What is an accessible PDF?

At a glance:

  • An accessible PDF gives people who can’t see, or have a hard time seeing, access to information in the PDF.
  • PDFs aren’t automatically accessible; they have to be made accessible.
  • Technology helps people who can’t see, or have other disabilities, get information from a PDF.
  • PDFs are made up of layers; the layer we see isn’t the layer computers read.
  • Steps must be taken to make all the PDF layers readable to people with low vision, blindness, and other disabilities.

Why do we need accessible PDFs?

Still shot from the movie, Shrek, with Shrek explaining that ogres are like onions to Donkey

PDFs are like onions…

  • The first layer is the visual layer. This is what sighted people see and read.
  • The second layer is the content layer. This holds all the content from the visual layer.
  • The third layer is the tag layer. This is what computers, screen readers, and other assistive technology read.

The tag layer matters a lot.

What is a PDF tag?

Three layered PDFs. The first one says visual layer, second says content layer, third says tag layer.

Why do I have to create a PDF tag?

  • Computers check tags, add common tags, and run diagnostics.
  • People tag complex information and check the computer’s work. (You’d be surprised how much computers miss.)

The content layer matters too.

Importance of an accessible visual layer.

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Providing ADA compliant materials for your customers. Braille, Large Print, Audio & Accessible PDF Services. https://brailleworks.com/