Order panel - do you adjust this? Conflicting direction from various sources

Community Beginner ,
Feb 15, 2021 Feb 15, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I'm getting conflicting instruction on whether it's necessary or helpful to correct the order within the Order panel, or if I only need to be concerned with the order within Tags. I realize that Order and Tags are used for different things and everything I've read says that I should make sure the order is correct in both of those areas. However a very well known company who does remediation told me not to be concerned with the Order pane. Thoughts? I'm trying to create a guide for our designers and could use some clarity on this. Thank you!

TOPICS
Create PDFs, Edit and convert PDFs, Standards and accessibility

Views

60

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 15, 2021 Feb 15, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Great question.

And you've opened a Pandora's box of conflicting information, standards, and opinions!

 

  1. If you're in the US, Sec. 508 requires compliance with WCAG. See E.205.4 at https://www.access-board.gov/ict/#508-chapter-1-application-and-administration
  2. But WCAG misses many accessibility features of PDFs, and PDF/UA provides a better user experience for those using AT (assistive technologies).
  3. Sec. 508 incorporates PDF/UA-1 by reference: 
    See 504.2.2 PDF Export -- Authoring tools capable of exporting PDF files that conform to ISO 32000-1:2008 (PDF 1.7) shall also be capable of exporting PDF files that conform to ANSI/AIIM/ISO 14289-1:2016 (PDF/UA-1) (incorporated by reference, see 702.3.1).

    The only thing that has changed since that was written by the Access Board is that the PDF/UA standard is now managed by the PDF Association & the ISO, not AIM.
  4. So we have conflicting standards and murky requirements from Sec. 508. My firm recommends PDF/UA-1 with some items from WCAG 2.1, such as A/V and use of <H1>. As it stands now, I probably won't recommend PDF/UA-2 when it's released some time in the future.
  5. PDF/UA (and WCAG) don't talk about the order in the Order Panel. PDF/UA-1 specifically states that all accessibility must be from the Tag Tree.
  6. However, in early versions of Acrobat, the "Order" panel was called the Architectural/Construction order because it literally reflects how the document was constructed: what was placed on the page first, second, etc.). It was the original order used by AT before tags were developed for PDFs in the early 2000s and there are some AT that still use it, mainly some low-end software and devices, and antique Braille devices.
  7. But those low-end devices are very common in the real world, and many browsers, plug-ins, and PDF reading software do not conform to PDF/UA-1 and often use the Architectural/Construction Order, not the tag tree. Talk with those at colleges and schools in the student services office and they'll tell you that 50% of the technology their students use is not PDF/UA-1 compliant (and not WCAG, either). That is, those technologies don't give a rat's patootie about the Tag tree.

 

My firm's recommendations to our clients and students is to be sane and provide the best possible, most usable file to all people using all technologies because that's the intention of the law. And it's in the best interests of society.

 

We recommend:

  1. Maintain PDF/UA-1 and use WCAG to fill in the gaps.
  2. Make the Tag Tree bullet-proof: nail every single aspect of it and make its reading order (RO) spot on.
  3. Make the Architectural/Construction Order RO match the Tag RO, as much as possible. There really are only a few design situations where this has to be slightly different from the Tag RO and that usually involves the layer/stacking order of individual elements. PDFs from Word usually have a decent Order order. PDFs from InDesign and PowerPoint are deadly, unless someone has had significant training in using these programs to control it.
  4. Control all tags and ROs (both of them) from within the source program, before the PDF is exported. Take classes in how to accomplish this.
  5. And add a couple more usability features to your PDF, as well. Set the PDF to open with the Bookmarks panel showing, including Bookmarks and TOCs for even short documents, if it will help our users. Write better Alt-text, and create a better strategy for presenting the entire "package" of information to the user. Alt-text is not a good enough solution for complex graphics.

 

Hope this helps. This is a relatively young industry and it will take a few more years to get things set.

 

-- Bevi Chagnon

Former contributor to WCAG.

Current US delegate to the ISO for PDF and PDF/UA.

 

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs |
Books & Classes | PubCom

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Beginner ,
Feb 15, 2021 Feb 15, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Thank you for making this clearer, although I still need the head exploding emoji here. At this point it's clear that whatever process we come up with now will likely have to change as technology and software changes come along. This is a very confusing undertaking, and sources contradict each other, so I appreciate the guidance of the smart folks here.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 15, 2021 Feb 15, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

LATEST

Technology will always change.

Standards will change with the technologies.

And laws will be updated to meet the new standards and technologies.

 

But they won't be major "changes," more like "adjustments."

As with every part of our lives, we always have to adjust as we go along.

 

Take a good class now and the foundation will stay with you throughout your career. There are many options out there, but of course I recommend my own <grin>.

 

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs |
Books & Classes | PubCom

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines