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PDF Association

Mission Statement: To promote Open Standards-based electronic document implementations using PDF technology through education, expertise and shared experience for stakeholders worldwide.
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Have we passed ‘peak PDF’?

How do we gain insight into how users’ views of documents are shifting? Google Trends is an increasingly interesting source of high-level marketplace data. By aggregating Google’s search data over time, reporting a term’s popularity as compared with all other searches.

Participating in the PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit’s objective is to establish a broad-based understanding of how PDF files should be tagged for accessibilty. It’s an opportunity to focus on establishing a common set of examples of accessible PDF content, and identify best-practice when tagging difficult cases.

Members supporting PDF features!

The typical adoption curve for PDF technologies until approximately 2007 tended to track with that of the original PDF developer. Since then the marketplace has shifted; it’s no longer clear that Adobe drivesPDF feature support worldwide. Accordingly, we are happy to report that adoption of PDF 2.0 continues apace, with new vendors announcing their support every month.

Modernizing PDF Techniques for Accessibility

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit will identify best-practices in tagging various cases in PDF documents. Questions to be addressed will likely include: the legal ways to tag a nested list, the correct way to caption multiple images, the appropriate way to organize content within headings.

Refried PDF

My hospital emailed me a medical records release form as a PDF. They told me to print it, fill it, sign it, scan it and return it to the medical records department, in that order. In 2018? To get the form via email (i.e., electronically), yet be asked to print it? Did the last 20 years just… not mean anything! So I thought I’d be clever. I’d fill it first, THEN print it. Or better yet, never print it, but sign it anyhow, and return it along with a note making the case for improving their workflow. The story continues…

Added value for PDF users

The PDF/UA framework allows assistive technology, PDF applications and the PDF file format to work together optimally so that as many people as possible have access to PDF documents with sound technical support. Disabled users will see the most significant benefits, as they often use a range of assistive technologies to help them access digital content which their disability would otherwise render inaccessible.

Visual or motor impairments

For example, partially-sighted users, depending on the degree of their impairment, may use a larger screen, customised colour and text size settings, or an intelligent screen magnifier. Blind users, or those with particularly severe visual impairments, may use a so-called screen reader (using text-to-speech) and/or a Braille display in order to read PDF documents. A screen reader is a program installed on the user’s computer which reads all visible content aloud. A Braille display is a haptic interface for the same content; it outputs text using raised, moving Braille dots.

A user with restricted arm or hand mobility may use a range of assistive technology to navigate and make use of a PDF document. Instead of a classical computer mouse, they may use a specialist mouse or keyboard, or an onscreen keyboard. Depending on the degree and nature of their disability and their own aptitude, the user may also have other input options, such as special sensors, switches and/or key combinations, or enlargement options. The user can also give spoken commands to speech recognition software or use eye movements and a gaze-tracking system to control their computer.

Reading and writing difficulties

Dyslexic users find it unusually difficult to learn to read. They find it difficult to recognise and process written text. Assistive technologies such as specialised screen readers can help them overcome this. These read content aloud and highlight the same section of text on the screen. This gives the reader a cue, facilitates comprehension and helps them to improve their reading skills and master written language.

Easier reading and navigation on mobile devices

PDF/UA specifies the technical requirements for assistive technology to fully interact with PDF documents using PDF/UA-compliant PDF software. As long as the assistive technology and PDF software used is fully compliant with the standard, the result for disabled users is a high-quality reading and navigational experience. The standard will also benefit other users, however; anyone who reads documents on mobile devices, for example, will appreciate PDF content automatically adjusting itself to a reader-friendly size without affecting the semantic structure.

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Tags: Color, assistive technology, braille, contrast, screen reader
Categories: PDF/UA