Learn to use Adobe InDesign’s accessibility checker toolsAdobe InDesign versions 5.5 and later provides a lot of accessibility features–most of which are well-integrated and intuitive to use. Ensuring accessibility in InDesign still requires a bit of extra work. The following will mainly focus on accessibility features available in InDesign 5.5 or later.
Important aspects to consider during your check
While InDesign includes these capabilities, many prefer to define reading order later, using a remediation tool. Some tools provide the ability to simply drag and drop the content into a desired order through a panel.
More tips for creating accessible PDFs in InDesign
- Adobe Pro DC PDF Accessibility Repair Workflow (HTML-based checklist, 2018)
- Using the Acrobat Pro DC Accessibility Checker (HTML-based step-by-step guide, 2018)
- Create and verify PDF accessibility (Acrobat Pro) (HTML-based step-by-step guide, 2018)
- Create accessible forms and interactive documents (HTML-based step-by-step guide, 2018)
- PDF Baseline Test Process (MS Word, September 2017)
- PDF Detailed Checklist (MS Word, September 2017)
- PDF Printable Checklist (MS Word, September 2017)
Checking the document
First, open the converted PDF and make sure that “Content Copying for Accessibility” is set to “Allowed.” You can find this information in the “Security Settings” in the “Document Properties.”
Most remediation tools provide the ability to check the reading order of a document. This is a critical check that needs human evaluation. The reading order helps ensure that assistive technologies can render the content in a meaningful way, making this one of the first checks you should complete. The tab order should also be confirmed, as well as the document title and language settings.
Next, tagging should be reviewed, especially headings, lists, tables, and alternative text for images. Depending on the tool you are using, this can be done in a fully automated or semi automated way. If you created your document in InDesign, remember to check if your role mapping is done correctly; mapping styles to tags. Some remediation tools provide this information through a menu in a tags panel.
Finally, make sure that the document opens in the desired way (on the first page in the right size). You can then compress the document to reduce its file size.
If you find any of these areas are not defined correctly, they should be fixed in the original document if possible. If this is not possible, a remediation tool can be used to fix problems.
Other things to consider
The background color and text color should be in sufficient contrast to one another, in order to allow everyone to read text clearly. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 gives guidance and recommendations for text sizes and compliance levels.
Additionally, avoid using references to content and information solely based on location on the page. Some users will receive the content in one long sequence, so instructions to click in a “box on the right” would not be meaningful or helpful to them. Supplement this by also including reference to a heading. For example, you could refer to “the box on the right with the heading Resources.”
You should also make sure that documents can be zoomed to enlarge text without it becoming difficult to read. As users zoom in, text should not become pixelated. For this reason, avoid images of text, as they don’t work well for several user groups, such as those with reading difficulties.
Lastly, avoid using text in images, as it can’t be read by many types of assisted technologies. Text in an image can be defined as text that cannot be highlighted. Some aspects of accessibility can be checked automatically, while others need to be reviewed manually.
Making Accessible PDFs hosted by the Siteimprove Academy
- Overview: Learn about the accessibility guidelines you should use when creating a new document with an authoring program like Microsoft Word. After the PDF is generated, walk through the accessibility features in Adobe Acrobat DC. Learn some tests you can perform to verify if the PDF is accessible.
- Principles to apply in your original document
- How to create a tagged PDF
- Using Adobe Acrobat Pro to complete accessibility tagging
- Testing the document to verify it is accessible
- Estimated Length: 1 hour
- Accessible PDF Background
- Create Documents and Convert to PDFs
- Working in Your PDF Testing PDFs
- Making Accessible PDFs Assessment