The issues of accessibility and inclusivity remain as topical as ever. While accessibility in real life calls for installing ramps and providing captions in Braille among other things, the world is in its digital era, and new approaches must be taken. Digital accessibility is the new norm as we live in the era of digital content. This concerns websites, software, and even virtual documentation. PDF accessibility is something that everyone needs to consider when creating files in this digital format. In this article, you will learn about the principles of accessible PDF files, their advantages, and how to make your PDFs more accessible for all users.
What Are Accessible PDF Documents?
Before learning about the benefits of digital accessibility, it is important to answer the question: “What does accessible format mean?” An accessible digital document should be easy to interact with for all people, including individuals with disabilities, such as those with hearing and vision problems.
It is essential to make digital formats accessible to everyone, especially when we are talking about such popular formats as PDF. Access to information should be equally distributed, and inclusive solutions for digital documents allow millions of people with disabilities to interact with them freely.
Why Do We Need to Make PDFs Accessible?
Accessible PDF documents offer various advantages for both individuals and businesses. Here is how users can benefit from them:
- Easier use: The high readability of text improves the user experience immensely. Structuring your PDFs and using appropriate fonts will improve document readability and usability.
- Accessibility for every user: Special software and hardware solutions, such as text to audio and Braille display features, allow everyone to consume information equally.
As for businesses, here are some accessible PDF advantages for them:
- Gaining loyal clients: Providing PDF documents with accessibility in mind allows gaining more loyal customers who enjoy good service.
- Promoting inclusivity: All-inclusive solutions implemented by businesses also promote inclusivity and contribute to the topic on a greater scale.
- Improving public image: Companies with inclusive services have a better reputation than those that do not care about their client base and convenience.
In the modern world, accessibility is not a whim but a complete necessity, and the technical landscape keeps evolving to accommodate everyone equally.
Interactive Elements, Navigation, and Other Accessible Features for All Users
Creating accessibility is a complex task that requires a special approach. Some of the easiest PDF tips and tricks include using special software like PDFGuru.com that allows performing a range of actions with PDF documents conveniently. These involve editing PDFs without the help of downloadable software, merging or splitting files, resizing them, or turning them into other virtual formats. If you want to make your PDF files inclusive, here are some things to pay attention to:
- Document structure: The first step in making your PDFs accessible is structuring them properly. Use headings to provide convenient navigation, include lists for easier comprehension, and format your documents appropriately.
- Select accessible fonts: Each font serves a different purpose, and there are specific fonts recommended for general use in documents. This increases readability and makes the virtual documents more accessible. Choosing an inclusive font is the first step, and it is important to format it accordingly. The smallest recommended size is 12, as smaller fonts will be less readable.
- Use alt text: Alternative text is essential for online publications for various reasons. First, alt text appears when images are not loading , providing important context. Second, alt text allows turning all images into speech and making them accessible to wider audiences.
- Insert appropriate links: If you want to make your links more inclusive, avoid using hyperlinks with tags like “click to read more” as they do not provide any context. Describe your links for improved accessibility.
- Ensure the reading order is appropriate: It is a rule of thumb for every piece of text, but PDF documents should be coherent for easier comprehension. In addition, it is always important to ensure that the language of the document is set properly for screen reading software to read it properly.
- Perform final tests: It is always good to run your document through various assistive software to see if there are any issues.
Making sure your PDF files are accessible is not an easy task but a necessary one.
Promoting Inclusive Design Principles in PDF Creation
The change begins with you, and it is important to start making steps towards full accessibility of digital content. Both companies and users should start contributing to PDF accessibility to make this format not only popular and secure but also convenient for everyone, including people with certain disabilities. Various laws are also adopted currently to ensure that all content is standardized and corresponds with the accessibility requirements.
We live in a highly digitalized world, and more content appears all the time. This calls for new accessibility solutions that will make all content inclusive. PDF is one of the most widespread document formats, and there is a high demand for accessibility to such documentation. Various steps can be taken to make each PDF file more accessible by itself and in tandem with other software or hardware. The basic requirements for an inclusive PDF file are rather simple, and each user can contribute to it.