2003 Conference Proceedings

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Access for All: Using HTML and PDF to Accommodate the Disabled

Presenter
Greg Pisocky
Adobe Systems, Inc.
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110

While the Web has broken down traditional barriers to communication, not everyone has been able to fully reap the benefits. For millions of individuals with disabilities, accessing information on the Web is not always easy. Seeking to bridge this digital divide, governments, the disabled community, and businesses worldwide are engaged in efforts to make the Web more accessible to people with disabilities, particularly those whose disabilities make it difficult to interact with computer technologies, for example individuals with blindness, low visual acuity, or motor impairment.

For authors and Webmasters, meeting this challenge means making accessibility a design objective. Electronic formats such as HTML and PDF are not automatically accessible, but there are ways to make them so. Whether presented in HTML, PDF, or some other format, the key to making Web-based information accessible is to create content in such a way that it can be properly interpreted by assistive technologies, such as screen readers, used by people with visual disabilities. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published guidelines on its Web site at www.w3.org to assist Web content creators with this task.

Government agencies must now comply with Section 508 to accommodate citizens with disabilities. The mandate extends to both the software used by federal workers and the information published on federal web sites. In this session, Greg Pisocky, Civilian Agency Account Manager, Government Systems at Adobe Systems, will discuss ways to generate content so it is accessible in both HTML and PDF, and help government agencies meet compliance with Section 508. Comparing the advantages of both HTML and PDF formats, Mr. Pisocky will outline the best uses of each for creating accessible documents and web sites. The session will better acquaint attendees with alternatives for making web sites and documents more accessible to people with disabilities, including blindness, low vision, motor skills impairment, and hearing impairment.

Attendees will learn:


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