I spent the last two days in the sleepy, underpopulated Adobe Canada branch office. We were using their conference room, located at the very summit of the Carpet Factory, to conduct a face-to-face meeting of the PDF/Universal Access Committee, better known as PDF/UA (wiki).

Six people around a wooden conference table, on which sit several copies of ‘PDF Reference 1.6’

Greg Pisocky, Adobe; Ferass Elrayes (or El-Rayes, depending), NetCentric; Neil Soiffer, Design Science; Karen McCall (obscured); Loretta Guarino Reid, Adobe; Duff Johnson (chair), Document Solutions

Duff had proposed that PDF/UA hold its meeting here in part so that I could actually attend. It was also convienient for another member, a 905er. I induced the group to stay at the Gladstone Hotel, with its artist-designed rooms – a smash success, according to their reports. We enjoyed torrential rain on the first day. We further enjoyed typical West Queen West hospitality, like being refused entry at the Beaconsfield, being forced to wait 40 minutes for a table at the Drake (admittedly, they had just had a fire), and an accusation by our waitress that we hadn’t leave a tip.

We are indeed trying to write a specification for accessible PDF, a phrase that has not been an oxymoron for three full years irrespective of what Bruce Maguire might tell you. A few things about accessible PDF are already known, but we are labouring to write down exactly what is required.

If this seems reminiscent of another accessibility working group, it is, although I would draw your attention to a few differences:

  • Our chair, Duff Johnson, is urbane and erudite. (When you talk to him, prompt him with the keyword “Trinidad.”) He enjoys the full confidence of the group.
  • We have over 90 people on the mailing list and eight or nine on the fortnightly telephone calls, conducted via a toll-free number. (Still inaccessible to a deaf person, obviously.)
  • Everyone on the calls and at the meeting is competent. Some are surpassingly competent.
  • We are moving slowly, as these things always do, but we are speeding up and we know what we’re doing. We got more accomplished during the f2f than we had expected. We exceeded the agenda.
  • We argue only occasionally and we generally enjoy ourselves.

Ours is a happy ship. Is yours?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2006.10.19 16:33. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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