Aren't all PDFs Accessible?
No, in fact most are not. This may have little impact on documents that contain only a few paragraphs of text, but it becomes very significant if they contain images, tabular data, forms or a large quantity of text.
The programs used to create them have a significant effect on their accessibility. Some programs such as Quark have the facility to export files as PDF but the accessibility is poor.
Standard PDFs created in Adobe Acrobat or converted from applications such as Microsoft Office may contain some features to improve accessibility but there is still a great deal of scope for improvement.
Are you creating new PDFs?
Leave it to us. Just provide us with the text, images and layout and we will create new, accessible PDFs to your requirements.
Do you have existing PDFs?
We can apply the necessary techniques to make your existing PDFs accessible.
Do you have documents in other file formats?
We can convert many file formats to PDF and make them accessible.
Why Aren't PDFs Accessible?
Standard PDFs lack semantic structure that would benefit users of assistive technologies such as screen readers. This means there is no indication of the document's structure and there is no differentiation between the text in headings, body text, lists and tabular data.
Also there is no alternate text for images, so any information conveyed by means of images is not available to such users.
In some cases the reading order of the content is not correct or it is fragmented.
What Makes PDFs Accessible?
The accessibility of PDFs can be greatly improved by adding "tags" to the file. These contain information about the structure of the document such as headings, lists, tables, hyperlinks and alternative text descriptions for images.
Tagging a PDF also provides control over the order in which the content is read. These factors together allow users of assistive technologies such as screen readers to understand the document and navigate within it more easily.
The Accessibility section of the Adobe website contains a great deal of information about PDF accessibility
Do you want to do it yourself?
Making accessible PDFs is very challenging and it's not the most fun thing you'll ever do. Nevertheless, if you have a regular requirement for them you may wish to learn how to create them yourself. We run public training courses and can deliver bespoke training courses at your premises.
Read more about our Accessible PDF training courses