graphic of a signature, you will of course
>need to also provide appropriate alt text (I would likely counsel this:
>alt=²[Signature: Mickey Mouse]²)

One must distinguish between an ink signature (which is simply a graphics object requiring alt text to be accessible) and a digital signature, which is a property of the document itself, and should be exposed by AT accordingly just as is other document metadata.

> I am personally unaware of the current state of accessibility and
>digital signatures on PDFs, although my first guess is that it is
>likely not perfect, buta robust and long-standing (if still imperfect)
>tool in their shed. Perhaps Andrew might have a comment here (?)

So far as I am aware the digital signature UIs in Adobe¹s tools are as accessible as the rest of Adobe Acrobat / Reader¹s UI. This has *nothing* to do, however, with an ³ink² signature, which is simply a pretty picture on the page, and like all other pictures, needs alt text to expose it to all forms of AT equally.

Duff.





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Re: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

Elizabeth J. Pyatt
In reply to this post by Thompson, Rachel
Hello:

At Penn State, our official recommendation is to avoid PDFs as the only source of information. That is, include PDF for printer use, but add accessible content (e.g. accessible Word or CMS page). This is because the process to create or repair a fully accessible PDF is very difficult for faculty (or even technical staff) to completely master.

See content on http://accessibility.psu.edu/pdf

We also point users to vendors such as Common Look which we know can repair PDFs, and we link to tutorials to repair/create accessible PDF including ones from WebAIM,  Lynda.com and Adobe as well as OCR software. If someone is able create an accessible PDF,  it is fine to post as the only document, and it does sometimes happens.

Penn State does offer a testing service for PDFs, but we have found that a lot of "accessible" PDFs are not usable by actual users on a screen reader. For whatever reason, the repair process has gone astray.

Elizabeth

P.S.  I've had the best luck creating a reasonably accessible PDF converting from Open Office to a tagged PDF. Office 2013 is also supposed to do a good job, but Office 2010 is definitely quirky. InDesign seems to be a little quirky still, unfortunately.



> On Jan 22, 2015, at 10:06 AM, Thompson, Rachel <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi, all.
>
> This is a question I have received several times lately: What
> accessibility guidelines should our web teams and instructors follow when
> making PDFs available online? It seems like there is not a consensus with
> this group (and you are the group I look to for guidance on these issues).
> What guidelines have other organizations adopted? Any ideas or feedback
> are welcome.
>
> Rachel
>
> Dr. Rachel S. Thompson
> Director, Emerging Technology and Accessibility
> Center for Instructional Technology
> University of Alabama
> http://accessibility.ua.edu
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Duff Johnson <[hidden email]>
> Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM
> To: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: PDF's and Signatures
> Resent-From: <[hidden email]>
> Resent-Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM
>
>> I have to disagree slightly with Andy¹s claim ­ PDFs *are* covered-by
>> and included in WCAG
>
> To a degree, There are many facets of PDF that WCAG does not cover. For a
> complete understanding of PDF accessibility it is necessary to look to
> PDF/UA, the ISO standard for accessible PDF.
>
>> , and in fact there is a whole section of Success Techniques provided by
>> the W3C. Please see: http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20-TECHS/pdf.html
>
> While many of these are useful, some are simply wrong, misleading, or
> both. Additionally, these techniques represent only a modest fraction of
> what¹s necessary to guarantee an accessible PDF.
>
>> I think the issue(s) you will find problematic include how to render
>> that wet signature to non-visual users (it¹s not text, so OCR etc. will
>> struggle to dealinclude a graphic of a signature, you will of course need
>> to also provide appropriate alt text (I would likely counsel this:
>> alt=²[Signature: Mickey Mouse]²)
>
> One must distinguish between an ink signature (which is simply a graphics
> object requiring alt text to be accessible) and a digital signature, which
> is a property of the document itself, and should be exposed by AT
> accordingly just as is other document metadata.
>
>> I am personally unaware of the current state of accessibility and
>> digital signatures on PDFs, although my first guess is that it is likely
>> not perfect, buta robust and long-standing (if still imperfect) tool in
>> their shed. Perhaps Andrew might have a comment here (?)
>
> So far as I am aware the digital signature UIs in Adobe¹s tools are as
> accessible as the rest of Adobe Acrobat / Reader¹s UI. This has *nothing*
> to do, however, with an ³ink² signature, which is simply a pretty picture
> on the page, and like all other pictures, needs alt text to expose it to
> all forms of AT equally.
>
> Duff.
>
>
>
>

Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
Co-Chair Accessibility Technology and Information Committee

[hidden email]
http://accessibility.psu.edu




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Re: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

Accessys@smart.net
In reply to this post by Thompson, Rachel

until I find a way that works reliably I tell everyone to not consider pdf
documents to be accessible

Bob


On Thu, 22 Jan 2015, Thompson, Rachel wrote:

> Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2015 09:06:57 -0600
> From: "Thompson, Rachel" <[hidden email]>
> To: Duff Johnson <[hidden email]>,
>     "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
> Subject: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures
> Resent-Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:07:55 +0000
> Resent-From: [hidden email]
>
> Hi, all.
>
> This is a question I have received several times lately: What
> accessibility guidelines should our web teams and instructors follow when
> making PDFs available online? It seems like there is not a consensus with
> this group (and you are the group I look to for guidance on these issues).
> What guidelines have other organizations adopted? Any ideas or feedback
> are welcome.
>
> Rachel
>
> Dr. Rachel S. Thompson
> Director, Emerging Technology and Accessibility
> Center for Instructional Technology
> University of Alabama
> http://accessibility.ua.edu
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Duff Johnson <[hidden email]>
> Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM
> To: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: PDF's and Signatures
> Resent-From: <[hidden email]>
> Resent-Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM
>
>> I have to disagree slightly with Andy¹s claim ­ PDFs *are* covered-by
>> and included in WCAG
>
> To a degree, There are many facets of PDF that WCAG does not cover. For a
> complete understanding of PDF accessibility it is necessary to look to
> PDF/UA, the ISO standard for accessible PDF.
>
>> , and in fact there is a whole section of Success Techniques provided by
>> the W3C. Please see: http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20-TECHS/pdf.html
>
> While many of these are useful, some are simply wrong, misleading, or
> both. Additionally, these techniques represent only a modest fraction of
> what¹s necessary to guarantee an accessible PDF.
>
>> I think the issue(s) you will find problematic include how to render
>> that wet signature to non-visual users (it¹s not text, so OCR etc. will
>> struggle to dealinclude a graphic of a signature, you will of course need
>> to also provide appropriate alt text (I would likely counsel this:
>> alt=²[Signature: Mickey Mouse]²)
>
> One must distinguish between an ink signature (which is simply a graphics
> object requiring alt text to be accessible) and a digital signature, which
> is a property of the document itself, and should be exposed by AT
> accordingly just as is other document metadata.
>
>> I am personally unaware of the current state of accessibility and
>> digital signatures on PDFs, although my first guess is that it is likely
>> not perfect, buta robust and long-standing (if still imperfect) tool in
>> their shed. Perhaps Andrew might have a comment here (?)
>
> So far as I am aware the digital signature UIs in Adobe¹s tools are as
> accessible as the rest of Adobe Acrobat / Reader¹s UI. This has *nothing*
> to do, however, with an ³ink² signature, which is simply a pretty picture
> on the page, and like all other pictures, needs alt text to expose it to
> all forms of AT equally.
>
> Duff.
>
>
>
>
>

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Re: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

Wayne Dick-3
In reply to this post by Thompson, Rachel
Dear Rachel,

The issue with WCAG 2.0 is that it really does not cover the difficulties of reading content that reaches the level of difficulty required for academic success at the university level.  I taught computer science for 30 years, was chair of my department and chair of my university academic senate.  As such, I know the Computer Science and Computer Engineering curriculum extremely well.  I also have a broad, but in depth, understanding of the readings needed in 60+ departments across campus. 
I was also a student and academic professional with a print disability.  So, I know the user side of this problem in academia.  Moreover, my particular visual disability, central retina damage, is the most common of all visual disabilities.  I have tried every new tool for PDF almost as soon as it is out, and being a computer scientist and mathematician, I've done some really creative transformations of my own.

My conclusion: PDF is the biggest single impediment to academic success for students and  professionals for the vast majority of  people with print disabilities.  I know accessibility support for low vision is nonexistent.  The Australian government appears to agree with me on this issue.

Bottom line: Don't use PDF on any instructional materials. 

It will cost you lots of money in preparing reasonable accommodations and it will really hurt your students chances for academic success.

Official memorandum and academic policy statements are OK in PDF, but only if they are short. 
 
Wayne Dick
Professor Emeritus
Computer Engineering and Computer Science
California State University, Long Bech




On Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 7:06 AM, Thompson, Rachel <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi, all.

This is a question I have received several times lately: What
accessibility guidelines should our web teams and instructors follow when
making PDFs available online? It seems like there is not a consensus with
this group (and you are the group I look to for guidance on these issues).
What guidelines have other organizations adopted? Any ideas or feedback
are welcome.

Rachel

Dr. Rachel S. Thompson
Director, Emerging Technology and Accessibility
Center for Instructional Technology
University of Alabama
http://accessibility.ua.edu



-----Original Message-----
From: Duff Johnson <[hidden email]>
Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM
To: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: PDF's and Signatures
Resent-From: <[hidden email]>
Resent-Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM

> I have to disagree slightly with Andy¹s claim ­ PDFs *are* covered-by
>and included in WCAG

To a degree, There are many facets of PDF that WCAG does not cover. For a
complete understanding of PDF accessibility it is necessary to look to
PDF/UA, the ISO standard for accessible PDF.

> , and in fact there is a whole section of Success Techniques provided by
>the W3C. Please see: http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20-TECHS/pdf.html

While many of these are useful, some are simply wrong, misleading, or
both. Additionally, these techniques represent only a modest fraction of
what¹s necessary to guarantee an accessible PDF.

> I think the issue(s) you will find problematic include how to render
>that wet signature to non-visual users (it¹s not text, so OCR etc. will
>struggle to dealinclude a graphic of a signature, you will of course need
>to also provide appropriate alt text (I would likely counsel this:
>alt=²[Signature: Mickey Mouse]²)

One must distinguish between an ink signature (which is simply a graphics
object requiring alt text to be accessible) and a digital signature, which
is a property of the document itself, and should be exposed by AT
accordingly just as is other document metadata.

> I am personally unaware of the current state of accessibility and
>digital signatures on PDFs, although my first guess is that it is likely
>not perfect, buta robust and long-standing (if still imperfect) tool in
>their shed. Perhaps Andrew might have a comment here (?)

So far as I am aware the digital signature UIs in Adobe¹s tools are as
accessible as the rest of Adobe Acrobat / Reader¹s UI. This has *nothing*
to do, however, with an ³ink² signature, which is simply a pretty picture
on the page, and like all other pictures, needs alt text to expose it to
all forms of AT equally.

Duff.





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Re: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

Duff Johnson
In reply to this post by Thompson, Rachel
Hi Rachel,

I didn’t mean to give the wrong impression. While incomplete and (in some ways) problematic, the WCAG Techniques for PDF are overall an excellent starting point. Of course, there are ways around the functional problem with Acrobat's Reflow, such as simply exporting the document to HTML (via Acrobat) or by using a free tool such as VIP Reader or pdfGoHTML to preview the tagged PDF in HTML just as it would appear to an AT device.

Others have voted - as you’ve read - against PDF altogether. I understand the frustration. Software developers have been slow to support the accessibility features in PDF. Following publication of PDF/UA in 2012, however, the pace of such development has accelerated dramatically, and new products are coming on the market. Big banks are already delivering their statements as tagged PDF files.

More importantly, PDF/UA means that you can tell them exactly what you want. Simply say to software developers: “Hey, we want your software to support PDF/UA!”

The predominant issue is that the software companies aren’t getting the message that authoring accessible PDF files matters to the marketplace in dollars-and-cents terms. If each person in the accessibility community simply emailed Apple (for example) to demand that VoiceOver support PDF/UA, that company could choose the solve the problem within a few months. I’ve done it… you can too!

For people who write software, utilizing the accessibility features in PDF is not rocket-science, or even a major effort. It’s a question of what they are asked to do.

The WCAG 2.0 techniques for PDF - certainly with respect to checking / fixing existing PDF files -  are by now quite elderly, and heavily oriented towards a single application (Adobe’s Acrobat). Back when most of them were written Acrobat was the only software in town for those purposes. That’s dated: there are now a variety of tools in the marketplace.

In any event, and as WCAG 2.0 clearly allows and encourages, the most effective Techniques are those which are specific to the tools your people will be using.

Your software vendor can (and should!) provide documentation on how to use their software to achieve a well-tagged and accessible PDF. Once you have done so and addressed the applicable WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria thereby, you can log that fact and cite it as your Technique for achieving WCAG 2.0.

As an operational matter, that’s really the best sort of “policy” you have.

Duff.


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RE: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

John Foliot
Duff Johnson wrote:
>
>
> Others have voted - as you've read - against PDF altogether. I
> understand the frustration.

I think the real answer is to use the correct tool for the job. PDFs have a
place, and as Duff notes, can be made pretty darned accessible
(accessibility being a long-tail proposition - you will never, ever, reach
100%)


> Software developers have been slow to
> support the accessibility features in PDF. Following publication of
> PDF/UA in 2012, however, the pace of such development has accelerated
> dramatically, and new products are coming on the market. Big banks are
> already delivering their statements as tagged PDF files.
>
> More importantly, PDF/UA means that you can tell them exactly what you
> want. Simply say to software developers: "Hey, we want your software to
> support PDF/UA!"

It is unfortunate then that the PDF/UA Standard is hidden behind a pay-wall:
http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_ics/catalogue_detail_ics.htm?csn
umber=64599

Yes, it could be argued that $88.00 won't break the bank (it might impact
some however), but more importantly, that pay-to-play barrier is and remains
one of the impediments for greater PDF accessibility.

Duff, I have never worked with the ISO before, but perhaps they could be
encouraged to do as SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television
Engineers) did regarding SMPTE-TT (captioning format), as noted here:
https://www.smpte.org/news-events/news-releases/smpte-makes-closed-captionin
g-standard-freely-available-widening-access
(Almost every other SMPTE standards document is a pay-to-access document as
well)

The financial loss to ISO would be minimal, but the impact (both in improved
accessibility, but also "good will") would be tangible to the ISO.

JF




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Re: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

Duff Johnson
Hi John,

> It is unfortunate then that the PDF/UA Standard is hidden behind a pay-wall:
> http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_ics/catalogue_detail_ics.htm?csn
> umber=64599
>
> Yes, it could be argued that $88.00 won't break the bank (it might impact
> some however), but more importantly, that pay-to-play barrier is and remains
> one of the impediments for greater PDF accessibility.

Bear in mind that PDF/UA itself is a bitter disappointment to more-or-less anyone other than a software developer. The text boils down into a series of technical requirements which mean very little without also having some familiarity with ISO 32000-1, the PDF specification.

You can get a more readable version of PDF/UA’s “hard” requirements for free by checking out the PDF Association’s Matterhorn Protocol:

http://www.pdfa.org/publication/the-matterhorn-protocol-1/

The PDF Association also publishes “PDF/UA in a Nutshell”, which seeks to explain and give context to the standard:

http://www.pdfa.org/download/pdfua-kompakt/

> Duff, I have never worked with the ISO before, but perhaps they could be
> encouraged to do as SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television
> Engineers) did regarding SMPTE-TT (captioning format), as noted here:
> https://www.smpte.org/news-events/news-releases/smpte-makes-closed-captionin
> g-standard-freely-available-widening-access
> (Almost every other SMPTE standards document is a pay-to-access document as
> well)
>
> The financial loss to ISO would be minimal, but the impact (both in improved
> accessibility, but also "good will") would be tangible to the ISO.

I have forwarded this idea to the relevant authorities - thanks!

Duff.


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RE: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

John Foliot
Duff Johnson wrote:

>
> You can get a more readable version of PDF/UA's "hard" requirements for
> free by checking out the PDF Association's Matterhorn Protocol:
>
> http://www.pdfa.org/publication/the-matterhorn-protocol-1/
>
> The PDF Association also publishes "PDF/UA in a Nutshell", which seeks
> to explain and give context to the standard:
>
> http://www.pdfa.org/download/pdfua-kompakt/

Thanks for those links Duff, indeed useful!



> > Duff, I have never worked with the ISO before, but perhaps they could
> > be encouraged to do as SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and
> Television
> > Engineers) did regarding SMPTE-TT (captioning format), as noted here:
> > https://www.smpte.org/news-events/news-releases/smpte-makes-closed-
> captioning-standard-freely-available-widening-access

<snip>

>
> I have forwarded this idea to the relevant authorities - thanks!

Cool! Not sure if it is worth noting that SMPTE came to that decision based in
part on feedback from the accessibility community. Thanks for running with the
ball on this one.

JF




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RE: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

Accessys@smart.net
In reply to this post by John Foliot

one of the problems I face is not the big players universities and
companies but the small volunteer groups that just upload pdf documents
and that's as far as they go,  churches and affinity groups want to be on
line but the volunteers running the websites rarely have any training or
even know what the W3C is much less what they say.

one reason I just say "avoid pdf" to these groups.

as you say is a real shame the tools are behind a paywall (which is
technically illegal in the USA) small groups churches volunteers etc $88
may be a significant part of their budgets

Bob


On Fri, 23 Jan 2015, John Foliot wrote:

> Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2015 10:15:47 -0800
> From: John Foliot <[hidden email]>
> To: 'Duff Johnson' <[hidden email]>,
>     "'Thompson, Rachel'" <[hidden email]>
> Cc: [hidden email]
> Subject: RE: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures
> Resent-Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:16:30 +0000
> Resent-From: [hidden email]
>
> Duff Johnson wrote:
>>
>>
>> Others have voted - as you've read - against PDF altogether. I
>> understand the frustration.
>
> I think the real answer is to use the correct tool for the job. PDFs have a
> place, and as Duff notes, can be made pretty darned accessible
> (accessibility being a long-tail proposition - you will never, ever, reach
> 100%)
>
>
>> Software developers have been slow to
>> support the accessibility features in PDF. Following publication of
>> PDF/UA in 2012, however, the pace of such development has accelerated
>> dramatically, and new products are coming on the market. Big banks are
>> already delivering their statements as tagged PDF files.
>>
>> More importantly, PDF/UA means that you can tell them exactly what you
>> want. Simply say to software developers: "Hey, we want your software to
>> support PDF/UA!"
>
> It is unfortunate then that the PDF/UA Standard is hidden behind a pay-wall:
> http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_ics/catalogue_detail_ics.htm?csn
> umber=64599
>
> Yes, it could be argued that $88.00 won't break the bank (it might impact
> some however), but more importantly, that pay-to-play barrier is and remains
> one of the impediments for greater PDF accessibility.
>
> Duff, I have never worked with the ISO before, but perhaps they could be
> encouraged to do as SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television
> Engineers) did regarding SMPTE-TT (captioning format), as noted here:
> https://www.smpte.org/news-events/news-releases/smpte-makes-closed-captionin
> g-standard-freely-available-widening-access
> (Almost every other SMPTE standards document is a pay-to-access document as
> well)
>
> The financial loss to ISO would be minimal, but the impact (both in improved
> accessibility, but also "good will") would be tangible to the ISO.
>
> JF
>
>
>
>



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RE: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

Jonathan Avila-2
In reply to this post by John Foliot
> Yes, it could be argued that $88.00 won't break the bank (it might impact some however), but more importantly, that pay-to-play barrier is and remains one of the impediments for greater PDF accessibility.

Agreed.  It's not just about people buying the standard to follow it but all of the tools and accessibility platforms out there like AMP that can test and reference the standard specifics if it were open.  Training on the standard could also be more widely taught and materials created by various institutions.

Jonathan

--
Jonathan Avila
Chief Accessibility Officer
SSB BART Group
[hidden email]

703-637-8957 (o)
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | Newsletter


-----Original Message-----
From: John Foliot [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2015 1:16 PM
To: 'Duff Johnson'; 'Thompson, Rachel'
Cc: [hidden email]
Subject: RE: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures

Duff Johnson wrote:
>
>
> Others have voted - as you've read - against PDF altogether. I
> understand the frustration.

I think the real answer is to use the correct tool for the job. PDFs have a place, and as Duff notes, can be made pretty darned accessible (accessibility being a long-tail proposition - you will never, ever, reach
100%)


> Software developers have been slow to
> support the accessibility features in PDF. Following publication of
> PDF/UA in 2012, however, the pace of such development has accelerated
> dramatically, and new products are coming on the market. Big banks are
> already delivering their statements as tagged PDF files.
>
> More importantly, PDF/UA means that you can tell them exactly what you
> want. Simply say to software developers: "Hey, we want your software
> to support PDF/UA!"

It is unfortunate then that the PDF/UA Standard is hidden behind a pay-wall:
http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_ics/catalogue_detail_ics.htm?csn
umber=64599

Yes, it could be argued that $88.00 won't break the bank (it might impact some however), but more importantly, that pay-to-play barrier is and remains one of the impediments for greater PDF accessibility.

Duff, I have never worked with the ISO before, but perhaps they could be encouraged to do as SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television
Engineers) did regarding SMPTE-TT (captioning format), as noted here:
https://www.smpte.org/news-events/news-releases/smpte-makes-closed-captionin
g-standard-freely-available-widening-access
(Almost every other SMPTE standards document is a pay-to-access document as
well)

The financial loss to ISO would be minimal, but the impact (both in improved accessibility, but also "good will") would be tangible to the ISO.

JF





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Re: PDF accessibility guidelines

Felix Miata-2
In reply to this post by Accessys@smart.net
Bob composed on 2015-01-23 14:50 (UTC-0500):

> one of the problems I face is not the big players universities and
> companies but the small volunteer groups that just upload pdf documents
> and that's as far as they go,  churches and affinity groups want to be on
> line but the volunteers running the websites rarely have any training or
> even know what the W3C is much less what they say.

> one reason I just say "avoid pdf" to these groups.

No matter how much PDF/UA or ISO 32000-1 are prettified with access
capability, PDFs remain as Jakob Nielsen described on
https://web.archive.org/web/20030716054032/http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030714.html
more than a decade ago - designed for printing, not reading on a PC screen.
As most are presented, they are a web accessibility plague exceeded only by
Flash, if even that.

> as you say is a real shame the tools are behind a paywall (which is
> technically illegal in the USA) small groups churches volunteers etc $88
> may be a significant part of their budgets
--
"The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
words are persuasive." Proverbs 16:21 (New Living Translation)

 Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409 ** a11y rocks!

Felix Miata  ***  http://fm.no-ip.com/

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Re: PDF accessibility guidelines

Olaf Drümmer

On 23 Jan 2015, at 21:48, Felix Miata <[hidden email]> wrote:

> No matter how much PDF/UA or ISO 32000-1 are prettified with access
> capability,

[...]

>  they are a web accessibility plague

[...]

> "The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
> words are persuasive." Proverbs 16:21 (New Living Translation)


Why do I like this triad? ;-)


OK, folks, keep it coming, all your frustration! And once we are through with it, let's revisit the options we have in front of us.

For me the question boils down to the following:
Can we make all the PDFs, all the printed stuff, all the page centric content, all the standalone documents and publications go away? Or at least deflect into HTML/web-based representations?  Maybe. Maybe in the long run. Until then, for possibly a very long time, we will have to accept the fact that a lot of content lives in PDFs, and quite a substantial portion of it only in PDF. Interesting content. Useful content. Exciting content. Precious content.

Now, as I see it, the options in this context are:
- wait until all this stuff re-emerges as HTML / on the web
- embrace PDF and make it (more) accessible (than it is today)

Everybody is free to wait it out. I am not patient enough for this game. I have been in the PDF industry for well over 15 years, and I still see it growing substantially rather than going away any time soon. It's just too practical for too many users and use cases.


Olaf




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Re: PDF accessibility guidelines

Phill Jenkins
IBM announced a year ago (February 2014) that we will be standardizing on EPUB to reduce digital barriers and increase mobile support.
IBM standardizing on EPUB is not about where we've been (there still are a lot of PDFs out there), nor where we are today (the number of PDFs is still growing), but where we're going.  

https://www-03.ibm.com/able/news/epub.html

For more information on IBM’s move to EPUB read a blog post from Rich Schwerdtfeger, IBM’s CTO of Accessibility.

"...we are now adopting EPUB – an open document standard built on open web technologies from the World Wide Web Consortium HTML5; WAI-ARIA; CSS; MathML; and SMIL as well as other standards from IDPF – as one of our company’s primary packaged portable document formats."
____________________________________________
Regards,
Phill Jenkins,
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