All documents must undergo accessibility compliance reviews before they are uploaded to websites. Many of the same accessibility requirements that apply to websites also apply to documents.
Document Accessibility Best Practices
- Use built-in headings and a logical heading structure.
- Provide alternate text for all visuals, including images and charts. Avoid displaying text as part of images.
- Provide an appropriate color contrast between text and page background.
- Use a simple table structure, and specify column header information. Avoid split cells, merge cells and nested tables.
- Add meaningful hyperlink text. For example, instead of linking to the text “click here”, include the full title of the destination page. Also, link descriptive text phrases instead of listing long URLs since they are read aloud by screen readers.
- Use bulleted and numbered lists.
The newest versions of Microsoft Office have a built-in accessibility checker. Adobe Acrobat DC, the professional version of Adobe Acrobat, also comes with a built-in accessibility checker and accessibility reporting.
If you plan to export PDF files from Microsoft applications or graphic design applications like Adobe Indesign or Quark, it is strongly recommended that you also understand Adobe Acrobat DC's accessibility checker, accessibility reporting and remediation tools.
Microsoft Office Applications
Adobe Acrobat DC
- Acrobat DC PDF Accessibility Checker
- Acrobat DC PDF Accessibility Workflow
- Acrobat DC: Creating Accessible PDFs (LinkedIn Learning training)
- WebAIM PDF Accessibility
The links below cover how to address accessibility within InDesign documents, rather than having to make major changes in Adobe Acrobat DC after exporting to PDF. With InDesign, designers have the capability to add PDF tags, alt tags, and specify content order in files which stay with the document as you revise it. Used in combination with Adobe Acrobat DC for touch-up of exported PDF files, designers can achieve maximum accessibility for exported content.
It is highly recommended that you also familiarize yourself with PDF accessibility and complete the Adobe Acrobat DC training linked above that covers the Adobe Acrobat DC accessibility checker, accessibility reporting tools, accessibility workflow and the LinkedIn Learning accessible PDFs training.