Thursday, November 04, 2010

PDFs and accessibility of government information

Gian Wild will talk about "PDFs and accessibility - AGIMO review" at the Web Standards Group meeting in Canberra, 16 November, 2010.

At the previous WSG Meeting, an AGIMO representative expressed the view that it was not feasible to make PDF, RTF or MS Word files accessible and so agencies should provide information as accessible web pages. That statement (which I support) appears to have pre-empted the formal release of the AGIMO PDF Accessibility Review, which was due to report in mid-2010 (and is now four months late). This would not be a great change from the current formal AGMIO advice: "Agencies are reminded that it is still a requirement to publish an alternative to all PDF documents (preferably in HTML)."

My suggestion would be to make corporate reports available in EPUB e-book format and the same content as ordinary web pages. Corporate types would see "e-book" as being a trendy new thing they could read on their iPads. Most people would read the same content as ordinary web pages.

November 2010 Canberra WSG meeting

Date: Tuesday 16 November, 2010

Time: 3.00pm - 4.30pm ...

Cost: Free

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Topic 1: PDFs and accessibility - AGIMO review

PDFs have always been an issue when it comes to accessibility. With the advent of WCAG2, it becomes the decision of policy-makers such as AGIMO and the Australian Human Rights Commission (formerly HREOC) as to whether PDFs are deemed an 'accessible technology' and whether they can be on a site without an accessible alternative. AGIMO is currently undertaking a review of PDFs and their capacity to be made accessible. This seminar talks about the review and its likely outcomes.

About the presenter

Gian Wild has worked in the accessibility industry since 1998 and consulted on the development of the first Level AAA accessible web site in Australia (Disability Information Victoria). She ran the accessibility consultancy PurpleTop from 2000 to 2005 and built the accessibility tool, PurpleCop. Amongst other sites, Gian has worked as the Accessibility Consultant for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and was responsible for training Microsoft developers in accessibility. She also wrote the original and updated version of the Victorian eGovernment Resource Centre Web Accessibility Toolkit. Gian was a Member of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group from May 2000 to August 2006.

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