WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Testing PDfs for accessiblilty


From: Angela French
Date: Jul 17, 2017 4:30PM

Hmmmm, I might have written this myself! Eager to see the suggestions.

Angela French

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Alan Zaitchik
Sent: Monday, July 17, 2017 3:29 PM
Subject: [WebAIM] Testing PDfs for accessiblilty

I have finally convinced my superiors that it¹s time we look at tools other than Acrobat Pro for testing and remediating issues with PDFs.
They prefer, obviously, not to spend money, but might be cajoled into a small investment. I¹m sure better tools will save money almost immediately given the inordinate amount of time I am spending at present with Acrobat.

My question is: what would you recommend as an alternative to Acorbat Pro for the various aspects of accessibility testing and remediation, in particular the tags structures?

We get PDF documents from various sources: InDesign, Word, Powerpoint, sometimes Excel ‹ and sometimes we have no idea where. There is always a crushing amount of work required to straighten out the tags, and of course any subsequent edit of content seems to play havoc with the tags and spoil the work done up to that point. I rely on Role Mapping, and so on, but the fact is that the tag structure is often (usually) wildly broken. We are very frustrated by both the Autotag feature of Acrobat as well as the ³Save as PDF² plugins in Word and Powerpoint, assuming that they bear some of the responsibility, too, for the bad results. No matter how we try in Word and InDesign and Powerpoint, when the document is brought into Acrobat (and auto tagged if need be) the results are always unacceptable.

Can anyone recommend a tool that autogenerates clean tag structures that conform to HTML5-like semantics? Is there a better way to generate PDFs from Word, Powerpoint, etc. than the usual Save as PDF options in those products?

Thanks for suggestions.

Alan Zaitchik

Center for Social Innovation
200 Reservoir Street
Needham, MA 02494