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About the contributor
Duff Johnson

A veteran of the electronic document space, Duff Johnson is an independent consultant. He is Executive Director of the PDF Association and ISO Project co-Leader (and US TAG chair) for ISO 32000 and ISO 14289.
More contributions
The Power of the Page

It’s a question that vexes vendors of web-based solutions everywhere: why do people still insist on PDF files? And why does PDF’s mindshare keep going up? “PDF is such antediluvian technology!” they say. “It’s pre-web, are you kidding me? It’s so old-f …

PDF Association technical resources: an overview

PDF is PDF because files produced with one vendor’s software can be read using a different vendor’s software with no loss of fidelity. Interoperability is key to our industry. The PDF Association is a international membership organization dedicated to …

2022: The last year of paper for records-keeping

NARA (The National Archives and Records Administration) is the final depository for the long-term records generated by all other agencies of the U.S. Federal Government. The agency has a key role in preserving the cultural history of the republic as we …

PDF 2.0 examples now available

The PDF Association is proud to present the first PDF 2.0 example files made available to the public. Created and donated to the PDF Association by Datalogics, this initial set of PDF 2.0 examples were crafted by hand and intentionally made simple in construction to serve as teaching tools for learning PDF file structure and syntax.

PDF 2.0 interops help vendors

The PDF 2.0 interop workshops included many vendors with products for creating, editing and processing PDF files. They came together in Boston, Massachusetts for a couple of days to test their own software against 3rd party files.

Reviewing the Australian Government’s Report on PDF Accessibility


This article analyzes the recent Australian Government’s study into the Accessibility of the Portable Document Format for people with a disability published in November, 2010 by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) together with Vision Australia, a consultancy.
Cover of the AGIMO report
The Report accurately characterizes the current state of affairs for Assistive Technology (AT) users attempting to interact with PDF content. However, it does not clearly identify the reasons why most AT users have a poor experience with PDF. Additionally, the Report provides no comparison of PDF accessibility, functionality, remediation complexity or cost with alternative formats. As a result, several of the Report’s key conclusions are unsupported by the data presented.

I argue for an different perspective. The real story is that current Australian government is itself notably responsible for perpetuating the poor user experiences with PDF reported by AT-using Australians. To the extent that the Report’s recommendations bolster current policies, or influences other governments, equivalent access to content for AT users will suffer.

Finally, I outline an alternative approach to policy-making when addressing accessibility in any electronic document format, including PDF files.

Read the rest of the article on appligent.com


Tags: WCAG 2.0, accessibility, assistive technology, compliance, study
Categories: Government, PDF/UA