[Athen] JAWS and PDF/Word/Text files

Jiron, Randi RJiron at roguecc.edu
Mon Dec 12 08:30:08 PST 2016

Thank you for your response, Bevi.

Well, first off, we haven't worked with a student with needs like this for quite some time. No since way back when we were providing books on tape/CD. So, I'm sure I have a lot to learn about accessibility in PDF files. Also, I was just informed of this student by our coordinator last week and was expected to provide electronic files for her by the second week in January, we will be going on break soon, so unfortunately that limits my time. It would have been nice to have meet with her a month ago to get things ironed out. So, I don't know what her level of expertise is with JAWS and I don't know what software she has been provided on her laptop.

That being said, where can I learn about creating accessible PDF files? We get most of the electronic files from a publishing clearinghouse, so I doubt they are already accessible, but I can send you a sample chapter. We do have access to Adobe Pro which my research tells me can be used to tag the PDF files?? I have also been asked to scan a small book that we don't have a publisher file for. Can I also tag the file I will be creating? I don't even know where to begin on the math book since I'm sure there will be special software to make the math equations accessible.

Thanks again for your response, any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Randi Jiron, MBA/TM
Disability Services Specialist
Redwood Campus
Rogue Community College

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Chagnon | PubCom
Sent: Friday, December 9, 2016 4:36 PM
To: 'Access Technology Higher Education Network' <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] JAWS and PDF/Word/Text files

I'll let others address math-reading software.

But in terms of giving a PDF versus a Word versus a text document, I'd go for the PDF. That is, if it is tagged correctly for full accessibility.

A lousy PDF is a nightmare, but a well-tagged PDF with the correct reading order can be an excellent experience.

Word has its accessibility problems: one key problem for textbooks is that text boxes that are often used for pull quotes and sidebar material are not accessible in Word. But they can be made accessible in a PDF.

Text files shouldn't even be considered because that file format lacks so much:

n Headings, which are critical for comprehension and understanding, as well as for navigating the book quickly.

n Alt-text on graphics, which most likely will be the formulas and equations.

n Hyperlinks for accessing websites, cross-references, tables of content, footnotes, indexes, and anything else that should be clickable.

However, before going further, I suggest you investigate 2 things about the PDF the student was already given:
1. Is it fully accessible? That is, does it have the correct tags, reading order, alt-text, etc.
2. Does the student know how to use JAWS? A short briefing in how to access documents quickly via keyboard shortcuts could help.
3. And does her computer have software to specifically assist with reading math, science, etc.?

There are plenty of us on this list who could probably test the PDF for you. Just ask.

--Bevi Chagnon

- - -
Bevi Chagnon | www.PubCom.com<http://www.pubcom.com/>
Technologists, Consultants, Trainers, Designers, and Developers
for publishing & communication

| Acrobat PDF | Print | EPUBS | Sec. 508 Accessibility |

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From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Jiron, Randi
Sent: Friday, December 9, 2016 6:49 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network (athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>) <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: [Athen] JAWS and PDF/Word/Text files


We have a new student who is blind and requested alternate format for her books. She is a JAWS user and first requested PDF files but then said JAWS wouldn't work well with the PDF and asked for Word docs. We provided the Word docs and she says her computer froze up while trying to access. She is now asking for TEXT files, one of the books is a math book. She is working with Commission for the Blind, who has provided her with the laptop and the software that she is using. I suggested that she contact her advisor at Commission to ensure the computer is working properly and to see if there is tech support through that organization. Other than that, do you have some suggestions for us on providing electronic text for this student especially the math book? Isn't there special software for converting the math portion of the math text book?

Thank you for your time.

Randi Jiron, MBA/TM
Disability Services Specialist
Josephine County
Rogue Community College

541-956-7214 Redwood Campus
541-471-3550 FAX
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