An accessibility expert pointed out the other day that VoiceOver, Apple’s screen reader for MacOS, doesn’t understand tagged PDF, and therefore doesn’t support accessibility in this extremely common electronic document format.
He’s right. Since there aren’t any screen reader options for the Mac that understand PDF tags, it’s fair to say that AT users on a Mac don’t have the same access to content as do Windows users.
Clearly, this is a problem. The interesting question: is it a PDF problem, or an Apple problem?
|Revenue||$156.5 billion (2012)||Donations|
|Screen reader software||VoiceOver||NVDA|
|Operating System||MacOS only||Windows only|
|Software cost||Comes with MacOS||Free|
|Supports accessible PDF||No||Yes|
If PDF files aren’t “accessibility supported” on MacOS it’s simply because Apple chooses this state of affairs.
Given that 80% of non HTML electronic documents are in PDF format, Apple’s choice is difficult to understand.
I love Apple hardware, but I’m deeply unimpressed that the sometime most valuable company in the world is so blinded by the “not invented here” syndrome that it prefers not to make the modest investment required to make PDF files accessible with its otherwise excellent screen reading software.