Computers Helping People with Special Needs

Volume 7382 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 602-609

Developing Text Customisation Functionality Requirements of PDF Reader and Other User Agents

  • Shawn Lawton Henry

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This paper addresses the text customisation needs of people with low vision, dyslexia, and related conditions that impact reading, including people with declining eyesight due to ageing. It reports on a literature review and an initial study that explores the aspects of text that users customize (e.g., size, colour, leading, linearization/reflow, and more) for reading RTF and PDF documents, in operating system settings, and in web browser settings. It presents the gap between users’ needs and PDF user agent (primarily Adobe Reader) functionality. The existing literature and this exploratory study indicate that with the technology currently available, PDF is not sufficiently accessible to many people with low vision, dyslexia, and related conditions that impact reading. This paper aims to encourage additional text customisation functionality in Adobe Reader; and to encourage more rigorous studies to understand, document, and communicate how to better meet users’ text customisation needs through mainstream user agents.


low vision dyslexia readability adaptability PDF Adobe Reader text customisation accessibility guidelines accessibility standards user agents