Accessible documents are a key part of any digital accessibility strategy and relatively quick and easy to implement. A question that we are frequently asked is “can I create accessible documents myself?” We all use Word and other standard programs every day, so it can’t be that hard. At first glance, creating accessible documents might seem to be within the reach of anybody with a bit of basic training, but it is very easy to become stuck in common accessibility problems with no way of knowing how to fix them.
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.