“Carol enrolls for a math course at a university. She checks the course material and required readings and finds that there are 20 PDFs in the course. Carol opens her documents. She tries to skim through the content to understand the material using a screen reader. Slowly she loses her sense of optimism. These PDFs are no good … Do you recognize the feeling? Probably not. ”
PDF is one of the most widely used formats for digitizing print material. PDF Remediation is the process of tagging elements of PDF documents so that people using assistive technology(screen readers) can get the same information from the document that anyone would.
The tags identify the elements and inform the assistive technology about the order in which they are meant to be read. PDF elements that are used most frequently include images(alt-text), headings, links, lists and tables. These are the most commonly required elements but there can be other elements which need to be tagged.
A Word document or a Powerpoint file that was inaccessible before can’t become accessible if it is just saved as PDF. It needs to be remediated first in the authoring tool and even then sometimes these PDFs need to be remediated.
The ubiquity of PDF comes from the fact that PDF format is stable and consistent across many platforms and a variety of devices. The Portable Document Format isn’t going away any time soon, and as more of our digital information is available only in PDF format, ensuring that the information contained in these PDFs is accessible becomes increasingly important.
These are few key benefits of using an accessible, tagged PDF:
It requires specific PDF remediation tools to remediate these documents. Looking for a great tool that’s AI powered and saves time and effort to remediate your document which is compliant with WCAG standards ? Have a look at PREP.