When it comes to creating accessible content, the usual focus is on headings, images and use of colour. These are all important issues that can really help deal with accessibility, but they are not everything.
In my role as Accessibility Services Manager at Media Access Australia I am often tasked with turning inaccessible into accessible. The formats I work with are varied, from the Microsoft Office suite of programs to Adobe’s InDesign and Acrobat Professional. On top of this, every document is unique in its layout and presentation. What’s invariable though are the types of problems I encounter along the way. As an insight into document remediation, I’ve summed up my experiences in five points.
The accessibility of PDF (Portable Document Format) files is something of a bone of contention within the accessibility community, and an ongoing source of frustration among those working to improve document accessibility in their own organisation or industry.
The document format can be complicated to make accessible, and has many known issues—such as being difficult to correctly tag page elements, being incompatible with screen reading software, and jumbling up the read order from the source file.
But, imagine the accessibility challenge that occurs when you embed an inaccessible Illustrator file inside a PDF then try to make the whole document accessible.
Let’s illustrate this with an example.