Welcome to another post in our series focusing on enhancing Word accessibility to ensure Section 508 compliance. Today, we learn the importance of removing flashing, flickering, and animated text to ensure Word accessibility.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that federal agencies’ electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. This includes documents created in Microsoft Word. Compliant documents do not contain any flashing, flickering, or animated text.
Flashing and Animated Text for Section 508 Compliance
Flashing and flickering elements in documents can be a significant barrier for people with photosensitive epilepsy or other light-sensitive conditions. Section 508 compliance aims to eliminate these unnecessary visual effects.
In Word documents, this includes:
Rapidly flashing text or images
Animated GIFs that flash or flicker
Any element that causes a distraction or discomfort due to light sensitivity
It’s important to note that such elements can be a health risk for some viewers. Therefore, we advise caution when viewing the video guide to this blog post, especially if you’re sensitive to light changes.
Always review your Word documents for any such content that could be harmful or inaccessible, and simply delete it.
Ensuring your Word documents are Section 508 compliant is not just about adhering to regulations; it’s about making your content accessible to everyone. Removing flashing, flickering, and animated text from your Word documents is a straightforward yet effective way to achieve this. Remember, accessibility benefits all users, not just those with disabilities.
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The auto-tagger did a great job of organizing the content into proper tags like paragraphs (p tags) and headings (h1, h2, h3 tags). Lists were also formatted correctly.
Auto-tagger isn’t a perfect process, so we manually adjusted a few tags after running it. For example, h2 tags were changed to paragraph tags and the inconsistent headings for the Fall and Spring sections were changed to h3 for uniformity.
Finally, for better identification and searchability, update the PDF’s metadata, like the title and author.
After completing these initial fixes, the accessibility checker identified more PDF accessibility challenges:
Identify and manually correct misused tags. We found a figure tag that was meant to be a paragraph tag and corrected it.
Page numbers were not tagged so we manually selected each page number and tagged them as paragraphs.
Multiple runs of the PAC checker also revealed several errors:
The structure tree showed several inappropriate uses of span tags which is a common error plaguing our PDF College Series!
Identify and correct role mapping problems by removing non-standard types, which show errors in the PAC checker. For example, our PDF contained ‘style spans’ which were not standard so we manually searched the tags panel and changed each to a regular span tag to eliminate the errors.
Troubleshooting these issues is a trial-and-error process. Remember to keep saving your PDF. Repeating tasks requiring absolute accuracy takes serious mental effort and is not fool proof.
PRO-TIP: To change multiple tags at once, hold down the control key and select your tags for editing. Next, open up the document properties, and change the ‘type’. Be careful! A single mis-click can deselect all your chosen tags, which then requires the process to be repeated.
This PDF had several accessibility issues. We used both automated and manual interventions including ensuring proper tagging, updating metadata, embedding fonts, and correcting ‘span’ styles in order to make it accessible
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