What is PDF Remediation?

pdf remediation
How does the experience of reading a PDF work for someone who is using a screen reader? You may assume, “If screen readers can read a screen, they should be able to read PDFs, so we don’t need to do anything else to make PDFs accessible.” However, as wonderful as screen readers are, they need some guidance in parsing a PDF that has various elements.

What is PDF Remediation?

A PDF remediation is the process of making a PDF accessible for people who use assistive technology. If you use a screen reader, you will notice that it reads a screen from left to right and one element after another. You will hear it reading the screen as it navigates a document, web page, or PDF that you ask it to read.
For a screen reader to read effectively, you need to tell it where to go next once it’s done reading the current element. Unlike HTML or XML, PDFs do not have tags for screen readers to rely on. You may have some ways of marking up text in a PDF, such as using headings, page breaks, or paragraphs, but they’re not always 100% accurate or reliable. Remediation allows us to bake extra (or missing) guidance into a PDF to enable a screen reader to parse or read the document to match the document creator’s intention. It’s a way to add metadata (tags) into a document that tells screen readers what the distinct elements are and their reading order. For example, which element is a table versus which one is a list or image.
Remediation is also essential when a completely accessible document is converted from Word or Google Docs to PDF. Conversion can strip away some accessibility features.

Why is PDF Remediation Important?

Document remediation is important to make digital content easier to grasp for people with disabilities or someone who uses assistive technology like screen readers, speech-recognition software, alternative input devices, screen magnifiers, text-to-speech software, and Braille displays. It is also helpful for people with cognitive disorders or impairments related to the brain as well.

One of the significant benefits of PDF remediation is that it allows the document to look the same in print as it is online. Be it on Windows, Mac, or a mobile device; a document is only accessible when even assistive technologies can relay the information accurately to users. Another major advantage is that with the right tags, online documents can enhance their SEO and make them more useful.

For example, look at this infographic. Whether this is an image or a page in a PDF, it is clear that a screen reader will have trouble reading all the elements in the proper order. A screen reader is likely to read the blue headings together as, “How a device locates itself, how location data is collected” Instead, you may want it to read the line “Mobile devices contain hardware” after it reads the first heading in blue, “How a device locates itself.” This is only possible via PDF remediation.

What is the Process of Remediating a PDF?

Here are the basic steps for document remediation:

  1. Begin the remediation process in an original source file. If you do not have one, convert the PDF into a word document.
  2. Tag the digital elements like the tables, alt text, images, links, headings, lists, and the reading order of the PDF. Tagged PDFs help the supporting technologies read a document successfully.
  3. You can tag documents with the help of Adobe Acrobat Pro in the tag panel, where every page is validated with the final PDF document checklist.
  4. If an item is not in compliance, it is noted in the remediation report.
  5. Validate the pages once again and save a copy of the document.

Which Formats and PDF Documents Can You Make Accessible?

Types of documents that are most commonly remediated are:

  •  PDF Documents
  • Microsoft Documents like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Publisher

Documents in the original format are considered to undergo the most accurate remediation, while scanned documents are viewed as images and cannot be made accessible. However, object recognition tools can recognize text in images and add a tagging structure but typically, scanned documents need to be recreated from the beginning.

Can You Automate the Document Remediation Process?

 You can automate document remediation with the help of Adobe’s “Make Accessible” or “Autotag Document” tools in Acrobat Pro. These help identify and correct accessibility problems in very simple documents without too many elements.

These tools only work well for documents with fewer elements. And in most cases, they are not the best option, as in most cases, you cannot automate the remediation process for documents carrying too many elements like images, tables, lists, links, basic titles, and texts. For that, there are two other solutions:

  • Invest in PDF Remediation Software
  • Leverage a PDF Remediation Service

How Does PREP's Remediation Software Work?

Someone using assistive technology expects the same information from a PDF as the other users receive. PDF accessibility should be on the top of your mind for this to happen. To make a PDF with fewer elements accessible, you can use automated tools, but if you are searching for a complete and permanent solution, PREP’s (PDF and Document Remediation Platform) AI-enabled tool is your answer.

Let our experts handle the tedious tasks for you. Your document remediation process has just gotten faster, more straightforward, and customizable with our automated AI-driven remediation solution. Trusted by leading organizations across industries, with a simple 3-step process, PREP remediates documents with speed and simplicity.

Step 1: Upload the document, and within seconds it gets auto-tagged in our software.

Step 2: Modify the tags by simply clicking on the tag and then choosing the correct tag from the dropdown.

Step 3: Save the document and export the file.

Transform Documents into Accessible Formats

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