As we all know the pdf situation on mac is an embarrassment. Specifically preview does not give us access to the accessibility benefits of tagged pdf files. As I see it there are two essential accessibility features that have been thought to be missing on the mac, namely headings and fillable form fields. However, I believe I have found a solution to both of these issues.
First of all headings.
There is a free app called skim which allows one access to headings on properly tagged pdf files.
This is done through a table which one can use to navigate through the available headings. When you move v o focus to the heading you want simply move your focus to the text of the pdf and you will be on the appropriate page. I will admit that this is not as ideal as it could be, since it only moves you to the right page and not to the exact location of the heading, but in my book that is close enough.
Secondly fillable forms.
Now we get to the king of all pdf short comings of the mac. Headings are nice but the ability to fill out pdf forms is essential. This is totally impossible
with preview, but have no fear pdf pin is hear.
This app might be a little pricy but it works. As far as I can tell this app gives us full access to accessible pdf forms. its not the best reading experience, but for forms it will do the job. From applying for jobs to filling out taxes and federal student aid info you have to be able to get access to pdf forms. But from everything I have found this is currently impossible on the mac unless you have pdf pin. You can try a free demo of the app so you really have nothing to lose.
In conclusion these apps might not be as ideal as adobe reader on windows, but in my opinion they give us far more then has been previously available on the mac. As a long time mac user I never even realized how accessible pdf's could be until about a week ago. I just always assumed that they were these half baked files that had no headings and could not be edited. It was a very rude awaking when I realized that Apples pdf solution is what is half baked, not pdf's themselves. I was reading a web aim discussion about the topic in which people were making fun of apples abysmal pdf accessibility. One person said, mac users are always going on about how they can do anything a windows screen reader can do, I wonder how they fill out their taxes. This comment really stung and it started me on a tireless search to see if there was better solutions out there.
I hope these can help bring the voice over experience one step closer to its full potential. Remember the added features of these apps really only work with accessible tagged pdf files. This is true of adobe reader and every app.