Adobe Acrobat Section 508 Accessibility Training

Adobe Acrobat Section 508 Accessibility Training

Brought to you by David J. Hark

Adobe, Acrobat, and PDF

Before discussing the accessibility, A11Y, of PDF files, it is important to distinguish between Adobe, Acrobat and PDF. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same.

  1. Adobe is a company; they are the creators of Acrobat.
  2. Acrobat is a tool for creating, editing and viewing PDF files.
  3. PDF is a format or type of document. It stands for Portable Document Format. The PDF format was created by Adobe.
  4. PDF was a proprietary format controlled by Adobe until it was released as an open standard on July 1, 2008, and published by the International Organization for Standardization, now an ISO standard.

The terms Adobe, Acrobat, and PDF are related in the same way as Microsoft, Word, and doc.

PDF: Portable Document Format

Invented by Adobe Systems, and first released in 1993, PDF became ISO 32000 in 2008. The format was developed to provide a platform-independent means of exchanging fixed-layout documents.

Derived from PostScript, but without language features like loops, PDF adds support for features such as compression, passwords, semantic structures and DRM.

Because PDF documents can easily be viewed and printed by users on a variety of computer platforms, they are very common on the World Wide Web and in document management systems worldwide. The current PDF specification, ISO 32000-1:2008, is available from ISO's website, and under special arrangement, without charge from Adobe.

What’s your standard?

Section 508, PDF/UA, ADA - WCAG 2.0/2.1, HHS

What’s your standard?

Section 508, PDF/UA, ADA - WCAG 2.0/2.1, HHS

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1

Although rooted in core web technologies such as HTTP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript, WCAG 2.0 (and its successor, WCAG 2.1) is written in a mostly technically-neutral fashion. In accordance with regulatory pressure to keep things as simple as possible, this web content accessibility specification has been generally applied to all manner of electronic media beyond web content. Conspicuous among these is PDF.

PDF/UA

PDF/UA (PDF/Universal Accessibility) is the name for ISO 14289, the International Standard for accessible PDF technology. A technical specification intended for developers implementing PDF writing and processing software, PDF/UA provides definitive terms and requirements for accessibility in PDF documents and applications. For those equipped with appropriate software, conformance with PDF/UA ensures accessibility for people with disabilities who use assistive technology such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, joysticks and other technologies to navigate and read electronic content.

PDF/UA provides technical specifications for WCAG 2.1 conformance in PDF content

PDF Accessibility Word Cloud

PDF/UA is needed because while the PDF specification creates accessibility mechanisms it fails to set clear rules for actually creating (or delivering) reliably accessible PDF content. PDF/UA focuses exclusively on providing low-level technical specifications of sufficient detail to illuminate the practical realities of accessibility in PDF, including implementing WCAG 2.1in the PDF context.

Adobe Acrobat DC FAQ: Standards and accessibility:

What version of the PDF specification does Acrobat DC support?
What PDF-based standards does the Acrobat DC Family support?
Does Acrobat DC work in conjunction with any other PDF standards or initiatives?
How does Acrobat DC provide accessibility for people with disabilities?
Does Acrobat DC comply with accessibilty regulations such as U.S. Section 508?

PDF Tags

When people talk about "accessible" PDF files, they usually are referring to "tagged" PDF files, even though there is more to an accessible PDF than tags. PDF tags provide a hidden structured, textual representation of the PDF content that is presented to screen readers. They exist for accessibility purposes only and have no visible effect on the PDF file.

HTML tags and PDF tags often use similar tag names (e.g., both have tags named h1, <h1>) and organization structures, but they really are quite different. If you are comfortable with HTML, you will probably have an easier time creating and editing tagged PDF files. Here is a list of Predefined PDF Tags verses HTML tags on an example page. Note: PDF Tags are Case Sensitive; i.e. <Art> Article

PDF Tags: <Sect> <H1> <P> <H2>

Example of PDF Tags

 

Logical Structure and Accessibility, A11Y

A "tagged" PDF includes document structure and semantic information to enable reliable text extraction and accessibility.

Technically speaking, tagged PDF is a stylized use of the format that builds on a logicaly structured framework. Tagged PDF defines a set of standard structure types and attributes that allow page content (text, graphics, and images) to be extracted and reused for other purposes.

A Tagged PDF is not required in situations where a PDF file is intended only for print and has no efect on the appearance of the document.

Converting Documents to PDF

PDF files are not typically created in Acrobat. They are usually created in another program and converted to PDF. There are dozens or probably hundreds of programs that can create PDF files, but very few of them produce tagged PDF files. Of course, the accessibility of the PDF depends on the accessibility of the original document.

Always Follow the Hierarchy

THEN tag the document and make any necessary repairs


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Last updated: 19 April  2019

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Two columns if you like

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia.

All kind of lists

  1. Simple lists are marked with bullets
  2. Ordered lists begin with a number
  3. You can even nest lists one inside another
    • Or mix their types
    • But do not go too far
    • Otherwise audience will be bored
  4. Look, seven rows exactly!

Serious citations

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Code samples

			<!DOCTYPE html>
			<html lang="en">
			<head> <!--Comment-->
			    <title>Shower</title>
			    <meta charset="UTF-8">
			    <link rel="stylesheet" href="screen.css">
			</head>
		

Even tables

Locavore Umami Helvetica Vegan
Fingerstache Kale Chips Keytar
Sriracha Gluten-free Ennui Keffiyeh
Thundercats Jean Shorts Biodiesel
Terry Richardson Swag Blog

It’s good to have information organized.

Pictures

Orange typewriter on a wooden table close-up
© John Carey

You can even shout this way

Inner navigation

  1. Lets you reveal list items one by one

All nicely aligned to grid

Shower logo See more on GitHub