Understanding Adobe Acrobat’s New Auto Tagging API for Accessibility
Adobe Acrobat has added a new feature to its accessibility toolkit: the Auto Tagging API. This tool aids in making PDF documents more accessible. If you’re wondering how to leverage this feature to improve document accessibility, this post is for you.
Enabling the Auto Tagging API Feature
The first step is straightforward but crucial—activating the Auto Tagging API. To do this, select the menu button in Adobe Acrobat and navigate to Preferences.
Once the Preferences window is open, go to the Accessibility tab. Locate the option that says “Enable cloud-based auto tagging for accessibility.” Select this option and click OK. Now the feature is ready to be used.
How Does Adobe Acrobat Auto Tagging API Work?
After enabling, open your PDF document and run the Auto Tagging API. What happens next is what sets this feature apart from its predecessors. The tool takes a proactive approach to organize and tag various elements in your document. These elements can range from text blocks to images to headers and lists. The result is a series of nested tags under a primary ‘document’ tag. While it might not be perfect, the structure it provides is a significant improvement over manual tagging or using older automated methods.
Adobe’s Auto Tagging API also introduces ‘aside’ tags. These are particularly helpful for content that sits on the sidebars of your document. The feature recognizes such content and tags it differently, making it easier for readers using screen readers to navigate the document effectively.
List and Table Tagging
It’s also worth noting that the Auto Tagging API attempts to correctly tag lists and tables in your document. However, it’s not infallible; you might need to do some minor tweaking to get these tags perfect. For instance, tables might not have their headers correctly tagged, and lists could have incorrect list-item tags.
The Importance of Reviewing Tags
Once you’ve run the Auto Tagging API feature, it’s vital to review the tags. This helps you ensure that everything is tagged appropriately, as the system isn’t flawless. While images and figures are tagged, they may not have alternate text, which is crucial for accessibility. Similarly, tables often lack properly tagged headers. These are minor issues that can easily be fixed manually.
Improving the Reading Flow
The ‘aside’ tags, as previously mentioned, are useful for segregating sidebar content. However, their placement can be adjusted to improve the overall reading flow of your document. For example, you can move the ‘aside’ tag to the end of the paragraph where the sidebar content ends. This will make the document easier to navigate for those using screen readers. Of course this is just an example from the document used in the video.
Final Thoughts on Adobe Acrobat’s Auto Tagging API for Accessibility
Adobe Acrobat’s Auto Tagging API improves PDF accessibility. It offers cleaner, more organized tagging than older methods. While not flawless, the feature reduces manual work and moves us toward effortless accessibility.
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