Peter Korn Blog: University of Toronto white paper Accessibility Issues with OOXML

Conclusions of the Toronto Accessibility White Paper

There are grave issues with respect to the accessibility of Office Open XML as a format and potential standard that should preclude its adoption at present. It may be the case that OOXML can be improved to ameliorate some of the more specific technical concerns, but it is most likely too late for the higher-level issues, especially those inherent in the process by which OOXML was developed. We suggest that energy would be better spent in the ongoing effort to improve the existing ISO ODF standard (with which OOXML would overlap and compete if it is adopted). In any event, decisions with respect to standardized document formats should be made in consultation with members of disability communities, disabilities experts and developers of assistive technologies, with universal accessibility as a core requirement as opposed to an ad hoc afterthought.