By Geof Collis
Badeyes Design & Consulting
May 11, 2010
Ok, you win!! I’ve been converted!!
I’ve been advocating for years the need for providing an alternate document along with the Portable Document Format (PDF) because all I ever received was an inaccessible PDF.
I asked nicely over and over again. I tried real hard to be patient. When push came to shove, I filed a Human Rights complaint. Still to this day your websites are littered with inaccessible PDFs. I almost gave up!!!
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Adam Spencer of Accessibil-IT and now I am a convert. Give me your PDFs! I have seen the light!
There is a catch though.
They have to be accessible and that is what Accessibil-IT does, they can take your PDFs and turn them into a thing of beauty.
Anyone who uses a screen reader knows what it is like to deal with an inaccessible PDF. They know the frustration of opening one up and having their screen reader say “This document appears to be empty.” That is of course if they even bother to open it.
These same people also know the satisfaction of accessing an accessible website. Being able to understand link names, navigate with ease and fill out forms without help.
Imagine that your PDF was accessible as a well-structured accessible website and you’ll understand Accessibil-IT.
Not only do they turn your inaccessible document into an accessible one to fulfill your requirements of “Accurate and Complete” as per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Customer Care Standard and the upcoming Information and Communications Standard, you can also convert them easily into other formats knowing they will be accessible.
In the past I would accept a plain text document in place of the inaccessible PDF just so I could access the same information as everyone else, but that need not be the case anymore.
Bring on your accessible PDFs!