6 Common PDF Accessibility Mistakes

Why PDF accessibility matters.

An accessible PDF is a document that is universally easy to use and meets established accessibility standards. It enables most people to view, read, or interact with your document. Since your audience may include people whose vision, hearing, mobility, or cognition is impaired, your document must support assistive technology like:

  • Screen readers
    Text-to-speech programs
    Braille displays
    And more

The more accessible your PDF is, for example, the easier it is to hear on a mobile device. Or view it with a screen magnifier. Or fill it out without a keyboard. Actually, this increased ease of use benefits everyone in your audience, regardless of their various abilities.

Ensuring accessibility in PDF documents is crucial for making content usable by individuals with disabilities.

Here are six common mistakes in PDF accessibility:

  1. Missing or Improperly Tagged Content: One of the most common mistakes is not tagging or improperly tagging content within the PDF Accessibility Services. Tags provide structure to the document, enabling screen readers to interpret the content correctly. Without proper tags, screen readers may not be able to convey the document’s meaning accurately.
  2. Lack of Alternative Text for Images: Images should have alternative text (alt text) associated with them, describing their content or function. This is particularly important for individuals who rely on screen readers to interpret visual content. Without alt text, users with visual impairments may miss crucial information conveyed through images.
  3. Inaccessible Forms: Forms within PDF documents should be accessible to users with disabilities. This includes properly labeling form fields, providing clear instructions, and ensuring compatibility with assistive technologies. Inaccessible forms can create barriers for users who rely on screen readers or keyboard navigation.
  4. Unstructured or Poorly Structured Content: Content within the PDF should be structured logically using headings, paragraphs, lists, and other semantic elements. Proper structure enhances readability and navigation for all users, including those with disabilities. Without clear structure, users may struggle to understand the document’s organization and flow.
  5. Inaccessible Links and Navigation: Links within PDF documents should be descriptive and accessible to users with disabilities. Link text should clearly indicate the destination or purpose of the link. Additionally, the document should include a logical reading order, ensuring that users can navigate through the content efficiently using assistive technologies.
  6. Ignoring Contrast and Color Accessibility: Text and graphical elements should have sufficient contrast and should not rely solely on color to convey information. Low-contrast text can be difficult to read for users with visual impairments, while color-dependent information may be inaccessible to users who are colorblind. Ensuring adequate color contrast and providing alternative means of conveying information can improve accessibility for all users.

By addressing these common mistakes and following accessibility best practices, you can create PDF documents that are more inclusive and usable for individuals with disabilities.

DTP Labs is a Desktop Publishing company based in New Delhi, India. We offer book publishing Services, PDF to Word conversions, post-translation DTP, and E-Learning Localization Services to translation agencies worldwide. To avail of our services, check out our website www.dtplabs.com, or contact us at info@dtplabs.com.