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PDF Accessibility

Posted on April 16, 2019
Written by Conner Biolsi
Tags: Accessibility, Websites

Making Accessible PDF’s


You can make your website accessible to people with disabilities, but what about your documents? Adobe PDF files are an industry standard for sharing and printing information and graphics. PDF’s are specifically popular for preserving fonts, graphics, and layouts regardless of the program originally used to generate the document.

But what about those who are visually impaired?

Though the standards for PDF accessibility are the same as for websites, the results may be a little different. Here is a list of things to look for, according to Adobe:

CHARACTERISTICS OF ACCESSIBLE PDF FILES

Accessible PDFs include but are not limited to the following characteristics:

    • Searchable text
    • Fonts that allow Characters to be Extracted to Text
    • Interactive Labeled Form Fields with Accessible Error Messages and No Timing
    • Other Interactive Features: Hyperlinks and Navigational Aids
    • Document Language and Title Indication
    • Security that will not Interfere with Assistive Technology
    • Document Structure Tags and Proper Reading Order
    • Alternative Text Descriptions for Non-Text Elements

OTHER ACCESSIBLE CHARACTERISTICS

There are additional characteristics of accessible documents including:

    • No reliance on color or sensory characteristics alone to convey meaning
    • Use of color combinations that provides a sufficient degree of contrast
    • Controls for audio
    • Use of text instead of images of text
    • No use of flashing or blinking elements
    • No focus changes without user initiation
    • Consistent navigation and identification of elements

READ MORE AT ADOBE.COM

OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES

⇓ These links open in a new window.

adobe.com

Adobe has created a series of accessibility guides for Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to assist content authors in creating accessible PDF documents.

webaim.org

An article that comprehensively defines criteria for making an accessible PDF document.