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How to force Acrobat screen reader to skip / ignore an entire page

Explorer ,
Apr 08, 2018

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Greetings,

I'm creating an accessible PDF document (using InDesign ) that have two pages ( cover and imprint ) at the begging that have no value to readers with visual disabilities. Marking elements on them as artefacts doesn't help, because it will make screen reader to repeat the word "blank" for each line.

I'm looking for a way to make Acrobat / Other screen readers to skip these pages altogether and start from the article in 3rd page.

What's the best practice for this?

Many Thanks,
Kasra

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Bevi_Chagnon___PubCom | Adobe Community Professional

<< To be exact, the content aforementioned is a journal's cover page and  imprint; a collection of copyright and legal statements that must be there, and sighted people can quickly skim and skip them. But they are a repetitive nuisance for a person using a screen reader. Specially because they consist of several blocks of text each usually begin with a special character like copyright sign or a meaning less code (e.g. ISSN) or abbreviation. In other words, they are there to perform various legal functions, not to be read. I listened to them, tried to navigate in the page and they are really an obstacle to the content.>>

As a former employee who is blind used to remind me, nearly every day, "Bevi, I'm blind. Not stupid. I can figure it out." And another of his frequent comments, "I'll just arrow out of it" referring to the common keyboard shortcut screen readers use to skip stuff. They'll hear "copyright sign" and skip to the next paragraph or next page in a split second, unless of course they wanted to know that information.

Referring to your comments that I highlighted above in bold: They appear just once in the book/document, so the information really isn't a repetitive nuisance. What if someone was reading this book for their college thesis? They'd certainly need to know where to find the copyright information. If it's hidden (such as by being artifacted), then it's impossible for them to find it when needed.

You and I are both designers, which means we're highly vision dominant. It's difficult for any sighted person to learn how to use a screen reader; our experience is totally different from someone's who has been blind from birth or blinded later in life. My studio has a half dozen different assistive technologies and for the life of me, I can't remember the dozens of, what to me are, illogical keyboard shortcuts to skip this or do that. Yet I watch my blind screen reader testers amaze me with their adept use of them.

Bottom line: our experience isn't anything like theirs. Follow the standards and guidelines so that all users can decide what and how to access the content.

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Macintosh, Standards and accessibility, Windows

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How to force Acrobat screen reader to skip / ignore an entire page

Explorer ,
Apr 08, 2018

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Greetings,

I'm creating an accessible PDF document (using InDesign ) that have two pages ( cover and imprint ) at the begging that have no value to readers with visual disabilities. Marking elements on them as artefacts doesn't help, because it will make screen reader to repeat the word "blank" for each line.

I'm looking for a way to make Acrobat / Other screen readers to skip these pages altogether and start from the article in 3rd page.

What's the best practice for this?

Many Thanks,
Kasra

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Bevi_Chagnon___PubCom | Adobe Community Professional

<< To be exact, the content aforementioned is a journal's cover page and  imprint; a collection of copyright and legal statements that must be there, and sighted people can quickly skim and skip them. But they are a repetitive nuisance for a person using a screen reader. Specially because they consist of several blocks of text each usually begin with a special character like copyright sign or a meaning less code (e.g. ISSN) or abbreviation. In other words, they are there to perform various legal functions, not to be read. I listened to them, tried to navigate in the page and they are really an obstacle to the content.>>

As a former employee who is blind used to remind me, nearly every day, "Bevi, I'm blind. Not stupid. I can figure it out." And another of his frequent comments, "I'll just arrow out of it" referring to the common keyboard shortcut screen readers use to skip stuff. They'll hear "copyright sign" and skip to the next paragraph or next page in a split second, unless of course they wanted to know that information.

Referring to your comments that I highlighted above in bold: They appear just once in the book/document, so the information really isn't a repetitive nuisance. What if someone was reading this book for their college thesis? They'd certainly need to know where to find the copyright information. If it's hidden (such as by being artifacted), then it's impossible for them to find it when needed.

You and I are both designers, which means we're highly vision dominant. It's difficult for any sighted person to learn how to use a screen reader; our experience is totally different from someone's who has been blind from birth or blinded later in life. My studio has a half dozen different assistive technologies and for the life of me, I can't remember the dozens of, what to me are, illogical keyboard shortcuts to skip this or do that. Yet I watch my blind screen reader testers amaze me with their adept use of them.

Bottom line: our experience isn't anything like theirs. Follow the standards and guidelines so that all users can decide what and how to access the content.

TOPICS
Macintosh, Standards and accessibility, Windows

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Apr 08, 2018 0
Engaged ,
Apr 09, 2018

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These pages often have no value for sighted users either - still, they are there for a number of reasons. Accessibility mostly is about equivalent access to everybody, regardless of disability or not, to whatever is there - so from my point of view at least the right thing to do is to tag such content as ... content. With the usual landmark tags - such as headings - or other auxiliary features - such as bookmarks - a user with a visual disability should be able to skip such not so important content as quickly and easily as a sighted user (unless he / she wanted to read it).

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Apr 09, 2018 0
Explorer ,
Apr 09, 2018

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Thanks for your comment.

This sentence of yours:

" a user with a visual disability should be able to skip such not so important content as quickly and easily as a sighted user "

marks the heart of the concern: do they really can figure out the content and skip those pages as quick as sighted people?

To be exact, the content aforementioned is a journal's cover page and  imprint; a collection of copyright and legal statements that must be there, and sighted people can quickly skim and skip them. But they are a repetitive nuisance for a person using a screen reader. Specially because they consist of several blocks of text each usually begin with a special character like copyright sign or a meaning less code (e.g. ISSN) or abbreviation. In other words, they are there to perform various legal functions, not to be read. I listened to them, tried to navigate in the page and they are really an obstacle to the content. Also, people with visual disabilities can always look up in our site in the unlikely case they need to read those.

Maybe I can create a hidden bookmark named "skip to article" on top of first page that can be used to skip the imprint section, without sighted users notice. (Like what some web sites do). Not sure it should be a bookmark or a hyperlink. (Using hyperlink panel). I have to read more about accessibility and how hyperlinks behave in a PDF document. (Thinking out loud).

Thanks you very much for the advice, it's an interesting conversation....

Kasra

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Apr 09, 2018 0
Engaged ,
Apr 12, 2018

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Screen reader users can read a document several ways.  They can definitely skip over entire paragraphs or pages by using a shortcut such as Control + Down Arrow or Control + Page Down.  So if something sounds boring or they are not interested they can advance over it.

Adding a skip navigation link could help, but is not necessary. The only time it is required is for repetitive navigation links which PDFs usually do not have. 

You definitely should not artifact any text content.  Why wouldn't screen reader users need this information as much as sighted users?  If no one needs it why is it there?  If it's there it should be fully accessible to all users.

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Apr 12, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 12, 2018

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Accessibility isn't just for those who are blind and using screen readers.

People with low vision, degrading vision, reading disabilities, and dyslexia also use screen readers.

Our low-vision testers want to hear this information because they can partially see it on the page, but can't quite get all the information they need to reassure themselves they're not missing something important or of interest to them.

Artifacting is intended only for unimportant visual items that aren't needed to access or comprehend the document. Also for repeated elements, like a logo or headers/footers that are repeated on many pages and would drive anyone nuts if they heard them over and over and over.

I also recommend that you keep the cover information readable.

Most screen reader users I know automatically invoke a keyboard shortcut when they open a document and then sit back and listen to all the headings be read out, <H1>My Best-Selling Novel, <H2>Contents, <H2>Chapter 1, etc. They quickly hear and navigate to the section they want to read. If they want to skip the cover, they can. They have the choice to do so.

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs | Books @ www.PubCom.com/books — NEW! Accessible InDesign + PDF

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Apr 12, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 12, 2018

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<< To be exact, the content aforementioned is a journal's cover page and  imprint; a collection of copyright and legal statements that must be there, and sighted people can quickly skim and skip them. But they are a repetitive nuisance for a person using a screen reader. Specially because they consist of several blocks of text each usually begin with a special character like copyright sign or a meaning less code (e.g. ISSN) or abbreviation. In other words, they are there to perform various legal functions, not to be read. I listened to them, tried to navigate in the page and they are really an obstacle to the content.>>

As a former employee who is blind used to remind me, nearly every day, "Bevi, I'm blind. Not stupid. I can figure it out." And another of his frequent comments, "I'll just arrow out of it" referring to the common keyboard shortcut screen readers use to skip stuff. They'll hear "copyright sign" and skip to the next paragraph or next page in a split second, unless of course they wanted to know that information.

Referring to your comments that I highlighted above in bold: They appear just once in the book/document, so the information really isn't a repetitive nuisance. What if someone was reading this book for their college thesis? They'd certainly need to know where to find the copyright information. If it's hidden (such as by being artifacted), then it's impossible for them to find it when needed.

You and I are both designers, which means we're highly vision dominant. It's difficult for any sighted person to learn how to use a screen reader; our experience is totally different from someone's who has been blind from birth or blinded later in life. My studio has a half dozen different assistive technologies and for the life of me, I can't remember the dozens of, what to me are, illogical keyboard shortcuts to skip this or do that. Yet I watch my blind screen reader testers amaze me with their adept use of them.

Bottom line: our experience isn't anything like theirs. Follow the standards and guidelines so that all users can decide what and how to access the content.

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs | Books @ www.PubCom.com/books — NEW! Accessible InDesign + PDF

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Apr 12, 2018 0
Explorer ,
Apr 12, 2018

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Thank you very much for your advice.

-Kasra

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Explorer ,
Apr 12, 2018

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Thank you very much for your advice.

-Kasra

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Apr 12, 2018 0
Explorer ,
Apr 12, 2018

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Thank you very much for your advice. After reading your comment and the rest of the comments above, I'm now confident that the approach to this matter is to trust the user they are equipped with tools and skills to handle this.

Again, thanks to all for sharing their helpful views on this.

-Kasra

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Apr 12, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
Jul 24, 2020

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What about very complex technical tables, i.e., where all the listener hears is a series of out-of-context numbers?

 

I've found a section of the HHS.gov site that allows accommodation for issues like these (https://www.hhs.gov/web/section-508/accessibility-accomodation/index.html#exce), but OCR still happens and the reader still reads it out loud.

 

I've tagged the tables as artifacts and inserted ALT text describing the concept of the table and instructing the reader to contact the provider for specific information, and I can pass the checker, but now it's reading everything

 

If I print the page and scan it, the first thing Adobe does is OCR it whether I want it to or not.

 

I welcome any suggestions. 

 

 

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Jul 24, 2020 0
oylaura LATEST
Community Beginner ,
Jul 30, 2020

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Update:

Upon reading other comments, I have come to the conclusion that this is a non-issue. I will allow the screen reader to read through all the numbers, assuming that those who want to hear them understand the significance, and those who do not want to hear know how to skip over them. It is not up to me to decide what they want to hear. Accessibility is accessibility.

Thanks, Bevi for your input!

 

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Jul 30, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Apr 09, 2018

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Update:

Upon reading https://webaim.org/techniques/skipnav/ which is about solving a very similar issue for web pages, I've decided to use a Hyperlink / Anchor pair to solve this .

The hyperlink sits at the top of the first page and it's invisible. However it's tagged and included in article panel and points to an anchor in the first page of the article. The hyperlink text is something like : "Skip to content".

So it's totally invisible to sighted users and is the first thing that the screen reader will read (except the PDF metadata fields), and it's active so it should be easy to activate link and skip to the main article.

Comments are highly appreciated.

Kasra

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Apr 09, 2018 0