Document Accessibility

The National Drought Policy Commission (NDPC)  aims to make documents on its World Wide Web server accessible to the widest possible audience, including persons with visual disabilities.

NDPC web pages are generally accessible for persons using screen reading devices. A description of the elements of accessible web pages is found in The National Federation of the Blind's Guidelines For Web Page Accessibility and the Trace Research Center of the University of Wisconsin's Unified Web Site Accessibility Guidelines. Yahoo has a listing of companies which provide adaptive computer technology including screen reading software.

Many of the documents on the NDPC website are in HTML or ASCII (plain text) formats. These formats are generally accessible to persons using screen-reading software. We also have a large number of documents in Adobe Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format) format, and this format is not compatible with most screen-reading software.

Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) Files

Persons using screen-reading devices generally cannot directly read documents in PDF format. Adobe Systems, Inc., provides a free translation service through their Access web pages which will translate PDF files to web pages (HTML documents). This can be used in one of three ways:

  1. The user's browser can be configured to use this service as a helper application, so that every time they click on a link to a PDF document, this document is automatically sent to the Access server and returned as a web page.
  2. The user can go to the server and fill out a form. When this form is submitted, the server will retrieve the PDF document, translate it, and return it to the user.
  3. The user can send an e-mail message to the Access server, giving the address of the document to be translated. The server will then get this document and translate it to either a web page or a text (ASCII) document. Note that this is the only one of the three options that also gives the ability to produce a text document from the PDF file.

For systems that are not connected to the Internet, Adobe Access is a free downloadable accessibility plug-in for use with the latest versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader for Microsoft Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT. This plug-in helps to overcome some of the problems of reading PDF documents with screen readers, but for systems with Internet access, Adobe recommends using the forms-based Access translation service instead.

Comments on our accessibility policies are invited, and should be sent to:


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