How to Make PDFs Accessible | Episode 7: Reedley College

Welcome to episode seven on community college PDF accessibility. Today, we focus on Reedley Community College’s document “HSE Enrollment Form.”

Video Guide

In case you missed them, here are Episode 1Episode 2,  Episode 3Episode 4Episode 5, and Episode 6 in our PDF Accessibility Community College Series.

Key Takeaways from this Episode

This episode reveals common issues with PDF accessibility, highlighting the need for meticulous attention in document creation to ensure full accessibility for individuals using assistive technology.

Streamlining PDF Accessibility with Appropriate Tagging

  • Nested Tags and Reading Order Challenges: Manually cut and paste tags to correct improper nesting, thereby streamlining the document’s structure. This ensures the organization of headings, sections, paragraphs, figures, and lists in a logical reading order. Additionally, remove unnecessary section tags and artifact redundant content to simplify the document’s structure.
  • Improper Tagging of Form Fields: Separate blended content like combined city, state, zip, and phone information. Create new tags for each form field and move existing ones to ensure proper labeling and visibility for screen readers.
  • Inconsistent Use of Heading Tags: Review all heading tags (H1, H2, etc.) to ensure consistency. Note that non-essential content should never be tagged as headings.
  • Issues with Nested Lists: Address formatting issues in nested lists to ensure they are correctly structured. Place your nested list inside an ‘LBody’ tag for clear and logical content association.
Properly tagging a nested list in a PDF
  • Ineffective Alternate Text for Images: Add descriptive alternate text to all PDF images to convey each image’s content and function.
  • Excessive Content in Single Paragraph Tags: Break down large blocks of content grouped under a single ‘p’ tag by creating multiple new ‘p’ tags to separate and organize the content more effectively.
  • Extra Rows and Blank Content: Identify and remove any extra rows that represent blank content.

Ensuring PDF Accessibility through Accessibility Checkers

  • Font Embedding Issues: Use the preflight tool in Adobe Acrobat to embed missing fonts.
  • Annotation Nesting Errors: Ensure that all interactive elements like widgets are appropriately nested within the document’s framework.
  • Table Issues: Use the Reading Order Tool for Tables to identify and edit table structures. Add headers to tables and remember to set the ‘column’ and ‘row’ scope appropriately.
  • Address Inappropriate Use of Figure Elements: Modify the placement attribute of figure tags from ‘start’ to ‘inline’ and then to ‘block’ if necessary.
Changing the placement attribute of a figure tag in a PDF
  • Correct Metadata for PDF/UA Compliance: Finally, add a PDF/UA identifier to the document’s metadata using the Preflight menu in Adobe Acrobat.

The above process actively demonstrates the need for a detailed and methodical approach to ensure PDF accessibility. To guarantee documents are comprehensible for all users, one must be thorough and understand the technical tools and standards.

Remember, I can be your accessibility expert. For more detailed insights, tutorials, and in-depth discussions on accessibility and related topics, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel: The Accessibility Guy on YouTube. Subscribe for regular updates!

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