Hello, and welcome to PDFs and accessibility, a webinar by the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology. My name is Corinne Weible. I’m the Deputy Project Director for PEAT, and we are delighted to be hosting today’s talk.

Before we get started I’m going to quickly review a few logistics. We will have time for questions and answers, so please enter your questions in the Chat window at any time. You can also use the Chat window if you are having any technical difficulties, and we will do our best to resolve any issues. You can download the presentation slides on, and an archived recording will be posted online following today’s event.

Also we are live tweeting today’s event from @Peatworks, so please feel free to join us, chime in, and follow along using the hashtag peatworks.

PEAT is pleased to welcome two speakers today to discuss best practices when using and creating PDF documents. We’ll cover the accessibility challenges related to PDFs and how to handle issues such an existing archive of untagged PDFs on a website.

Gian Wild is CEO of AccessibilityOz. She has worked in the accessibility industry since 1998. Gian spent six years contributing to the W3C web content accessibility guidelines version 2.0 and spoke at the United Nations conference (inaudible) on the importance of web accessibility.

Also joining today is Rob Haverty, Senior Program Manager for Accessibility at Adobe. Rob has over 20 years of accessibility experience and previously worked at Microsoft focusing on product development, technical evangelicalism, and policy and standards development.

Without further ado, I’ll turn it over to Gian.

Thanks, Corrine. Thank you everyone for being here. I see on the Chat that some people are having some problems with audio, so try dialing in by your phone as well and get (inaudible). There’s some technical people on the Chat to assist you with that.


So thank you very much for coming today, and I’m going to talk about PDF and accessibility, and I’m very happy to have Rob here to talk about what Adobe is doing in this area.

So I’m going to start off a little bit differently. Usually I talk about all the things (inaudible) to PDFs to make them accessible to people with disabilities. But sometimes these rules and instructions fall on deaf ears because (inaudible) hear a lot of excuses as to why people have to use PDFs. And so it seems to be that those excuses trump the accessibility of PDFs and therefore people think that they don’t need to do tagging and stuff like that. So I’m going to start off by talking about the excuses that people usually use as to why they have to use PDFs, and hopefully then, you know, you’ll be armed with reasons why you don’t have to use PDFs for security and things like that.

And then we’re going to move into how accessible PDF is, and Rob’s going to talk about the improvements in the area, and then we’re going to talk about how you actually deal with your PDF legacy problem. A lot of our clients have thousands of PDFs, and, you know, it really would be wonderful if you could click your fingers and make them all accessible overnight, but unfortunately that’s not possible. So you really do need to have some kind of plan. And I’ll be talking about that a little bit later on.

There is also a blog post and a fact sheet that is (inaudible) with this webinar, and you can access them in the next week or two from PEATworks. And the fact sheet will go into a lot of detail about how you actually tag PDFs for accessibility (inaudible). So definitely have a lookout for that, and Rob’s going to be contributing that so you got it straight from Adobe on how to do these things. But definitely keep an eye out for that, and I’m sure that Corrine will email people when that comes out.

So, the first excuse I often hear is security. We have to provide it via PDF because it’s the only secure format. Now that’s not actually the case. It’s pretty easy to edit a PDF even one that has security features turned on. And, you know, how would you actually respond to someone that said, you know, I downloaded this document from your website and it said you were going to give me a million dollars. You know, that’s what people kind of worry about in terms of security, that they’re going to show some kind of document that says, you know, that you, as an organization, have to do something that you can’t do or won’t do.

Now, obviously, you’re not going to give this person a million dollars just because they gave you a document, so some of the things that you can do is you can actually go back to your archived version at your site and say that’s not the document that was on the site. You can find the original, and things like that. So really security is not a good enough reason to say that you don’t need to provide context in something other than PDF.

And if you think about it, what’s more secure than PDF? I would say I’m not very technical, but I could definitely edit a secure PDF. But I can tell you what I can’t do. I can’t quite hack into your website and change the content on your page. So there are some people that can do that, but I’m certainly not one of them and there’s a lot fewer people that can hack a website and change your html than there is that can download a document (inaudible) and modify it. So if someone says to you, no, this context absolutely has to be secure, we really don’t want anyone to have some alternative versions running around, then maybe you should consider html instead of PDF.

The next excuse we hear is things like brand, where, you know, you think clearer images, you know we want everything to look exactly the same no matter what browser you people use or, you know, what kind of printing they do, everything needs to align exactly the same. It is important to think here about mobile. In terms of mobile, what can happen PDFs are larger than html to load, and so when you’re accessing a PDF on mobile, you often do get a level of delay as it’s being downloaded. That’s not a good thing for your brand either. If you think about going to a restaurant or something like that and wanted to download the menu, you know, someone has to wait three minutes to download your menu, that’s not a good experience for your customers.

And so this is what happens with html. You know, not only is it very quick, but it resizes, it’s easy to modify, people can see it in color if they want, and things like that. So especially if you’re providing content to eyeball and about 30-35% of all, on average, pics to a website (inaudible) a tablet device, then really think about html. And, you know, Rob’s going to talk a little bit later about how Adobe is going to be improving things from (inaudible), so this might be an issue that is quite short lived.

The other excuse we hear a lot is well people want print versions. You know, if people want print versions, then maybe give them print versions. You know, print them out yourself and send them to them. It’s actually – ink, printer ink – actually costs more than human blood. It actually costs more than penicillin, vodka, Red Bull, bottled water, and crude oil. It’s a very, very expensive thing to purchase. And also people with disabilities or the people that are being assisted by government organizations are in that lower socioeconomic range. And so it’s important that you do support them as much as possible and basically giving them a PDF and expecting them to print it out is passing on that cost to your users, which is not really fair.

The other excuse I hear a lot is it’s easy. For Dr. Who fans, you know, Dr. Who always wants this big red button, you know, you just press it and everything happens. And in a lot of ways PDF can be easy, especially if you have a Word document you can just print to PDF and, you know, voila, you get a PDF that you can upload on a website. But the thing to remember is that no one has ever created a PDF in Acrobat. Most of the time it comes from (inaudible), or Word, or something like that. And so think about maybe providing those original documents as well as the PDF just to enhance that level of accessibility.

So those are the excuses I hear, so hopefully now you’re armed with some reasons when your marketing departments say, oh, now, we have to have it in PDF for this reason.

And now I’m going to talk a little bit about how PDF can be problematic.

Really it’s important to ask are PDFs accessible. And I’m going to just branch out. As you can probably tell from my accent, I’m from Australia. And back in the old days, (inaudible), was almost ten years ago now, the Australian government did an inquiry into accessible PDFs. And they (inaudible) the PDFs with people who were vision impaired, they considered (inaudible), and they deemed that PDF was not accessibility supported. So basically it was not possible to make a PDF accessible. And there were three reasons.

The first was the design of the PDF file. So back in 2008 there was no such thing as PDF UA, which Rob is going to talk about a little (inaudible). And also the great majority of PDFs on the list on (inaudible) are not actually tagged with accessibility features. And really, a PDF that isn’t tagged with accessibility features is not going to be accessible. Just like a html page or a website that doesn’t use html accessibility features is not going to be accessible.

The second reason they found was the technical functionality of the assistive technology. So often the PDF would be tagged perfectly, but the assistive technologies themselves couldn’t interpret them properly so they could read out a radio button, for example, or they didn’t appropriately identify headings or things like that. And that’s got to do with the capability of the assistive technologies themselves.

And the third reason was the skill of the end user. Often for some unknown reason, using your assistive technology, whether that be a screen reader or (inaudible) recognition software, or even a keyboard, often using your assistive technology with a tagged PDF requires a completely different set of functions to what people use when browsing the internet. And what this means is because there are so few tagged PDFs on the web, people didn’t have the opportunity to learn how to use their assistive technologies with PDFs. And as a result, even though they probably could access a whole lot of information in the PDF, they didn’t know how to because they didn’t know how to use their assistive technology.

Now that was, as I said, almost ten years ago. And they said that they would review the accessibility of PDFs again in 2013-2014. And as a result of that, they came up with this response: If authors incorporate accessibility features into the design of their document, the resulting accessibility will likely cater for people who use assistive technology such as screen-reading software which has been designed to support these features in desktop/PC environment.

So the important thing to take out of that is that you must use the accessibility features within PDFs. And it is supported in that desktop/PC environment. However, they say, there is currently a significant limitation on the accessibility of PDF documents in the mobile environment as mobile screen-reader technology does not reveal any information kept contained in the markup tags. And the markup tags are the accessibility features that we talked about. So basically you need to accept that if you have a tagged PDF, it’s not going to be accessible to someone using a assistive technology on a mobile or tablet device.

Now it’s also, you know, then people often say to me, oh, but screen-reader users rarely use mobile and tablet devices. And in many cases they use mobile and tablet devices much more than they use desk top or laptop because if you think about it, if they’re visually impaired, they don’t need this really big screen and keyboard and all that kind of stuff to carry around with them because they can’t see it. So if they can do everything off mobile, they can easily carry that stuff around. And that’s my personal assistant, who is vision impaired, and relies on both (inaudible) and (inaudible). She does most of her work using the iPhone. And we considered getting her an iPad, and she said, no, no, no, I don’t want to carry an iPad around with me. I’m happy just to carry my iPhone with me. So that is something to take into account. And it is something that really both Apple and those assistive technologies need to look into.

So in Australia, as I said I live in (inaudible) Australia, what the result is is that they require an accessible equivalent for all PDFs. And that accessible equivalent is html, Word, text, or rtf. And it also requires that PDFs are tagged with accessibility features. So headings, alternative text, bookmarks, etc.

And we really say this when we look at the comments that people with disabilities make when it comes to PDFs. So I’m going to read out some comments from people who have – physically vision impaired, who use PDFs.

So this person says, I recently attended a training course, and we were required to read a number of articles prior to the commencement of the course. The articles were all sent as a PDF. I opened the first one hoping that it had been formatted correctly so that it would be accessible to read. My screen reader announced “alert, empty document.” I sighed in frustration realizing the document was a scanned image of the text. I tried to use OCR, which is optical character recognition, software to recognize the text. Certain parts were readable while other paragraphs containing text interspersed with symbols and numbers making it impossible to read.

So, you know, this kind of problem is addressed simply by having the PDF and not having a scanned PDF. So that PDF could definitely have been accessible to the (inaudible) if it had been tagged properly.

Another person said, I was looking forward to a night out at one of my local pubs with some friends. I’d not been to this particular venue before, so I found a PDF version of the menu on their website. The screen reader presented the food items first, followed by a string of numbers, indicating prices for each item. This made it difficult to read the menu properly, and I had to rely on my friends to read it for me. People are usually happy to help, whether it be friends or restaurant staff, but when information isn’t accessible, it takes away a person’s choice and right to be independent.

So once again, you know, this is a menu. So perhaps it should have been html, but if it remains PDF, there are ways to tag tables accessibly in PDFs. And so this document wasn’t tagged that way and therefore wasn’t accessible to this user.

And then the third comment is, There’s nothing as frustrating and time consuming as PDFs with tables which are not tagged. Imagine a programming tutorial in which you first read or hear ten commands and only then you read their explanations starting from the first one. It happens when instead of a correct table, one puts text in two columns. For a sighted person it looks fine. But for a screen reader user, it is illegible.

So one of the things that I really want you to take from those comments is that PDFs can be accessible to those users if they’re tagged properly. And so tagging is really an absolutely essential part of the accessibility of PDFs.

Oh, and one last positive comment. Whenever I come across a correctly-tagged PDF document, I know that the company which released it hires really professional editors who do know their job. Professionally prepared accessible content is the best sign for me that this organization delivers high quality products.

So, we come back to the question, are PDFs accessible? And yes, the answer is in many cases PDFs are accessible when they are tagged properly. There are some cases where there are accessibility issues with PDFs. And there’s basically three main accessibility issues with PDFs even if they’re tagged properly.

The first one is that tagging is time consuming. It is unreliable, and it is buggy. And I do know that Adobe is improving that, and Rob’s going to talk about that (inaudible). But, you know, probably about six or seven years ago we got permission to create a tagged version of a 160-page annual report. It took me because I’m the one that’s most skilled in PDF tagging, it took me 40 hours to tag that PDF with accessibility features. And it took me two hours to create an accessible Word version. The original content was (inaudible).

So, you know, if you’re talking about two hours versus 40 hours for a document that’s only 160 pages, then you can see why tagging isn’t something that, you know, people do all the time because it can be problematic. And I’m really happy to say that, you know, Adobe is looking into this.

PDFs don’t display properly on mobile. And this has a lot to do with the mobile device manufacturers themselves. And so hopefully they will improve with time as well.

So then there’s the third issue is the assistive technology problem. So, you know, some screen readers don’t interpret tagging on mobile, and that’s something that needs to be addressed as well.

But if those three things were addressed, then you could definitely say that PDF was an accessible technology. And so we’re really moving towards that way.

I’m just looking at the questions. Karen Rickert (sp) says, It is necessary to make a PDF accessible if you have an accompanying text document that even describes images? This is really up to you, Karen. You can say that that accompanying text document is the main or the official version and the PDF is there to provide an additional format. And then you wouldn’t need to create those – use those accessibility features within PDF.

And Lisa Poole (sp) asks, Why have a PDF when you can scan with OC options on? So, just turning OC (inaudible) on a scanned document, firstly it doesn’t actually interpret text very well. But it isn’t going to tag your PDF. So when we’re talking about tagging your PDF, and Rob’s going to talk about that later, is you actually say, instead of having a heading that looks like a heading, you’ve actually coded it behind the scenes to say, this is a heading. And this is something someone has to do. They have to add these tags to the PDF. It’s not something that’s done automatically.

So, you know, as (inaudible) a bit, they get the basics, but they do really need someone to take that role on.

And Ana Stillman (sp) says, Some people have a high (inaudible) PDF on the website that are syllables. I’m not sure how we can change that. Yes, our syllable PDFs are even more difficult to use than the standard PDF. And I think that, really, I want to focus on, you know, the majority of PDFs that are out that which are really text documents with images and things like that. And once that’s (inaudible), then we can start looking at forms and things like that.

Okay, so over to Rob to talk about improvements in PDF tagging. Take it away, Rob.

Thank you, Gian. And go ahead and go to the next slide.

As was mentioned at the top of this, I used to work at Microsoft and then at Adobe for about ten months now. And when I came on, one of my areas of responsibility was PDF accessibility. And I was not particularly versed in PDF, and so I had the opportunity to experience all of your frustrations from day one with trying to make PDFs accessible. Certainly it’s possible, but it is definitely not easy. I had the advantage of getting to meet Gian last November at a conference where we did have this discussion and came up with the three areas that Gian mentioned. A, it’s difficult. B, not good support on mobile. And C, screen readers don’t always do a good job. So we are actively working to address those issues, and so I want to share some of that with you and try to address some of these questions as well as we go along.

So I’m going to start with the mobile side first because I think we’ve done some great work there. We actually – you are actually getting the first announcement, on the 21st of this month, so just two days ago, we released a new version of the Acrobat Reader on android. And it has support now for paragraph headings, links and images. So if the PDF is tagged correctly, you will have a better reading experience on android. We actually released the same functionality on iOS earlier this year. So both iOS and android will now read PDF better. There are still some gaps. Lists and tables are one of those. And we’re working with Apple to get support for lists and tables. Android already has that so we should be seeing a release later this year on android that has support in the reader for lists and tables. And that will get us to the bulk of a – what I’ll call a standard document.

So we are moving forward on that, and I’m really looking forward to, by this fall, being able to say you can now read a PDF as well on a mobile device as you can on a desktop device.

Forms was mentioned in one of the questions. And you can see forms is sort of third on the list. And in this case it is about being able to read the form and being able to understand the form field as opposed to filling it out.

We have a companion product at Adobe called Adobe Sign where you now can send a form to someone or receive a form from an organization that will have form fields that are fillable. Again, the authoring is critical to make sure that the toolkits for those form fields are accurate enough for people to understand what they’re filling out, and to sign the document and submit it. So we are working on improving the experience of receiving and completing a form. I will say with great chagrin that from my perspective creating a form is one of the most difficult things to do. Create an accessible PDF form.

So let’s go to the next slide – oh, and I’ll just finish on this one but thank you, just stay where you are. And we are working with the screen reader vendors on a regular basis to improve their support for tagging. Gian mentioned PDF UA. It’s great. We now have the PDF Universal Access standard that defines what needs to be supported in the way of PDF tagging in order to make a document accessible. This makes it a whole lot easier for screen reader manufacturers to then say, oh, okay, I need to support these things instead of this scattershot of oh, what do we support first. So I think we’ll be seeing great improvements with screen readers as well, and as I say, we’re working directly with them.

Okay, next slide.

So, all that is great. It’s wonderful that all these devices and every platform will be able to read accessibly tagged PDFs. However, it can still be challenging to create that accessible PDF. And we recognize that. So there are a number of things that we are doing on our end to improve that.

First of all we are on a regular basis releasing updates to Acrobat to improve the experience of creating accessible PDFs. The key to that is, unfortunately, but in some respects not unfortunately because this is true in technology period, you kind of have to have the latest version of any product to get the best support for accessibility. This was always true when I was at Microsoft, and this is true here. So in Acrobat Pro DC, you’ll see improvements. Those of you who have been doing PDF work for a long time know that one of the greatest frustrations was there was no Undo functionality. We actually introduced that in November. I keep saying welcome to the 1990s, we now have Undo.

But those are the types of things that we’re working on to make the experience better in Acrobat today.

While we’re continuing to improve that, we also are working on the next generation of automatically tagging documents. So you can take an OCR document, or a scanned document, run OCR, run automatic tagging, and you will get far better results than you are getting today. So stay tuned on that one.

I see I have a question about Acrobat Pro 11. Yes, to get the best experience in working on PDFs to make them accessible you need to upgrade to Acrobat Pro DC. The new functionality that we’ve added is not in Pro 11. And actually I was just told yesterday in a meeting with the New York City Department of Education by one of our sales people that I think the end of this year support expires for Acrobat Pro 11, so you’re going to want to upgrade at any rate.

So, improving the automation, which goes a long way because, you know, it’s great to say that, you know, people can make an accessible Word document, people can make accessible html, but in my experience the reality is people still don’t. Microsoft has had the accessibility checker in Word for at least ten years now, and yet most documents that I see today that are Word documents still are not truly created to be fully accessible. And so having this automated way of taking any document and turning it into an accessible PDF will be a great improvement for the work.

Additionally, at the same time, we’re getting a whole new tool. Again, those of you who are familiar with working in Acrobat to tag a PDF or to make a PDF accessible know that there can be as many as eight different tools that you have to go to, and you’ve got to learn each one, and I personally feel that if you don’t do this on a regular basis every day, it’s very difficult to develop the expertise needed. We’re effectively going to be replacing that with a new tool that will make it a much more seamless and easy experience. So stay tuned for that!

And then the other thing that’s happening is we are working on enhancing the PDF standard and PDF itself so that PDF will be more robust and provide greater interaction and responsiveness.

Let’s see if I’m missing any – okay.

All right. So that’s kind of where we are today. And I think it’s back over to you, Gian.

Thanks, Rob. So it’s really great stuff that Adobe is doing. But, you know, what does this mean in reality? It means you actually, you must tag your PDFs. Maybe you can hold off the, you know, six months or so while Adobe adds some more functionality. But you may still consider that until assistive technologies get their act together, you know, you might need to provide an alternative to ensure information is provided accessibly. So you might, even if you tag your PDFs, there are some places where you might want to consider providing an html or Word to really make sure that everything is accessible.

I’d just say there’s some questions. I just want to add in Bridget’s questions about good guides and instructions on tagging, that will come with the Fact Sheet that will be released in a couple of weeks. And there are a number of companies, including ours, that run PDF training. And I’m sure that Adobe has a list of them that can help you as well.

But chances are, you know, as I said before, you probably have thousands of PDFs on your site. They may have been created from Word, but no one actually knows where those Word documents are. None of them are tagged because, you know, no one had those skills and no one thought it was important. No one owns them, no one wants to tag them now. But this is probably where most of our clients are at. And even though, let’s say, in order for things to be accessible everything needs to be tagged, as I said before, you can’t click your fingers and automatically tag all these documents.

So what do you do? I’m going to hand it over now to Rob to talk very briefly about the basics of PDF tagging, and then I’m going to talk about how you actually prioritize the PDFs that you do have so that you focus on the most important ones first.

So back over to you, Rob.

Thanks, Gian. And yes, this is very, very high level, and to several of the questions, there are resources out there. And as Gian mentioned, the Fact Sheet will help with that when it comes out. But there are resources available everywhere that provide detailed information on how to correctly tag PDFs. And, of course, we have things at Adobe as well. And so there’s materials.

But I wanted to kind of alert you to a couple of really important sort of high-level things.

The first thing is the source document is king. If you do a really good job of creating an accessible Word document, for example, converting it into an accessible PDF is a whole lot easier. There are some things that Word doesn’t support, like Row Headers in a table, it only support column headers, so there’s some work that you still would have to do, or you may have to do depending upon the complexity of the document. But if you’re using Styles and using everything in Word to create the most successful document you can, remediating that, then, in PDF becomes almost nonexistent and certainly much, much easier. Particularly for a simple document where maybe you only have text and lists and maybe some images, you actually shouldn’t have to do anything if you’ve done it right in PDF and converted it using the right converter. That’s one of the other big key things. There’s multiple ways to convert to PDF.

The other thing to be really aware of is this thing that we call the hierarchy of tasks. And I say here there be monsters. You remember in the old days in maps of the sea there would be unknown territories and it said, you know, here there be dragons, or here there be monsters. This is where all the gotchas are around creating a successful PDF. You really have to make sure that the steps are followed before tagging it. So if it was a scanned image, you need to perform text recognition first, or OCR. If it has form fields, you need to create those before you tag it. If it contains links, you need to make sure the links are correct before you tag it. If it has multimedia, make sure that’s correct before you tag it.

Once all of that has been done, then you can tag the document.

Now, if you’ve done this all in Word, you don’t have to worry about it in Acrobat or in PDF.

The other big gotcha is editing the document. If you are editing a PDF, you are very likely going to create havoc with the accessibility of it. The tag tree can get corrupted. And redacting content is the same thing as editing it, and so that will corrupt the accessibility of that document. I actually have some tips and tricks for how to avoid that, which stay tuned for another opportunity for all of those things because I actually have a two-day class I teach on PDF accessibility. Obviously we can’t cover that in an hour.

Is there an established timeframe for the new tool? In the next 12 to 18 months. And actually I’ve been saying that for six months, so it’s really within the next six to 12 months. We’re getting close on the new tool. It’s a lot of work.

Okay, back to you, Gian.

Thanks, Rob.

Okay, so, as I said, you still need to make all your accessibility requirements, and you can’t do things automatically, so I’d like to talk about accessibility.

First of all, the first thing that you need to do is provide an easy and accessible method for your users to request either an accessible version of the PDF, whether that is a tagged version or an html version or a Word version, an audio version, a printed and (inaudible) version. Make sure someone is actually responsible for these tasks. So it’s actually in their KPI, you know, it’s in their job description, and that, you know, that they are actually are on the website. Someone’s checking that people are actually, you know, checking that people are getting these emails.

The captioner are lost audio, so I might just give them a moment to catch up.

Let’s see if there are any other questions. I do know that there are two questions from a Sue Hitchen (sp) and a Sue Roth (sp) for Rob for later on. Sue Hitchen says, We have Acrobat Adobe Pro 11. Are you stating we need a more recent version to get those accessibility features (inaudible) screen reader. And Sue Roth says, Does Pro DC work better for adding optic images? Sorry, I’ll make sure Rob could answer that at the end.

And I’ll just (inaudible) a couple of moments.

Did anyone have any questions that I can answer?

Hello, this is Rob. I’ll just jump back in and say, you know, the question regarding Alt tags on images, there’s what I think is a relatively simple way in Acrobat Pro DC but I’m not sure it’s necessarily different than was in 11. I came on board at Adobe post-11, so I’m not an expert in it. But, again, in the Fact Sheet that Gian mentioned, there will be a section on providing Alt text on images. So stay tuned.

And I can also say that Rob showed me the way that he has (inaudible) images, and it’s a whole lot easier than the way that I’ve been adding Alt attribute images. And so one of the things that, you know, Rob did say to me is that there are often multiple ways to do the same thing, and there might be another way to do exactly the same thing that’s much easier. So definitely look for that Fact Sheet.

James Vail (sp) says, What other options other than PDF? You know, if you really are looking for a format other than PDF, I would say html trumps everything all the time. If you really can’t put it in html, then I would say Word. Text and RTF have their own problems. So really if you’ve got to have an alternate format, it really should be in html or Word.

Karen Richert (sp) has a question about encoding. That one I’m going to leave for Rob.

Ann Mangini (sp) asks if there will be a transcript. (Inaudible) there will.

Yeah, and Rob, this is another one for you. Using the most PDF advanced version, will it be an issue for those who use a lower version?

So, Karen, we’re going to have to take this one offline, and I certainly would be happy to pass the information back through to everyone, but I’m going to need more on that. Yeah, I’m going to need more on that. And a lot of times, and, you know, I’ve only got 156 – sure, I’ve got 130 new best friends. Feel, you know, Corrine, feel free to share my email and people can contact me directly if you have questions about a particular document, if you can share that document with me, that is the most helpful.

Using the most advanced PDF version, will it be an issue for those who use lower versions? I’m not sure I understand that question.

Well I think I might take over from you, Rob.

Oh, got it.

And we have given the captioner enough time to catch up.

Okay, great.

Yeah, I’m just getting a bit worried about time.

So, okay, the first thing is, you know, on the contact page where your PDFs are, do you have that ability so that if someone can’t access your content they have a way to ask you for a version. And also if you create an accessible version for someone, then put that on your website as well. You know, replace the untagged PDF with the tagged PDF and the Word version, etc.

The next thing you need to do is identify the PDFs that you have. And there are a lot of tools out there that will tell you where all the PDFs are on your website. We have a tool called (inaudible) that will do that for you. And it can also tell you things like whether they’re scanned, how many pages they are, whether they have languages, whether they’re tagged, etc.

But remember not all PDFs are equal. You need to identify those that are aimed at people with disabilities. But you need to legally require to provide to the public those that are popular and downloaded often. And also required to access your product or service, so your application form, etc. so those are ones you need to focus on more importantly than, say, you know, an annual report that was ten years old.

Then you need to plan for the future. You need to create the process so that people can find the alternative accessible version, whether that is the Word version or (inaudible) or something like that. Or create an alternative accessible version. Or also tag the PDF. (Inaudible) need to do all three. So you need to have a process. You need to have someone that is responsible for that. You need to make sure – it’s quite a big job but it’s going to take some time, you know maybe an actual project (inaudible).

And then you also need to make sure that you always upload the alternate version with the PDF from now on. If you are providing something that is in PDF, you need to provide that alternate version, especially if it is aimed at one of those groups and, you know, the tagging process is still not as reliable as it could be.

And then last but not least, please share your enhanced knowledge of PDF. And what this, you know, this basically means is you need to tell people that tagging PDFs is important. That there are improvements coming, and that sometimes that accessible alternative is required, but hopefully, you know, for the next, you know, 12 to 18 months or six to 12 months.

So I’m glad the captioner is back. The captionee didn’t miss very much. And now we’re open for questions, we’ll open it up to questions. I know that Rob has been answering some, so I might, Corrine, I might hand it over to you so you can, yes, figure out if we’ve missed any.

Thank you so much, Gian and Rob. You’ve already covered many, many questions, which is fantastic. I think you caught everything that has been posted already.

I do see James (Inaudible) says, Can you provide references to html for accessibility if such a go-to Bible exists? We did do some webinars, we did one on videos, tables and images for Paint Works (sp), and there are some associated fact sheets with that as well, so definitely have a look at Paint Works for that information. And, of course, html for accessibility, you really need to look at the web content Accessibility Guidelines Version 2. So, yeah, that’s my response to James.

Okay, great. And I can respond – there’s a question about, Do we have to request a transcript and Fact Sheet or will it be sent to everyone? You’re definitely going to get a link that will automatically come when the transcript and the video are archived to the site. You’ll be emailed that link. If the Fact Sheet is available then, I’ll include that there. Otherwise it would be a separate notification. But I can also send that as well. And you can also follow that and, you know, more postings by signing up for our newsletter which you can do at at the bottom of any of our webpage, and then you’ll get some other great materials as well. For example, Gian will be doing a blog that’s also coming out in the next few weeks.

So apart from that I see a question from Sue Roark (sp). Could you recommend good converters? I tried to convert Constant Contact emails. I believe they started in html.

That’s one for you, Rob.

Sorry. So are we talking converting from –

I think she’s trying to convert emails, which are from html to PDF?

So an email created in Constant Contact with html.

That’s a really good question. I do not know the answer to that. But I will find out. I’m not familiar with Constant Contact.

Great. Any other questions?

Thanks, James, for calling me a rock star!


I was about to say. Yes, which you are. I would say you both are. And, yeah, it looks like everybody is excited about the information shared today, which is wonderful. And, yes, thanks so much to you both for joining today. It was a really fantastic webinar, and as a reminder, this is a webinar that is part of a series that Gian has been delivering for PEAT on digital accessibility in the workplace over the last several months. You can view the archives for the earlier webinars on any time. And topics have included accessibility-related tables, images and videos.

We hope you can also join us for our next PEAT Talk on Thursday, April 20th at 2:00 p.m. ET. Our guest will be Peter Wallace, Senior Director for Oracle’s accessibility program. Peter will discuss the challenges and successes that the (inaudible) team has experienced as well as accessibility features that are currently in production for this popular talent management platform. You can find the registration link for that event on or look for an email from PEAT with more information.

And so, again, we’ll be sending out an email in about a week or two with the corrected full transcript and recorded video. And you can download the presentation today as well on our site, P – E – A – T – W – O – R – K – S dot O – R – G,

So, again, special thanks to Gian and Rob for joining us today and all of you who took the time to join us. Please enjoy the rest of your afternoon, and we hope to see you all again next month.