[Athen] Accessibility of Adobe Acrobat Pro

Karlen Communications info at karlencommunications.com
Mon Dec 16 06:05:15 PST 2013

One of the issues with those who use screen readers is that when in Adobe
Reader or acrobat we are always in "virtual view" and PDF by its nature is
not a word processing environment.

There is so much work in remediation that is visual, matching what you see
on the "printed page" with the Tags, Order and Content Panels that virtual
access is not granular enough to work with. Also, if something is not
tagged, how would someone using a screen reader even know it is on the page
and has been missed?

It is the same with adding form controls. It is a very visual process and
does, by its nature, involve using a mouse to locate and define form control
size/positions. Until the document is properly tagged, those of us using
screen readers don't have access to it.

I do agree that the UI of Acrobat is not keyboard friendly and many of us
with and without disabilities find it easier to use the keyboard for tasks
than the mouse. In this respect, Adobe has seriously dropped the ball and
never picked it up again.

For me, these are the two main issues: you have to be able to see the
content to Tag it and ensure tagging is correct; and, keyboard support in
Acrobat is quite poor.

There are some of the QA tasks that can be done if you use a screen reader.
But a screen reader can't identify untagged content.

Cheers, Karen

From: athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Ron
Sent: December 13, 2013 6:53 PM
To: 'Access Technology Higher Education Network'
Subject: RE: [Athen] Accessibility of Adobe Acrobat Pro

Evening, the base answer is no unfortunately. We just did a huge document
remediation project for one of our major clients, not the first one. One of
the reasons that we did it is because their internal folks who require
non-mouse based access could just not do the work to meet the needs of users
both with and without disabilities and this is one of the largest providers
of content in the English speaking world. I like the work, but to be honest
I also regret taking it on.

I do not believe that ADOBE has spent any significant resources in making
their document development environments even marginally accessible. The
exception would be Dreamweaver, but even there you need to operate in code
mode. None of the WYSIWIG interfaces even come close. Would love to hear
that I am wrong, but for me accessible does not also mean that I have to
memorize a whole slew of non-standard keyboard commands. That does not mean
that it is impossible, but like Google ADOBE has played this love hate game
with accessibility for a long time. I have to commend their accessibility
group for their work, but corporately ADOBE is right up there with the other
vendors in playing lip service to accessibility.

Sorry to sound so jaded, but I have now been working in this space for
twenty years and I think it is justified.

Ron Stewart

From: athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu>
[mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Howard
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2013 4:16 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] Accessibility of Adobe Acrobat Pro

Hello All:

I would assume at this point that Acrobat Pro would be fully accessible to
keyboard and screenreader users. But just wanted to check - what's the
current state of its accessibility?




Howard Kramer

Conference Coordinator

Accessing Higher Ground


cell: 720-351-8668

AHEAD Association of Higher Education and Disability

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