When it comes to PDF accessibility, we realize we’ve provided you with some conflicting information throughout this series. You may be asking yourself: OK, so can PDFs be accessible or can’t they? And the answer, right now, is both.
While yes, if you’re just dealing with basic text documents, you should be able to make them accessible pretty easily. However, as we’ve discussed, if you’re implementing excessive design elements and backgrounds, you’re going to run into issues because Acrobat can’t currently account for all of the variables. This is why user reporting is so important. It’s not enough to express dissatisfaction that PDFs are inherently inaccessible without being willing to contribute to solutions.
Making PDFs accessible definitely takes some extra work, but it’s worth it. By taking those extra steps, you make your content more available to a wider audience while also validating the needs of those with disabilities. It sets a good example and helps future-proof your content. Most of the time, it is simply ensuring best practice.
Accessibility takes a village. Learning how to make a PDF (or a website) accessible is not a one-day, one-article, one-tutorial learning process. But the more you practice, the more second-nature it becomes. Remember, having questions doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing – it just means you’re constantly curious and trying to learn. And the more you practice, the more you know what the right questions to ask are.
- Ep. 1: Intro and Series Overview
- Ep. 2: Using the Accessibility Check Tool
- Ep 3: Reflow and Reading Order
- Ep 4: Document Tagging
Series external resources
- Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities (Microsoft)
- Overview of the PDF tags
- Reading Order tool overview (Adobe)
- Advanced PDF remediation for increased accessibility (University of Nevada, Reno)
- Correct reflow problems with the Content panel (Adobe)
- Introduction to PDF Accessibility Tagging in Acrobat Pro (YouTube)
- Adobe Accessibility Resources (Adobe)
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