Canva PDFs are not accessible

This post aims to explore how Canva PDFs are not accessible to people with disabilities. It seems like such a basic need at this point for any modern website to allow for exporting with a structure in place. This simply is not the case for Canva PDFs.

Would you rather just have me make your Canva doc exports accessible for you?

Video Overview of the Problem

The basic premise is that PDFs that are exported from Canva do NOT retain much of the style that is applied on the back end. The good news is that it seems with each passing month, the quality is getting better. As of now, there are multiple steps required to get the PDF ready before it can be made accessible.

The Errors / Problems with exporting

  • The PDFs come through with No tags in many situations.
  • The reading order tool can cause issues.
  • There is extra content that comes through that can be difficult to tag.

One Solution

This video will show how to get the PDF remediation ready. The secret tip is to use the Print to PDF functionality within Adobe Acrobat. Check it out:

This video provides guidance on how to get a tag structure into the document, how to move tags, how to artifact content, use the reading order tool, and adding a link.

Be sure to check out our PDF remediation section while your at it!

When a PDF is not accessible, it creates a variety of problems and barriers, particularly for individuals with disabilities. Here’s an overview of what happens and why it’s a concern:

  • Screen Reader Incompatibility: Individuals who are visually impaired often rely on screen readers to interpret the text within documents. If a PDF is not tagged correctly or lacks the proper structure, screen readers may be unable to read the content, or they may read it in the wrong order, rendering the information unintelligible.
  • Navigation Challenges: An inaccessible PDF might not support easy navigation, making it difficult for people to jump to specific sections, headings, or links within the document. This can be particularly problematic for individuals using assistive technologies.
  • Lack of Alternative Text for Images: If images within the PDF don’t have alternative text descriptions, individuals who are blind or visually impaired won’t have access to the information conveyed through those images.
  • Incompatibility with Assistive Technologies: Individuals with motor disabilities may use various assistive technologies to interact with digital content. An inaccessible PDF might not be compatible with these tools, making it difficult or impossible for these individuals to access the content.
  • Legal Compliance Issues: Many jurisdictions have legal requirements related to accessibility (such as the Americans with Disabilities Act in the U.S.), and failing to make content accessible can lead to legal consequences.
  • Loss of Audience: By not making PDFs accessible, content creators risk alienating a significant portion of their audience. This can lead to reduced readership, customer dissatisfaction, and potential harm to an organization’s reputation.
  • Educational Barriers: In educational settings, inaccessible PDFs can create barriers to learning for students with disabilities, hindering their academic progress and creating an unequal learning environment.
  • Workplace Inequity: In the workplace, inaccessible documents can prevent employees with disabilities from performing their tasks efficiently, leading to inequality and discrimination.
  • Difficulty in Editing and Repurposing Content: Inaccessible PDFs can also be more challenging to edit and repurpose, as the lack of structure and tagging may complicate the process of extracting and reusing content.
  • Negative SEO Impact: Search engines may have difficulty indexing the content within an inaccessible PDF, which can lead to lower search rankings and reduced visibility online.

In summary, an inaccessible PDF doesn’t just create challenges for individuals with disabilities; it can also have broader legal, social, and financial implications. Making PDFs accessible is not merely a matter of compliance or technical correctness; it’s about inclusivity, equality, and ensuring that everyone, regardless of ability, can access the information they need.

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