In it together: NVDA gets help from Adobe on PDF compatibility

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Monday, 4 June 2012 16:57pm

Adobe has announced it is working with NV Access to improve the accessibility of its Portable Document Files (PDFs) with the free, open source screen reader NVDA.

According to a statement on the Adobe website, Adobe will help NV Access, the team behind NVDA, to improve the way the screen reader interacts with Adobe’s PDFs. In addition to PDFs, Adobe will help NV Access improve how its screen reader works with eBooks viewed in the Adobe Digital Editions software. Adobe Digital Editions can be used to view eBooks, either on a desktop computer or on a Sony Readerdevice, an alternative to Amazon’s Kindle.

A report released by the Australian Government in November 2010, The Australian Government’s study into the Accessibility of the Portable Document Format for people with a disability, said that 66% of the most commonly used assistive technologies, including NVDA, were only partially compatible with PDFs.

Last week, WebAIM, an organisation which provides resources for creating accessible websites, released the results of its 2012 screen reader survey. The survey results note an increase in NVDA usage. In 2012, 13.7% of the people surveyed used NVDA as their primary screen reader, an increase from 8.6% from 2010. As the demand for NVDA begins to match its premium competitors, compatibility with PDFs is becoming urgent. 

NVDA works with Windows 7, Vista and XP and is free to download from the NV Access website. For insight into what it takes to develop your own screen reader, read our interview with NV Access co-founder, Jamie Teh.

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