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Static Documents on the Web: Document Accessibility

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[Brief synopsis of 1-2 sentences]


Page author(s): Klaus Miesenberger, Andrea Petz

Other contact(s): Shawn Henry


Guidelines, Static Documents, Structure & Design, File Formats


Many rules, guidelines and recommendations have been developed to help authoring and publishing information on the internet so that it can be read and used by the broadest audience possible. Following those rules and also everyday experiences, it becomes clear that often the information needed is too long or in an other way not adapted to be displayed on-line and needs publication via download. If those documents are not structured and design in an accessible manner, the effect of the whole website accessibility is subverted, leading to barriers and frustration.


A lot of research has been done concerning static document accessibility for including accessibility of widely used file formats (e.g. pdf, doc, odd, xls), providing specialised formats (e.g. DAISY)and conversion tools, over accessible adaptation of graphical contents to language adaptations (Easy-to-Read). Even if web accessibility guidelines are implemented on a page, documents and information available via download are not. There are many reasons for this break in the eAccessibility chain. Web authors simply don't take care on this issues as document authors are other people. Often documents can not be changed nor copied due to IPR reasons. Very often the core information and final target a user is searching for on a web page is not accessible. Also basically accessible websites loose their benefit because of inaccessible documents are attached. Many people are not aware of this problems and accessible templates (e.g. for creating accessible .pdf files that both, comply with IPR considerations and nevertheless are accessible for screenreaders). Not only complicated documents, like .pdf forms to be filled in and saved / printed by users - often connected with watersigns and or digital signatures or certificate servers but also basic things are often an unsurmountable barrier for the user / client. Besides basic access to the content also the complexity of design and language use often lead to serious usability/accessibility problems.


  1. Are available rules/guidelines for document accessibility sufficient?
  2. Are rules for accessible webdesign adaptable to accessible documents?
  3. What different filetypes are used to display further information to be downloaded and how is accessibility supported in design and editing tools?
  4. What filetypes would be best adapted / most accessible for the broadest possible user group?
  5. What filetypes would be best for information providers (IPR / Security, / Ease of design, use)?
  6. What basic rules make the difference in terms of document accessibility?
  7. Are there any "benchmarks" that have to be reached to make a document accessible for a most diverse range of providers AND user groups (like flexibility in display and style implemented via the usage of CSS on websites) e.g.
    1. Filetype (most flexible .html vs. IPR and CI implemented with not accessible, not extractable, graphical .pdf)?
    2. Structure (quick overview with clearly and consistenly implemented headings and paras)?
    3. Typesetting (in conjunction with clear and consistent structuring) and typography?
    4. Representation / Explanation of grahical contents (between superfluous statements and urgently needed additional information)
  8. What about "specific content" - e.g. maps / schedules / mathematical / statistical / language & linguistic / scientific information / music scores / documents?
  9. What about "specific structures" - e.g. maps / tables / dictionnaries?
  10. Progress and problems in including accessibility in document editors and design tools, including guidance: Is there a need or even a possibility to design / draft a template for content providers that solves all of the above issues?
  11. Availability and progress in conversion and repair tools?
  12. How to best promote and reach out for better document accessibility as an integral part of web accessibility: benefits, tools and legislation (e.g. NIMAS, ETIN)

Added by --Simon Harper 17:47, 18 October 2012 (UTC) - ACTION-759: Forward a request to RDWG that they suggest that students looking for projects build an extention that allows people to put navigation marks in a page - 1.8.12 Forward a request to RDWG that they suggest that students looking for projects build an extention that allows people to put navigation marks in a page - 1.8.12


  1. Abu Doush, I. et al. "Non-visual Navigation of Spreadsheet Tables", Springer LNCS 6179, p.108ff
  2. Ball, S. and Sewell, J. "Accessibility Standards Are not Always Enough: The Development of the Accessibility Passport", Springer LNCS 5105, p.264ff
  3. Contini, E. et al. "A Semi-Autmatic Support to Adapt E-Documents in an Accessible and Usable Format for Vision Impaired Users", Springer LNCS 5105, p.242ff
  4. Crombie, D. "Design for Adaptive Content Processing", Springer LNCS 6179, p. 1ff
  5. Crombie, D. "Accessible Content Processing", Springer LNCS 5105, p.234ff
  6. Darvishy, A. et al. "A Flexible Software Architecture Concept for the Creation of Accessible PDF Documents", Springer LNCS 6179, p.47ff
  7. Kopecek, I. et al. "Annotating and Describing Pictures", Springer LNCS 6179, p.108ff
  8. McMullen, D.; Fitzpatrick, D. "Generating Daisy Books from", Springer LNCS 6179, p.5ff
  9. Ruemer, R. et al. "New Production and Delivery Systems for Pupils with Disabilities in Austria as a Chance for Higher Quality Output", Springer LNCS 6179, p.43ff
  10. ICCHP 2012 - actual papers and presentations, to be published in Springer LNCS 7382 and 7383, Last: May 2012.
    1. ICCHP 2012 - STS Access to Math and Science, Last: May 2012.
    2. ICCHP 2012 - STS PDF/UA - A new Era for Document Accessibility, Last: May 2012.
    3. ICCHP 2012 - Document and Media Accessibility, Last: May 2012.
    4. ICCHP 2012 - Track ULD: Universal Design of Documents Including Accessible Graphics in Tertiary Education, Last: May 2012.
    5. ICCHP 2012 - STS Putting the Disabled Student in Charge - Alternative Approaches to Alternative Formats, Last: May 2012.

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