New Tagged Adobe PDFs are More Accessible, but Many Accessibility Issues Still RemainBy Washington Assistive Technology Alliance (WATA) Bulletin,
Publication Date: Spring 2003
Article discussing the accessibility of tagged PDF files, in which authors can specifically determine reading order by tagging and identifying various blocks of text and other page elements. Alternative text descriptions can be added for images, and the native document language can be specified for optimal reading by assistive software. Tagged PDFs also allow text to be re-organized to meet people’s needs regarding screen size or font characteristics. This is especially useful for people who require large print documents, or who access documents using cell phones or personal digital assistants. Tagged PDFs are considered more accessible than other types of PDFs, though they do present numerous challenges to users. For example, tagged PDFs cannot be created from some of the most commonly used applications, including popular layout programs such as QuarkXpress. Security features may prevent some assistive technology (AT) from reading the PDF, while some and older AT and operating systems cannot be used to access PDF files. While tagged PDFs are a positive step towards accessibility, the author recommends that a fully accessible format, such as HTML or Microsoft Word, be utilized as well.
Published by: Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP) (Website:http://watap.org)
Center for Technology and Disability Studies (Web Site: http://uwctds.washington.edu )
Link to text: http://wata.org/pubs/bulletins/spring2003.htm#pdf