[LINK] Aust Gov PDF Accessibility Review

Frank O'Connor foconnor at ozemail.com.au
Mon Oct 12 15:58:11 AEDT 2009

Yo Bernard,

1. PDF is cool ... but the way the government goes about implementing 
it on the Web can tend to be variable.

The other day I was perusing a PDF submission at a government Web 
site, and I got back a document with a '.aspx' format (Microsoft's 
latest ASP.NET from memory) when I clicked on the PDF link. I 
subsequently changed the document suffix to '.pdf' and was able to 
read it ... but this illustrates the typically maladroit way in which 
the government implements 'standards' and connections with its less 
than impressed public.

2. Implementing PDF in the LEAST POSSIBLE COMPLEX way would be a good 
idea ... but it sounds from your missive that they intend to create a 
format with the most possible points of failure that can be whacked 
into such a simple process. Use PDF for a common accessible document 
format ... use the Web and HTML for tags, hyperlinks and the like.

3. Every experience I've had with PDF forms (PDF files with online 
form capabilities) has been disastrous. The size of the puppies 
really blows out, the creators seem to want to validate every damn 
entry on the form, which means they're slow and unwieldy compared to 
a Web alternative and they pretty much just mirror paper forms - 
which isn't the idea in electronic transactions, is it?

4. Other acceptable formats would probably be RTF and early (up to 
2003) versions of Word/Excel/Powerpoint (which are readable by pretty 
well any office type package now)

At 9:38 AM +1100 12/10/09, Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:
>PDF Accessibility Review
>The Australian Government is seeking input to inform its policy about
>the use of the Portable Document Format (PDF) for the provision of
>government information online.
>We are seeking feedback about the accessibility and ease of use of PDF
>files on the internet, especially via assistive technologies. We are
>seeking to understand common access issues or problems encountered when
>using PDF files on the internet.
>The Australian Government is also interested in receiving feedback about
>creating tagged PDF files, including resource intensiveness and
>complexity. We also want to understand any related accessibility issues
>of tagged PDF files.
>... etc
>Bernard Robertson-Dunn
>Canberra Australia
>brd at iimetro.com.au
>Link mailing list
>Link at mailman.anu.edu.au

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