Enhancing PDF Accessibility: Implementing Alternate Text

Video Overview:

In the rapidly evolving digital era, the need for accessibility in all forms of content, including PDFs, is increasingly crucial. To bridge the accessibility gap, setting alternate text within a PDF is a method that cannot be overlooked. This blog post provides a step-by-step guide to this process.

First Step: Tagging Images as Figure Tag

The initial approach to set alternate text involves ensuring that all the images in your PDF are tagged as a figure tag. Once they are tagged, simply navigate to the tags panel, right-click the figure tag, and select the properties button. This action opens up a section where you can input a description in the “alternate text for images” field.

Quick and Efficient Methods: Using the Accessibility Button

A faster way to set alternate text for multiple images simultaneously is by utilizing the ‘accessibility’ button. Clicking this option reveals an ‘Set alternate text’ command. Once activated, the system automatically detects all figures in the document and displays them alongside an associated text box.

This method streamlines the alternate text setting process and is particularly handy for documents containing numerous images.

The alternate text can be anything from a simple description of the image, like “a forest with Giant Sequoias” or “two robotic hands reaching towards each other,” to more complex annotations depending on the image’s content and context.

It’s vital to remember that images containing text should include the exact text as part of the alternate text, enhancing accessibility for visually impaired users who may rely on screen readers to access the document’s content.

Document Remediation: A Viable Alternate Option

Though learning to set alternate text within a PDF could be a valuable skill, you might prefer to invest your time elsewhere. For those who want to increase their PDF’s accessibility but don’t have the time or inclination to do it themselves, document remediation services are available.

These services take over the task of making a PDF accessible, freeing up your time for other endeavors. However, if you’re inclined to get your hands dirty and prefer doing it yourself, follow the steps outlined in this blog post or explore other resources for a more comprehensive learning experience.

How to tag a link in PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro

This post will go over how to tag a link/hyperlink within a PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

Video Overview of How to tag a link in PDF

Lets dive right in!

Link tags need to be structured in a very specific way. Here is that way:

P > Link > Link-OBJR and Link text

Here is an example.

Example of links

Links do not always need to be children tags to P tags, but they can never exist as the parent tag themselves.

Don’t forget the link basics

  • Descriptive URLs: When adding hyperlinks in a PDF, it’s essential to use descriptive URLs that indicate the content or destination of the link. A user should be able to understand where the link will take them just by reading the URL or the accompanying text. This is especially crucial for users who navigate documents using screen readers, as the descriptive text is what they hear when they come across a hyperlink. For example, instead of using “Page 2” as the hyperlink text, use something more descriptive like “More on PDF Accessibility Guidelines.
  • Avoid www. addresses: When referring to websites within your PDF, it’s recommended to avoid using raw web addresses starting with ‘www.’ While these addresses technically serve as links, they lack descriptive context which can leave users guessing about the content they’re about to access. A more effective method would be to embed these links into meaningful text that describes the destination or content.
  • Avoid “click here” language: Phrases like “click here” or “follow this link” are not helpful in terms of accessibility. These phrases don’t provide any context about the destination of the link or what the user should expect to find there. They are also not descriptive enough for users who navigate with screen readers, or users who tab through links on a page rather than using a mouse to click on them. Instead of using “click here” language, make your link text descriptive and meaningful. For instance, instead of “Click here to learn more about PDF/UA,” use “Learn more about PDF/UA.” In this example, the latter offers a clear and immediate context for what users can expect when they select the link.

How to create links

Starting from Word

The easiest method to properly embed links is to use MS Word to create your PDF. If your links are properly formatted in Word, and you properly create your PDF, the links will come through perfectly.

Starting in PDF

In most situations, it is easier to simply delete the link completely, and re-add the link into the PDF.

Adding New Links and Managing Multiline Links

Adding new links to a document can be quick and efficient. After selecting the desired text, right-click and select ‘Create Link’. Then, specify the link destination. This method automatically adds an object reference and correctly formats the link. To ensure visibility and recognition, assign a different color to the link and underline it, if necessary.

right click the text you want to make a link and select create link

Multiline links often present a unique challenge. In these situations, it can be beneficial to delete the links and retag the entire text at once. This technique maintains the link’s accessibility and ensures it has a single link object reference.

The Importance of Alternate Text for Link Accessibility

A critical component of making PDF links accessible is the addition of alternate text. Providing additional context for the link, alternate text is a requirement for certain accessibility standards. The practice of adding alternate text to the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative link, for instance, demonstrates how this gives additional information to the user.

To add alternate text to a link follow these steps:

  1. Find the figure tag in the Tags panel
  2. Right-click and select properties
  3. Update the alternate text and include the hyperlink again
Find the figure tag in the Tags panel

Right-click and select properties

Update the alternate text and include the hyperlink again

In conclusion, while making PDF links accessible requires some effort, it is a crucial step in fostering an inclusive digital environment. With a little patience and attention to detail, this skill is within everyone’s grasp.

Other PDF Posts:

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How to make a form accessible

Video Overview:

The intent of this post is to provide additional practice for form accessibility in adobe acrobat pro.

For more in-depth directions on how to make PDF forms Accessible and additional videos, check out this post:

Now back to this post

Modern digital documentation calls for accessibility. From providing equal opportunities to users with disabilities to improving user experience, creating accessible PDF forms has become a necessary skill in today’s digitized world. This guide dives deep into using Adobe Acrobat Pro to make your PDF forms accessible and user-friendly.

Understanding the Importance of Accessible PDF Forms

Every digital content creator must prioritize accessibility. Making a PDF form accessible ensures that it is compliant with Section 508, a federal law requiring all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities.

Creating an Accessible PDF Form: The Adobe Acrobat Pro Way

A step-by-step guide can simplify the process of making an accessible PDF form using Adobe Acrobat Pro. This comprehensive guide offers a seamless roadmap to creating an accessible PDF form, starting from a basic structure created in Microsoft Word to a finalized, accessible form. The process can be broadly divided into four phases.

  1. Applying Accessibility: The first step involves applying accessibility to the document. This includes working with tags, removing unnecessary elements, assigning appropriate heading levels, and setting up the basic structure of the document.
  2. Checking Accessibility: This step involves running an accessibility checker, which checks if the document is accessible, identifying any issues that need to be addressed.
  3. Adding Form Fields: This step involves adding form fields in the document. Adobe Acrobat Pro comes with a handy feature – ‘Prepare Form’ – that helps auto-detect form fields, making the process smoother.
  4. Setting Up Accessibility and Final Checks: This final phase involves detailed work with tags and form fields. It also includes running the accessibility checker once more to ensure that all elements of the form are indeed accessible.

Creating an accessible PDF form involves in-depth understanding and meticulous execution. However, with tools like Adobe Acrobat Pro, the process can become significantly easier.

A Word for the Wise

Creating accessible PDF forms is not just about compliance with laws. It’s about providing an inclusive digital environment.

How to Auto Tag PDFs for Accessibility

Welcome to the Accessibility Guy channel, where I strive to make the digital world more accessible to everyone. In today’s video, we will be discussing how to use the Auto Tag feature in Adobe Acrobat Pro to add tags to a PDF document quickly.

Video Overview | View on YouTube

Auto tagging is a feature within Adobe Acrobat Pro that applies a tag structure to your document, making it easier to navigate for users with disabilities. This feature is especially useful when working with documents that do not have any tags and require a structure that can be manipulated using the reading order tool or other accessibility features.

To use the Auto Tag feature, open your PDF document in Adobe Acrobat Pro and navigate to the Accessibility button from the tools menu on the right-hand side. At the very top of the menu, you will see the Auto Tag Document feature. Simply click on this button, and Adobe Acrobat will apply a tag structure to the rest of the file.

To view the tags that have been added, select the Tags panel from the left-hand menu, and expand the tags button. You can then expand some of the part tags to see the structure that has been added.

It is important to note that after using the Auto Tag feature or any other automated tagging features, it is essential to apply the rest of the accessibility features to the file. For more information on how to do this, check out some of my other videos, which I will link below.

My goal is to be your personal accessibility expert, and I am dedicated to making the digital world more accessible. So, hit that like and subscribe button for more accessibility best practices and tips.

In conclusion, the Auto Tag feature in Adobe Acrobat Pro is a quick and easy way to add tags to a PDF document, making it more accessible to users with disabilities. I hope you found this video helpful and informative. Thank you for watching, and I’ll see you in my next video.

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