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Accessibility: Comments not being read by JAWS & NVDA (PowerPoint Speaker Notes)

Community Beginner ,
Aug 12, 2019

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Adobe Acrobat Pro 2017: I made an accessible PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes. I Saved As PDF and when prompted, I said yes to converting speaker notes to annotations.

My blind 508C Consultant read the PDF with Jaws & NVDA & Adobe's built in screen reader. He was able to successfully navigate the entire document, EXCEPT Comments/Annotations. When the screen reader hit the Annotation Bubble it announced "Text" and nothing else.

I asked him to search for a phrase that existed only in a comment and no where else in the document. He couldn't find it.

As a government entity we post a LOT of reports for public viewing. Many of these reports were created in PowerPoint and contain a lot of charts and graphs that require additional explanations. We use speaker notes for that purpose. We need converted Comments/Annotations to be screen readable.

We also publish many maps in PDF format. We would like to put a comment in the upper left corner that provides a phone number where someone with visual disabilities can call for assistance. Now we are finding out this comment is not visible to screen readers. 

Please Advise

 

Rachael Leyba
Olmsted County, MN Technical Writer

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Standards and accessibility, Windows

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Accessibility: Comments not being read by JAWS & NVDA (PowerPoint Speaker Notes)

Community Beginner ,
Aug 12, 2019

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Adobe Acrobat Pro 2017: I made an accessible PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes. I Saved As PDF and when prompted, I said yes to converting speaker notes to annotations.

My blind 508C Consultant read the PDF with Jaws & NVDA & Adobe's built in screen reader. He was able to successfully navigate the entire document, EXCEPT Comments/Annotations. When the screen reader hit the Annotation Bubble it announced "Text" and nothing else.

I asked him to search for a phrase that existed only in a comment and no where else in the document. He couldn't find it.

As a government entity we post a LOT of reports for public viewing. Many of these reports were created in PowerPoint and contain a lot of charts and graphs that require additional explanations. We use speaker notes for that purpose. We need converted Comments/Annotations to be screen readable.

We also publish many maps in PDF format. We would like to put a comment in the upper left corner that provides a phone number where someone with visual disabilities can call for assistance. Now we are finding out this comment is not visible to screen readers. 

Please Advise

 

Rachael Leyba
Olmsted County, MN Technical Writer

Topics

Standards and accessibility, Windows

Views

408

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 13, 2019

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Hi Rachael,

I ran a test with NVDA Version 2019.1.1 and it identifies the annotation without any problems. But depending on how I navigated slides, the user experience was different. You can use TAB to move from slide to slide or you can use the typical JAWS shortcut [ins+page down arrow]. Each method provided a different user experience.

METHOD 1:

When I use the JAWS keyboard shortcut [ins+page down arrow] to navigate from slide to slide it voices the following in this order:

<H1>

Sticky Note Comment

<H2>

<Slide Text>

Using [ins+page down arrow] NVDA test of PDF with Annotations - YouTube

The screen reader walked through all my content above and then I am able to access the sticky note using [tab] and then [enter] to pop it open and read the text [ins+down arrow] and then pressing [esc] to close it and move on.

METHOD 2:

When the user uses [TAB] to move from slide to slide NVDA reads the sticky note and the meta data associated with it first and then the slide content all the way through. I recorded a little video that shows exactly what is being read.

NVDA using TAB - YouTube

I can't test the JAWS experience at home, but I can run it at work. I am betting it will be a similar experience.

NOTE: I did notice that the sticky note does not have a tag in the tags tree. Adding a tag lets you set alt-text, but unfortunately, adding a tag disabled the ability for the user to press tab to access the sticky note.

[FYI - Adding the tag]

You can open your tags tree and then from the tags dropdown you can select [Find>unmarked annotations] and Acrobat finds the notes and adds a Text-OBJR so it appears in the tags tree.

Hope that sheds some light.

It might be useful to ask your tester to write down the keys they are pressing to navigate the document so you can trace down what might be happening. Remember, everyone uses different methods of navigation. That is why the "Robust" principal of P.O.U.R. is so important.

Great job being so diligent!

-Dax

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 13, 2019

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OMG – thank you so much! This is so helpful.

Rachael Leyba

ITS Technical Writer

Olmsted County, MN

507-328-7758

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 13, 2019

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Just tested this in JAWS and works the same way.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 13, 2019

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Speaker notes, when converted to PDF, become PDF Comments, and will therefore get flagged in the Accessibility Checker.  As a PDF Comment, it exists on a layer above the page with the tagging tree... and a screen reader may get thrown by this. Not good news, but perhaps food for thought toward a different approach to present the information.

I hope this is useful information.  My best,

Dave

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 13, 2019

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You are correct Dave. However, you can simply tag the unmarked annotation as a paragraph and it clears the error and still allows the content to be accessible.

Simply go to the first page and open the tags tree dropdown menu and choose FIND > Unmarked Annotation. Then select entire document and tag them all as paragraphs. Just did a test and it worked well and cleared the error.

-Dax

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 16, 2019

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It would be interesting to know how a Government 508 Clearance Officer would view this solution.  I have found that they vary from individual to individual to what they will say yea or nay.  I like the solution, as the goal is to have the information presented by the screen reader.  But it always has to be approved by a clearance officer with many of the the agencies with which I have worked.

My best,

Dave

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 16, 2019

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Had no idea such a title existed. I work for said government and I am in charge of clearance. I think you are right. The answer would vary from person to person. If a completely automated solution is what is required that would read from beginning to end, then I think you would know that in the beginning and probably figure out a way to structure the slides so it gave the expected user experience. I get the logic. I think maybe you could hide the speakers notes behind a white box on the slide somewhere if you wanted to get creative with the solution. But, who wants to have to do that for each slide of a 60-slide presentation. Not me.

-Dax

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Dave__M LATEST
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 16, 2019

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Dax,

Here's a job description from an East Coast government agency:

Section 508 Clearance Officers

  

As a user’s first point of contact for accessibility issues, Clearance Officers provide assistance related to the implementation of Section 508 law at CMS.  The attached document lists CMS Clearance Officers by component. CMS employees should contact their clearance officer directly. Contractors should reach out to their CMS GTL/COR for 508 assistance.

Clearance Officers provide compliance in the following areas:

  • Ensure all electronic communication and documentation is created in a 508 friendly format (e.g., emails, documents/presentations created in Microsoft Office, etc.).
  • All software and hardware purchased must be 508 compliant.
  • All applications developed for CMS must be validated for 508 compliance.
  • All websites developed for CMS purposes must be validated for 508 compliance.

I just assumed they all had this title!

My best,

Dave

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