August 7, 2013 13

The Matterhorn mountain.Published in 2012, PDF/UA is the ISO Standard for accessible PDF files, software and assistive technology. PDF/UA defines, in specific technical terms, the precise features of PDF required to enable accessibility to the widest possible range of users.

But what is PDF/UA, really? It’s not software; it’s simply a document that describes the correct use of another document (ISO 32000) to achieve a certain outcome (accessible PDF).

PDF/UA insists on doing certain things correctly before the gold star of PDF/UA conformance is deserved. What it doesn’t do is provide a specific set of tests to help in sharing PDF/UA conformance information.

As PDF/UA moved towards publication in 2012, the PDF Association’s PDF/UA Competence Center, being technically-minded, decided to help software developers understand PDF/UA’s requirements in straightforward “Failure Condition” terms.

15 months later, the PDF Association released the Matterhorn Protocol 1.0.

The Matterhorn Protocol is a comprehensive checking model for PDF accessibility based on PDF/UA. It provides a concrete means for organizations and software to share precise information on the quality of tagged PDF.

The next phase in Matterhorn Protocol development is a formalization of the Matterhorn Protocol via an XML schema. The plan is to provide software developers with a parseable data-model for recording the state of accessibility features for a given PDF.

For now, however, the Matterhorn Protocol is available for free as a beautifully-tagged PDF file, itself conforming with PDF/UA (in all relevant particulars). Visit the PDF Association’s website and get the Matterhorn Protocol today!