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Acrobat Reader for Mac does not expose an Accessibility Tree to VoiceOver

New Here ,
Sep 03, 2020

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Acrobat for Windows reads tagged PDF (aka PDF/UA) files and exposes an accessibility tree to assistive tech such as NVDA, Narrator, JAWS etc.

 

Acrobat for Mac does not do this. (And neither does Preview, or Safari). This means that the 'portable' document format is not accessible to Mac screen reader users at all. You can get the text nodes, but none of the semantic tags are respected.

 

Why is there such a discrepancy between accessibility support on the Mac vs. Windows versions of Acrobat Reader?

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Scan documents and OCR, Standards and accessibility

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Acrobat Reader for Mac does not expose an Accessibility Tree to VoiceOver

New Here ,
Sep 03, 2020

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Acrobat for Windows reads tagged PDF (aka PDF/UA) files and exposes an accessibility tree to assistive tech such as NVDA, Narrator, JAWS etc.

 

Acrobat for Mac does not do this. (And neither does Preview, or Safari). This means that the 'portable' document format is not accessible to Mac screen reader users at all. You can get the text nodes, but none of the semantic tags are respected.

 

Why is there such a discrepancy between accessibility support on the Mac vs. Windows versions of Acrobat Reader?

TOPICS
Scan documents and OCR, Standards and accessibility

Views

45

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Sep 03, 2020 1
Explorer ,
Sep 04, 2020

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See the thread marked "Reading difficulties with Apple Voice Over".

Basically, Adobe blames Apple, and Apple give no clues what they're up to in this area. 

I'm inclined to side with Adobe to a fair extent, but also I know that Mac OS has an accessibiity API that Acrobat for Mac is not using. So Adobe must take responsibility for this part of the problem: Acrobat for Mac does not communicate PDF/UA accessibility features (tags, read-order, metadata) in a way that VoiceOver can use, and that's not Apple's fault.

Of course I believe Apple should give Preview support for Voiceover with PDF/UA too, but that's all on Apple.

If you want to keep up the pressure, make sure you report the relevant bugs to Apple through their feedback assistant!

And let's also keep reminding Adobe that the need for robust and consistent accessibility support is not going to go away. On the contrary, more legislation is due to be passed in still more jurisdictions making this even more pressing all around the world.

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