Expired: PDF Accessibility Consultation Review

AGIMO - WPG Review Team
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The content below was posted to the Web Publishing Guide between 16 September 2009 and 26 October 2009.  This consultation is now closed.  It is provided here as a reference only.

Web Publishing Guide PDF Accessibility Review The consultation opened on 16 September and will now run until close of business on 26 October 2009.

About the consultation

The Australian Government is seeking input to inform its policy about the use of the Portable Document Format (PDF) for the provision of government information online. The Australian Human Rights Commission, responsible for administering the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) currently states on their DDA Advisory Notes:

The Commission's view is that organisations who distribute content only in PDF format, and who do not also make this content available in another format such as RTF, HTML, or plain text, are liable for complaints under the DDA.

We are seeking feedback about the accessibility and ease of use of PDF files on the internet, especially via assistive technologies. We are seeking to understand common access issues or problems encountered when using PDF files on the internet. The Australian Government is also interested in receiving feedback about creating tagged PDF files, including resource intensiveness and complexity. We also want to understand any related accessibility issues of tagged PDF files.

Who is managing the consultation?

Three key policy development agencies are managing this consultation. The lead agency is the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) within the Department of Finance and Deregulation. The following two agencies are also assisting with the project:

  • the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA); and
  • the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).
Consultation questions

Please limit your feedback to accessibility issues around the PDF file format. Where appropriate, you may like to discuss access to PDF documents in relation to other file formats such as HTML (web pages), Rich Text Format (RTF), or plain text. Where possible, please include details about your personal circumstances/experiences. This information will help us understand common access issues among user groups. Such information might include:

  • whether you have a disability
  • what, if any, assistive technologies you use
  • your web experience (e.g. novice, intermediate, advanced)
  • whether you have used or created tagged PDF documents

The following sample questions may help you to formulate your submission to the PDF Accessibility Consultation. You do not need to answer all or any of these questions in your response, however these suggestions are provided to help you understand what type of feedback we are seeking.

  • What are the common access issues for you when using the internet?
  • Is government information difficult to find and or access?
  • Is non-government information difficult to find and or access?
  • What kind of government information are you trying to access online?
  • What kind of government information do you want or need to access online?
  • What, if any, accessibility issues have you experienced using the PDF file format?
  • Are there any common problems you experience when accessing PDF documents?
  • What access issues, if any, do you experience trying to use other types of file formats (such as HTML or RTF files)?
  • Do you avoid any file types due to the access issues you experience when using them?
  • Do you find alternative file formats to PDF commonly?
  • Do you expect to find alternative file formats to PDF?
  • Have you accessed/attempted to access tagged PDFs?
  • If so, did you find the content to be accessible to you? And to what degree?
  • Do you have any other comments about PDF documents?
How will responses be used?

Your feedback will help the Australian Government review its policy on the use of the PDF file format in relation to the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Your feedback will be reviewed and used to inform accessibility policies. If you would like to be contacted about your submission, please include your contact details. Your response and any personal details you provide will be treated confidentially and will not be used for any other purpose.

Can I respond anonymously?

Yes. In fact, unless you give us permission to include your name, we will treat your response as anonymous.

Who will see my response?

Your responses will be shared amongst members of the PDF Accessibility Testing Consultation project from the Department of Finance and Deregulation, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), including any contractors or consultants that may be contracted to this project. Your response may be included in a final report to Australian Government agencies. Please let us know if you do not wish your comments to be included in the final report.

How do I make a submission?

Submissions will be accepted via email to: Webpublishing@finance.gov.au Or via mail to:

PDF Accessibility Testing Consultation Service Development and Strategy Team, Online Services Branch, AGIMO Department of Finance and Deregulation John Gorton Building King Edward Terrace PARKES ACT 2600 AUSTRALIA

You can also call us on: (02) 6215 2048 to discuss the project or provide feedback.

Comments (2)

I am interested in learning about the consultation review you conducted. I am with the Government of Ontario (Canada) working on I&IT accessibility initiatives. Do you have any findings that you can share?
Best regards,
Laurie Lucas
Manager, I&IT Accessibility
Children, Youth & Social Services I&IT Cluster
416 212-7594 (office)
416 540-8984 (mobile)

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Last updated: 27 July 2016