[scribus] New for 1.6.0 - Tagged PDF to improve accessibility of PDFs?

Matthias Schmitt freak002 at mmp.lu
Sat Sep 14 09:38:11 UTC 2013

Hello Christoph,

1st: sorry for the double post. The first mail was send with the wrong mail address. This one was approved by a list administrator later, which led to a double post.

On 14.09.2013, at 08:03, Christoph Schäfer <christoph-schaefer at gmx.de> wrote:

> Tagged PDF is definitely on the radar, but unless someone with the appropriate skills to implement it steps up it won't become part of 1.5/1.6. It's simply too much work, and we need to implement a lot of other text features first.

I can understand that. Scribus is a gigantic project with really respectable results. I am using it myself since many years for a non-profit associations. I love it.

> As to your assertion that "the program cannot be used to generate documents for public organisations", I have to object.

We are working with a lot of public organisations here in Luxembourg and beyond. I can assure you, that in a not too far future tagged PDFs will be a requirement in all public tenders, which are asking not only for print but also for the delivery of the created documents to be published via the Internet. The UN convention forces them to ask this and they are aware of it. This is not for today, this is not for tomorrow, but this will be a requirement in one or two years. This is the reason why I would like to see this on the Roadmap now, so we might have this available in two years.

> Tagged PDF makes sense for continuous text, but for documents of that type you would rather use a word processor or a typesetting software. As soon as visually complex documents enter the picture, it's almost impossible to get it right.

Adobe InDesign has a good approach to this. As an inspiration you might like to have a look at these videos:

Preparing Accessible PDFs with Adobe InDesign CS5.5: Part I

Preparing Accessible PDFs with Adobe InDesign CS5.5: Part II

> So, until a UN Convention requires print products, from posters to magazines, and presentations to be published in Braille, I don't think there's a reason to lose any sleep about the lack of Tagged PDF support right now.

Every digital accessible document can be easily displayed on a braille device attached to a computer. If the visual disabled person cannot read braille, there are other option like a screen reader on a PC, phone, or tablet. But all this requires an accessible document. Braille printing on paper was yesterday. The world has turned digital and disabled people are embracing it.

> Out of curiosity: Does a UN (or European) convention require software products to simulate colour blindness?

The UN Convention at its current status defines rules for governments and their institutions. The Convention does not define requirements for the software they are using. They just define, that all resulting documents created for mass publication need to be accessible. Accessibility includes a sufficient colour contrast.

The UN Convention does not force private companies or organisations to follow all of these guidelines. If the governments do not respects these policies, how can this be requested from someone else. The UN Convention just asks the governments to sensitise private companies and organisations. May be in 10 years when accessibility is taken for granted in all public organisations, then the policy will be extended to everybody else. But this is still along way to go.

> There are many more people out there who are suffering from colour blindness than those whose visual disability requires Tagged PDF.

So it is o.k. for you to drop visual disabled people, right? Accessibility means "Design for all" and not "Design for most". I know you mean it well. You just try to get most out of your very limited resources.

If you ever observed what a difference it makes for a visual disabled person to read a PDF with and without tagging, you would see things different.

Best regards


magic moving pixel s.a.
23, Avenue Grande-Duchesse Charlotte
L-3441 Dudelange
Phone: +352 54 75 75 - 0

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