Accessibility makes it possible for readers with vision problems to navigate documents with assistive technology, like screen reading applications, This video introduces the steps you can take in InDesign to make a file you can export to an accessible PDF. Section 508 requirements are explained. Key steps are outlined for making accessible PDFs with logical and consistent structure.
- [Instructor] In recent years there's been a growing awareness for the importance for making digital documents accessible for people with disabilities but what exactly does accessibility mean and how do you create it with In Design? You may have heard the term Section 508 mentioned in the context of accessibility. In 1998 the U.S. federal government enacted a law commonly known as Section 508 that required federal agencies to make their electronic documents accessible to people with disabilities. The basic idea behind this is that everyone, including those with disabilities, has a right to access information.
So electronic documents should be made in such a way that everyone can use them. Many states, academic institutions and other countries adopted similar laws and policies. There's nothing in Section 508 that mandates private companies make their documents accessible but it's becoming a common practice anyway because of the additional benefits which include higher search engine rankings and easier cross media publishing to formats like ePub. What makes a pdf or other document accessible is an underlying structure that doesn't rely on the visual presentation of content.
This structure must be both logical and consistently applied and it must be possible to navigate the document with assistive technology like screen reading applications in a way that makes sense. There are several steps you can take in In Design to make a file you can export to an accessible pdf. Here's a few. Keep text as live text, not as graphics or outline text which is not readable by a computer. Or if you must use place graphics instead of live text select the graphic and use the object export options feature to enter the actual text which can then be read by a screen reader.
Next you need to clean up text, eliminate empty paragraph returns, use correct punctuation and so on. Also define export tagging for every paragraph style so your body text is tagged with paragraph tags, your headings are tagged with H1, H2 and so on, and create pdf bookmarks too. Whether you do it manually or with the table of contents feature, bookmarks are a valuable navigation tool in accessible pdfs. Add all text to every graphic so that blind and low vision users can hear a description of the images.
Again in In Design select an image and use the object export options to set alt text. Keep it descriptive but brief and use punctuation so screen readers will voice it correctly. Anchor graphics to ensure that the alt text is read at the correct point in an article. Tag non essential graphics as artifacts. Again in the object export options dialog box, that way those graphics will be ignored by screen readers. Set the reading order of stories in the articles panel.
When you export to pdf, in the general options select create tagged pdf, include bookmarks and hyperlinks and optimize for fast web view. In the advanced options set the document title and language. Then once you export your pdf, Adobe Acrobat has built in tools to help you check your document for accessibility problems and fix them. Taking the steps to make your In Design content accessible can yield a lot of benefits that go far beyond helping people with disabilities.
When your content is accessible you'll be able to create better quality interactive documents.
- Overview of interactive document types, including PDF and EPUB
- Creating interactive objects
- Setting up hyperlinks, cross-references, and a table of contents
- Working with media
- Publishing documents with Publish Online
- Creating EPUBs
- Following workflows for interactivity: interactive PDF, reflowable EPUB, and fixed-layout EPUB