Document Accessibility Unraveled
Chad Chelius and Dax Castro during an Accessibility Podcast with the Chax Chat Logo between them.

Guest Paul Rayius, common remediation struggles, testing with a screen reader

Dax Castro
Welcome to another episode of Chax Chat. Join Chad Chelius and me Dax Castro, where each week we wax poetic about document accessibility topics, tips, and the struggle of remediation and compliance. So sit back, grab your favorite mug of whatever, and let’s get started.

Chad Chelius
Welcome, everyone. This week sponsor is CommonLook. Since 1999, CommonLook has been the world’s leading provider of professional PDF accessibility software and services. They guarantee standards compliance using their hybrid approach, testing, assessment, remediation, training and support. So we thank them for being our sponsor. My name is Chad Chelius. I’m a trainer, author, consultant, and Adobe certified instructor, as well as an Adobe document specialist.

Dax Castro
And my name is Dax Castro. I’m an Adobe-certified PDF Accessibility Trainer, as well as an Accessible Document Specialist (ADS), as certified by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals. And today we have a special guest, Paul Rayius. Paul, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are what you do. And, yeah, go ahead.

Paul Rayius
Thanks, guys. Yeah, so I’m Paul Rayius, I’m the Vice President of training with CommonLook. And I am also an Accessible Document Specialist through IAAP as well, I had the pleasure of working with Dax on that certification. That was, that was fun.

Paul Rayius
One thing that I actually like to share about myself when I’m presenting or, you know, doing things like this is my background of how I you know, how I got here, or really what I was doing before. Right, because especially when you start getting into accessibility, talking about that topic, it can get technical. It can get overwhelming. And people who are new to it can get kind of intimidated and stuff like that. And I often have heard in the past, at least, well, “I’m not a developer”, “I’m not an IT person.” “I’m not this, I’m not that.” And so they kind of, you know, I almost feel like sometimes maybe they’re backing their way out or or making excuses or just expressing their discomfort, right.

Paul Rayius
And an important thing, and I think that the three of us all, you know, find the value in this all being trainers and teachers and so on is, you know, my gig before joining CommonLook, I was I was a middle school band teacher for 11 years. (what?) Yeah, yeah, right. So definitely don’t have a software background. I don’t have an IT background. You know, I’m not a developer. I’m none of those techie things, right? I’m a band guy, I can really only count to four, right?

Dax Castro
There ya go. I played trombone for from third grade through Junior High well through high school, actually.

Paul Rayius
I love it. But So the important thing about this is, you know, how did you know? So how did you pick this up? How do you The important thing is to watch podcasts, or listen to podcasts and webinars and, you know, various training things that, you know, that are provided out there and ask questions, right. And that’s really the big thing is to ask the questions.

Dax Castro
Well, I think a lot of people don’t under they feel alone, right? They feel like “oh my gosh, I got tagged to be tagged,” no pun intended “to be this person, this remediator to do document accessibility.” And they feel a little lost, right. And the thing that I think is comforting about hearing the story. And Paul, we definitely want you to tell your story, is that there’s some identity of “Oh, hey, there are other people out there just like me, who are struggling just like me, who are new to this just like me.” And when we can find commonality together, I think you’ll feel more supported. And if nothing else, you feel more confident to be able to ask those questions.

Dax Castro
Our PDF accessibility Facebook group is a prime example of that. I mean, we’re almost at 1400 members, and people ask a lot of them are, hey, I’m new to this blah, blah, blah. You know, they asked a question, and I, I want to tell them, Look, it’s okay. You don’t have to have to caveat that you’re new. Every question is a good question. So Paul, tell us how you got into this. How did you go from being a band teacher to being Vice President? At CommonLook?

Paul Rayius
Well, that yeah, that’s an interesting story. I mean, I mean, I was in a terrible fit in a teaching position for my last two years. And I, I had to get out, I just like, I got, I gotta get out of here. I started looking for corporate training jobs, as well as other teaching jobs in other areas. And, and I found CommonLook. Reading about what the company does, and so on, I was like, “Ooh, that’s something that I can get behind.” Right.

Paul Rayius
And so that’s really what it was. You know, I love teaching. I mean, that’s my, that’s my core. And some people ask me sometimes, yeah, well, do you miss teaching? Like No, I don’t miss it because I get to do it every day. That’s awesome. Right. So you know the topic the subject matter has changed. Right. But I still get to teach every day. And I still get to learn something new every day, which, which is an important thing. You know, going back to what you were saying Dax about [how] some people are intimidated to ask the questions, or they feel like they’re on an island, they’re isolated. And then maybe they they post questions, “You know, hey, I’m sorry, I’m new to this.” Like you said, Don’t be sorry, for one thing. Ask the questions. I mean, I don’t know about the two of you, but I learned something new every day. Right?

Chad Chelius
Absolutely. Paul. Yeah. I mean, you know, and that’s what I was gonna say. The beautiful thing about accessibility and PDF remediation. Although there are times when we’re like, boy, I feel like I can’t get ahead. I feel like I’m, you know, I’m constantly running into these roadblocks. The flip side of that, is that I’m also always learning something new. And, and, of course, accessibility offers no, no shortcomings in that in that realm. Right. I mean, there’s no, that we don’t run out of new things to learn, or new new challenges to overcome. So I think it’s really, really poignant. What you’re saying, Paul? Yeah,

Paul Rayius
For sure. I used to tell my middle school kids, and I still I subscribe to this myself.

If you’ve made it through the whole day without learning something, then you’ve just wasted your day.

– Paul Rayius, VP of Training for CommonLook

Paul Rayius
Absolutely. And like I said, Chad, there’s no shortage of things to opportunities to learn on a day to day basis, for sure.

Chad Chelius
Absolutely. So Paul, like, what is the most difficult task you find people struggling with in your teaching?

Paul Rayius
Yeah, that’s a that’s a great question. That varies, you know, from from group to group or person to person. You know, there’s obviously, complex topics in PDF remediation, right? When you’re teaching dealing with complex data tables, you know, for example, then, you know, that’s, that’s a tricky one, right? But sometimes it’s, for people who are new, it’s just finding your way around the software. Right? There’s, there’s a pretty steep learning curve.

Paul Rayius
Some of it is just learning the terminology. And, you know, what are tags? And what is the reading order? And how is it determined? And what does the screen reader do? And, you know, and all that, too, you know, alright, so how do we deal you know, going from the basic, you know, why are we even here? Why are we even doing this, to getting into the really more complex things, like, you know, everybody loves a good confusing data table to pick on and stuff like that, versus severely nested lists, right?

Dax Castro
Oh, my gosh, nested lists can be such a, you know, I teach people, if you have to go more than three levels deep, you need to think about how you’re structuring your information. Because, and I and you know, when sometimes I’ll even open a screen reader and let them listen to list level one, level two, level three lists level to this level one, and then I’ll stop it at some point and say, okay, where are we in this paragraph? Right. Right. And that’d be like, uhhhh.

Dax Castro
You know, it’s funny, you mentioned the basics, Paul, because I actually submitted for a topic for Adobe Max 2021, on the Basics of Accessibility Using Acrobat, which really is the syllabus for that is that it’s going to focus on what is the interface? What are the accessibility tools you have? What are tags? How do they relate that information. Because I completely agree with you, there’s so many people that get just dumped into this job. And they, they kind of start at chapter four, right, you know, and kind of move on from there. And they don’t get the “Hey, did you know there’s….”

Dax Castro
We just posted something about pre flight yesterday, somebody said, hey, how can I flatten form fields in my document, so that it’s not it happened to be a certificate that had the person’s name, and the date and all that, and they wanted to flatten it to just a regular PDF? How can I do that? And, uh, you know, I think was Chad, you told me that, you know, we’ll just use the pre-flight fix up, and there’s a fix up in there. And the person said, pre-flight, fix up, what’s that? Right? And I said, well, it’s in the print production under under pre flight, where’s that, and they didn’t understand, and it’s no fault of their own, that they didn’t understand it. But if you don’t know that the tools are there, you’re missing out on a bunch of features that that really make your job easier.

Paul Rayius
And you know, and somebody just emailed me the other day, and and, you know, they had this PDF, it looked like it was properly remediated to them and so on. But somebody was having a hard time with jaws was it would read the first page, and then it would stop and he had to, you know, manually go to the next page, and I am and I poked around and then found that, hey, you know, what, the, the settings, you know, were such that, you know, it wasn’t continuing on to the next page and so on. So, you know, change that and then, you know, but yeah, I mean, not only with finding your way around the software as far as to, you know, the tools available remediate. Do what you need to do with things, but also to then be able to actually use the PDF. Right?

Dax Castro
Right, the shortcut to that that feature is Ctrl + Shift + D, by the way, to pull up the, there’s a read read setting that says, “Hey, if my document has more than 50 pages in it, only read the first page,” and sometimes Acrobat will be set that way. And if you just hit Ctrl + Shift + D, it’ll bring that dialog box up, and you just change it to continuously read the entire document. And you’re good to go. And you’re right, a lot of people don’t even know that that feature is there

Paul Rayius
And you know, and so somebody was having a difficulty with JAWS with that, and then+ I tested it with NVDA. And of course, got the same thing. Interestingly, too, I was only bringing up the list of headings per page, right. So that, you know, that affects your navigation and stuff like that, too. And,

Chad Chelius
Well, I think the common theme here, right, I mean, I think all of us would agree with the fact that one of the foundations in teaching document accessibility is, is helping people to understand that the biggest contributor to success is using this source applications, the way they were intended, and using the functionality within those source applications. So it really comes down to knowing the product that you’re using, knowing the software. And I think what we’re hearing here is that that same rule applies with testing your document using assistive technology, you can’t just crack open jaws or crack open NVDA and start pressing arrow keys on your keyboard, right? That is not how you use the product, you know. And so

Dax Castro
as I said, DeQue University has a great course on the basics of using a screen reader, even even freedom, scientific Jaws, the makers of Jaws, they have a course you can get a certificate of being able to be certified as a jaws user. And so those are great resources to be able to kind of get some basic training. But you’re right, you can get so frustrated with trying to test with a screen reader, because you don’t understand how it works in a way that is similar to how a screen reader user might use that document. So when you’re pressing, like you said, Chad, pressing that down arrow, because it’s stopping mid sentence to go to the next sentence, you might not realize that pressing insert the number in the insert on the number pad and down arrow is the feature that says read from this point on, which is typically how a screen reader is going to user is going to do it. So I firmly believe you know, and then of course, there’s differences in between which screen reader you use. Now, Paul, I’m sure you’ve run into this where people will listen to what’s something in one screen reader and then listen into it another and they get a completely different user.

Paul Rayius
Absolutely. You know, so going back to you know, what, like, what do we cover in teaching, We’re often asked, as I’m sure you are, as well, you know, what, “how does the screen reader read this?” Well, which screen reader and which settings? do you have? Some times and stuff like that? Right? But yeah, I mean, it’s, that’s really an important thing to keep in mind or to know, right? Some people just don’t know, which is fair, different screen readers will behave differently. And even the same screen reader will read something possibly differently, depending on settings, you know, personal settings that you might have, and stuff like that.

Paul Rayius
And a question that often comes up actually is, you know, hey, I remediated this document, but I’m using whatever screen reader and and it doesn’t sound right. Right. And so to Chad’s point, part of that is, you know, are you using the screen reader correctly. But the other thing, too, is, is the screen reader processing that content correctly? Right. And we find sometimes that some screen readers, I mean, the standards, the PDF standards are out there, the accessibility standards are out there. In PDF view, a, for example, includes, you know, a section on how assistive technology is supposed to handle an accessible remediated PDF. But we find that out there in the real world that you know, some screen readers don’t play by the rules all the time. And and I suspect, I suspect this came from, you know, back in the day before tagged PDF was a thing. Screen readers had to be able to read something right. And

Dax Castro
Well, I will tell you Paul, that actually brings up a really good topic. So there is a screen reader… there is a company out there and I won’t mention what company that that is a very popular. So in screen reader world. There’s JAWS, NVDA, apple, voiceover and everything else. And Apple voiceover is only 15% of the population that people using screen reader. Most everybody else is JAWS and NVDA Other than those main ones, the next biggest one is a screen meter company who was really a text to speech company. And they were very early in the game of accessibility. And they went to Acrobat and said, Hey, Acrobat, we are a Adobe, you know, at that point, it was Adobe, how do we make our product work with your product. And so at that point, it was all about the reorder, it was about the order panel, tags really weren’t the the main way of of dissecting a document. So they built their entire framework around this order. And then tags came.

Dax Castro
And then you flash forward to current day. And tags really are the definitive or supposed to be the definitive order for reading. But this program, they’ve built their entire, you know, 20 years plus of, you know, using this order panel as the reorder, they can’t just scrap their entire system and start over again, well, at least they’ve not made that choice to do so. And so they’re kind of in this other world, where as remediators, we get frustrated, because we’re like, we’re told, hey, we’ve got to just use the tags panel, it’s only the tags panel, but yet somebody will open like read aloud, which doesn’t use the read order, but you know, the street reads uses the read order, but this other, you know, software company has built their entire company around that same technology, right? Yeah.

Paul Rayius
Yeah. And actually, I mean, getting back to, you know, big questions that come up in class, I literally was teaching a class, you know, PDF remediation class for like, three hours, one, you know, one day, and we’d been we’d been in it for a while now, you know, tagging up some some PDFs and learning things and so on. And, and at one point, somebody, and I could, you know, they just sounded confused and frustrated. And I mean, we’ve been working in the tag tree, like, for the last three hours, and then they they kind of throw up their arms, like, when are we going to fix the reading order? That’s what we’re doing.

Paul Rayius
You know, but but then I realized, you know, what, so as a, as a teacher, as a trainer, I was like, you know, what, I’m making an assumption that I obviously need to or can’t make, and that is that everybody knows what the reading order is. And so so now I start my class, talking about the difference between the tag tree and the reading order panel in Acrobat, and, you know, what is it and what do they do and stuff like that, so that it takes that frustration out three hours later, you know, somebody doesn’t wonder when we’re going to reading order.

And inevitably, Paul, somebody asks the $64,000 question, why do we have two different reading groups? And, and, you know, and, you know, I never have a good answer, because I get frustrated, equally as much as they used to. And it’s a fantastic question.

Chad Chelius, VP of Training for AbleDocs

Paul Rayius
I am so glad to hear you saying that, because peopleask me, like, what does that panel do? And I’m like, so to hear you say, you know what, I feel like I don’t really have a great answer. Awesome.

Chad Chelius
No, no. I mean, I asked myself a question at the time. You know, when I’m, when I’m remediating a document, and I fix all the tags, and then I go back and look at my reading order. And I’m like, Ah, geez, now I gotta fix that one, too. Yeah. You know, Dax and I keep saying our utopia is that at some point in Acrobat, there’s a button that says, match meeting order to tag order, boom, you know what I mean? Done and, and that would be life changing, I have to say.

Dax Castro
But you know, what will happen at that point, you’re gonna have half of your layers are going to disappear, because they’re going to go behind something else. And then you’re gonna have (well…) you’re, you’re the content fatale.

Chad Chelius
Yeah, that’s a that’s a great point. That’s a great point, you know, because it’s, it’s a catch 22, isn’t it? You know, it really is a catch. 22

Dax Castro
The thing people don’t get is we all look at it from an in-front-of-the-glass standpoint. And we have to just to have some sympathy for the programmers, right? I feel like we have to kind of take a step back and look at it from the back side of the glass, right? In that you have an object you have where it is on the page in flat space, you have where it is on the page in, in 3d space forward and backward. What layer is it on? What are the bounding areas? What are the four corners that dictate where that sits on the page? That’s just the positioning? Then you’ve got what is it visually? What is the fonts? What is the font, it’s encoded in, you know, all of these different things that you could I could just continue for like the next five minutes on all the different things that they’ve got to keep track of, and then we’ll try to give us the ability to manipulate some of those and maybe they affect other things and you know, it’s a hard thing.

Chad Chelius
We’ll wrap your head around this guy’s right. So like I try to explain this to people:

  1. Adjusting the tags only affects the tags.
  2. Adjusting the reading order affects the Reading Order, and can also affect the tag.
  3. Adjusting your content order can affect your stacking order, as well as your Reading Order.

Chad Chelius
Did everybody get that? Is that clear as mud? You know what I mean? It’s insane. You know. And so, you know, I understand how people can get really frustrated with this process. And by saying that I don’t mean to say that to intimidate anyone or cause confusion. These are things that we all deal with day in and day out. For the most part, you know, we can get away without having to dive in that deep. But occasionally, the documents that we’re remediating do require that level of finessing and you really have to kind of keep your keep your wits about you when you’re doing it.

Dax Castro
Well, guys, we have come to that point in our show that we always love to talk about “Who’s on Twitter?” So Who’s on Twitter today, Chad, is Ontario accessibility. And Ontario, accessibility is @ONaccessibility. So they’re @ONaccessibility. And it is the official account of the Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility period. And I thought it was interesting that they wrap seniors and accessibility together. Because not all seniors have accessibility issues. In fact, I mean, to their benefit that the picture that is on their, their banner is not a senior, it’s a person in a wheelchair, who looks like they’re they’re working on some mobility issues with some tools and exercises. But they’ve got some really great, great content on here.

Dax Castro
(technical difficulties) I’m not hearing anyone once I can. Oh, you know what? Hold on.

Chad Chelius
Are you plugged in?

Paul Rayius
IT rule number one, is it plugged in? Is it turned on?

Dax Castro
All right, so I bought a DAC I bought one of those little… so here’s an accessibility is… so funny, right? So here is an accessibility moment. I am at my hearing is not as good as it used to be. And so I bought one of these little hi fi headphone amplifiers. And it’s it gets plugged into a USB-C to charge. And because I can turn the volume up way past what my computer can handle, turning it up. So when I have my earbuds in, I can hear nice and clearly everything that I need to hear. But sometimes, it just dies that I mean, of course it runs out of charge. And all of a sudden, I get no audio whatsoever. So here we are, I just plugged it back in. The good thing is, is you can use it while it’s plugged in. But you hear this little bit of line noise from the battery charging. So how funny is that?

Dax Castro
So they’ve got some really good stuff on here.

Chad Chelius
Yeah, Dax. I see here, they have a self help booklet series, which is intended to give people with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to talk through their feelings and make plans for staying well during COVID-19. So you could download that guide. Yes, there’s a download right here. I’m going to do that right now.

Dax Castro
That’s pretty cool. So Paul, you may not know, hopefully, you know, because you’ve listened to the podcast. But we do this this feature called “Who’s on Twitter?” And so every week we come up with, we look on Twitter and find someone or some profile that deals with accessibility, and we share it with our viewers or listeners because, you know, expanding your ideas and your you know, we live in our own little microcosms. And sometimes we need to branch out a little bit. So we try to find one every week. That is a Twitter handle that has some good content.

Paul Rayius
Awesome. Yeah, that’s great.

Dax Castro
Matter of fact, you know, Chad, I just thought of something to our listeners who are listening to this podcast, if you know of a good Twitter handle that we should be following that has to deal with accessibility, leave it in the comments on our on our checks chat comm page, because we would love to hear from you. And just so you know, our chats, chats are always transcribed in their full entirety on our website, chat chat.com. And they have actual links to the things that we talk about on the program.

Dax Castro
All right, so Paul, you know, we’ve talked a lot about some of these errors and the differences between screen readers and some will read this, and some will read that. And I’ve had conversations with others about kind of where the responsibility lies, right. When it comes to remediators. We kind of feel the onus on us to set alt text or set actual text or kind of bridge that gap between what the screen reader says and what we want it to say. What’s your opinion? What’s your opinion on that?

Paul Rayius
Yeah, no, that’s a that’s a great question. A pretty hot topic, I think really, probably a great sources of debate. One thing you know, I kind of I start with the standards, right? I mean, you’ve got to remediate. I mean, my my position in frankly, our position at common look is standards compliance to make sure that Everything is is, you know, set and situated as it needs to be right. Because, you know, we have no idea what screen reader or what settings people are using on, you know, on the other side of the remediation project, right, the end users.

Paul Rayius
So we always start with making sure that everything is standards compliant, right? In remediation, I mean, that’s what we teach in training is how to tag things and do things, according to what the standards say. But then there’s also the above and beyond that, that needs to be done. Sometimes, because you know, even if you tag something up wonderfully according to the specification, you know, that the screen reader is going to, you know, go outside the box a little bit and not follow spec on how it’s processing something. So, you know, so there is kind of that need for, I think, a little bit of above and beyond work as well, right? Whether that’s, you know, fixing things in the reading order panel also, or, you know, providing, you know, alternative text or actual text as needed for various things, or whatever.

Paul Rayius
But I think an important place to start is is, is complying with the standards. And then the other pieces. So yeah, I mean, certainly the remediator carries a lot of that weight, right? The content creator, and then the remediator, if they’re not the same person, to take that responsibility, create your content with accessibility in mind, do everything that you can, you know, remediate, and so on.

Paul Rayius
But also to, you know, when, and this is the other part of the conversation that I often have with people is when we look at remediation work, and we see that one screen reader is reading something not correctly, or maybe not as intended or expected, we’d test it with another screen reader. And it reads differently than I often, you know, encourage people to, hey, you know, maybe you want to bring this to the attention of the screen reader developers and say, Hey, you know, you’re not reading according to the standards here. Maybe you want to think about that,

Dax Castro
You know, it’s funny, I was at CSUN, before COVID. And I was able to talk with the people at Freedom Scientific about table summaries, and how jaws does not read table summaries. And also, when you pull up the list of lists inside Jaws, and get the list of tables, when it shows the list of tables, if there’s a table title, or table summary, it’s supposed to read or supposed to display what that is. But instead, it actually reads just it just clumps together the first few cells of the table. So if the table is just data, or it’s got some header cells in it, all you kind of see are the first four values of of that cell, which really is not not helpful at all, if I’m trying to find a specific table in that way. And they were unaware that it was doing that. So you know, I think definitely there is a there, you know, we do what we can as remediators in the short term, but really, I think it’s if we pressure the screen reader programs to do things correctly, to come up with the times, then, you know, I think that’s a it’s a combination of both, wouldn’t you say?

Paul Rayius
Absolutely, absolutely. And, you know, participating in various standards, writing efforts for PDF and PDF ua, we, we mentioned this often, right, it would be really nice if screen reader development teams were also sitting at this table and writing the standards and reviewing the standards with us and, you know, aware of what’s going on for processing requirements, and, and so on. Yeah, that would be great.

Chad Chelius
Yeah, I mean, it would be a lot easier, right? I mean, if the, the assistive technology companies were following the same standards, in which we are striving for for PDF compliant, right, right. I mean, it’s, it’s a very similar relationship. I mean, I’m showing my age here, but I think everybody that’s here remembers the browser wars of the early 90s. Right, where, you know, we were coding web pages to, to show up a certain way in a certain browser, right. And, and that’s where web standards came along and said, Listen, guys, we need to kind of find this middle ground and, and, and find a recognized target, you know, in which we’re coding. And, you know, we’ve arguably gotten close to that not fully yet, but you know, we’re arguably close to it, but it’s a very similar situation that we deal with, with PDF remediation and assistive technology

Dax Castro
Come on Chad, we need to put this PDF view the best in writing, whatever, navigator right you know, or I don’t know. What is that? AOL online? Right? AOL online? (yeah.)

Chad Chelius
Well listen, I mean, to some degree, I do have to do that. And you’re going to be surprised to hear me say this. But you know, I still, you know, there are certain organizations who create PDFs using Livecycle or AEM Forms Designer. And those forms only work if you open them in Acrobat, or Acrobat, right? If you use any other PDF viewer, they do not work. So I often tell Yeah, I tell my clients, it’s like, Listen, when you post this, you’ve got to say, open in Acrobat or Acrobat Reader, otherwise, you know, you’re, you’re in a hole?

Dax Castro
Well, you know, it’s funny, because when people say… the first thing they say, when when they when I hear the… or the first thing I say when I hear the comment, “It’s not reading the way it’s supposed to”, or “My friend is reading the document, and then they’re getting a different experience.” My first question is, are they downloading the document and reading it in Acrobat? Or are they listening to it in the browser? Because they people don’t get that they’re two different things. Right?

Paul Rayius
Absolutely. That’s a huge point to make, too. Is that a well remediated PDF? Read with Acrobat or reader or some other PDF processor versus reading it through your browser, you’re going to get a completely different experience?

Chad Chelius
Well, no, it’s a challenge, because that has become the default in all of the major browsers is to display the PDF within the web browser. Right? And, and I think it was done for convenience, right? You know, people are like, Oh, it downloaded it. And they’re like, well, where did it go? And you have to be like, okay, go to your downloads folder, open it, so that they tried to make it easier for people. But of course, you know, accessibility wasn’t one of the factors involved in making that decision.

Dax Castro
But you know, what’s interesting is there actually is a button, when you open a PDF online to the right hand side, at least on my computer, when I’m in a browser, I’m in Chrome, there is a red button that says open an acrobat, and you click that button, and it opens it inside Acrobat. So but but if I’m using assistive technology, and I’m, you know, I may not know that that button is there.

Chad Chelius
Yeah, but the other variable there, Dax is that how many people don’t have Acrobat?

Dax Castro
Yeah, I think it comes on everything. Isn’t reader come on everything?

Chad Chelius
No, huh? No. My wife is a seventh grade science teacher and her school refuses to install reader. Wow, on all of the computers. Yeah. Yeah. So you know, we take it for granted. I agree with you. I agree with what you’re saying, you know, you’re like, its reader. It’s free. Right? It’s everywhere. It’s actually not it’s surprisingly not.

Paul Rayius
It’s not. Yeah, it’s not everywhere. And and another, you know, interesting point, why wouldn’t people who use assistive technology just know this? Right? Not necessarily, right. I mean, I follow a couple of screen reader groups on Facebook, and reading the questions in the comments and stuff like that. And I mean, just not too long ago, somebody posted the question, how do you read a PDF? Right. And and, you know, it was download it. And, and, you know, open it with Acrobat or something. Right. But I mean, that was, but yeah, I mean, literally, like, hey, how do I read a PDF?

Paul Rayius
And the response was “Acrobat?” You know, yeah, it’s good. Because I’ve already been teaching a class and somebody is like, I don’t have the tags pane. And I’m like, Well, no, you go over here. And you open it up. And they’re like, yeah, it’s not there. And I’m like, are you using reader? And she’s like, Oh, yeah. And I’m like, you know, so yeah, it’s it’s not as ambiguous as we think it is.

Dax Castro
So Paul, we’ve come to a moment of the show, we want to thank you as a sponsor, CommonLook has been a sponsor for an entire month for Chax Chat. We really appreciate you. And we want to be able to give you an opportunity to shout out CommonLook, so why don’t you tell us a little about what CommonLook has to offer?

Paul Rayius
Sure. Thanks. Thanks. So common look basically has a tool or a solution for for every question that comes up with document accessibility. Right. From as, as Chad mentioned earlier, you know, it’s important to author with accessibility in mind and use the tools, in source applications and so on. Certainly, you know, when we provide training on all of these things, as well, but we have tools to help document creators create accessible content, right from the start, whether you know if you’re in Word or PowerPoint or if you’re using an automated process or contents coming from a database, for example, solutions for that as well.

Dax Castro
No, I didn’t know you had a database product.

Paul Rayius
Yeah. So, yeah, I mean, so we’ve got solutions for content creation, for document creation from a number of different angles. And then, of course, for PDF remediation, when you when you do have those PDFs that need to just be fixed, and you can’t, or don’t want to go back to the source for whatever reason, remediation solutions from our software and our training, to our remediation services, where clients can just send us documents and say, Hey, you know, will you take care of this for us testing both and an individual document level, with a couple of our tools, the free CommonLook PDF validator, which anybody can download, to test your documents. And you know, for example, unlike Acrobat, which doesn’t really do a great job of testing against standards, we test against WCAG 2.0 2.1, PDF/ua and so on HHS standards for Health and Human Services

Dax Castro
For those crazy people who want to remediate to the ends of the earth and make sure that every i is dotted and every T is crossed. And every letter is turned to the appropriate space in between every other letter. I you know, for those of you out there who have to remediate to HHS standards, I’m sorry, I love you. And to anyone who’s listening from Health and Human Services, I appreciate the level of detail in which you want to go to make sure something’s accessible. But come on. I mean, that’s all I can say is Come on.

Dax Castro
Now, Paul, I will tell you, so I have been a common look, user. And I will tell you, one of the things I love the most about common look, is the ability to advance search tags, I spent, I had a document where it was export it from Word and it had a bunch of Word Art in it. Now, if you’ve used this edit, have you used export from word anytime lately with the Word Art, you know that it improperly creates a figure and a chart tag and ness all this stuff incorrectly. And I wanted to be able to fix all that. So what I was able to do is use the advanced tags search and say find all chart tags that were nested inside a section tag and perform that, you know, it basically searched for this this nested field, and I was able to level up all children of that tag, basically move them up in the tag structure so that all the nested paragraphs were now just inside the section tag. And then I went in and did some more searches. But I will tell you, to me, it is one of the most powerful features of common look to be able to conditionally search for tags in saved me hours of work.

Paul Rayius
Yeah, you know, and that’s one of the things about convenant. pdf, is that, you know, kind of, you know, I kind of sometimes will describe it as Acrobat on a massive amount of steroids. Right. And I mean, just it not only has the accuracy piece for remediating and testing, right, making sure that your standards compliant at the end of the job, but the the functionality to be able to do things like search tags, and find and replace, and I mean, just, there’s so many power tools packed in there that that you know, that advanced users will will really benefit from, and it just speeds up the work and, and the keyboard shortcuts, the keyboard functionality.

Paul Rayius
I mean, I’ve taught so this is an interesting kind of sad story. But you know, I taught a group of, of people. Our, our classes are basic, and our advanced PDF remediation classes. And some of the some of the people in this class were screen reader users, right. And everything that they needed to do to be able to remediate the documents that we were, you know, going through in class, they were able to fully remediate all of these documents, using common look, right, and their screen reader and and you know, being able to select things and tag things and fix reading or and all that the only thing that they weren’t able to do in the class was was some of the stuff that we had to do in Acrobat before getting into common look, because Acrobat wasn’t making things accessible that they needed to be able to do.

Dax Castro
I really find it a useful tool. And I will tell anybody out there that if you are doing a lot of remediation, and having to fix a lot of structure in your document, moving things, combining things, merging things, linearizing tables, all sorts of great things. CommonLook really is a great program. And, you know, I really appreciate you Paul being on the show. And, you know, thank you so much. We’d love to have you on again. And have you talked about something else? You know, topics are always great when we have different minds. And it’s it’s you know, what makes our Chax Chat podcast great is that Chad and I often come at things from different approaches. And we’d love to, you know, have you be in that mix as well. So thank you for being a guest.

Paul Rayius
Yeah, thank you very much. This was a lot of fun. It’s always great to talk to you guys. So, thanks for the opportunity.

Chad Chelius
Thanks, Paul for being our sponsor and for joining us today since 1999, CommonLook has been the world’s leading provider of professional PDF accessibility software and services. Remember, they guarantee standards compliance using their hybrid approach- testing, assessment, remediation, training and support. My name is Chad Chelius,

Dax Castro
And my name is Dax Castro and we are checks chat bringing you accessibility every single week where we unravel accessibility for you.

Chad Chelius
Thanks, guys.

CommonLook. Test, Fix, and validate PDFs for compliance. CommonLook dot com.

No Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *