Accessible Documents

Is it advisable to expect that every content creator makes their documents accessible?

Every document I create is always accessible. But then I am not the average content creator. We find that there are certain type of documents that are easier to make accessible and others that need experts who understand how to do it!

Simple Documents

As I see it, there are documents that are generally created in Microsoft Word or an authoring tool and then published to PDF. Most of the time these are relatively simple documents from a layout perspective.

These are simple to make accessible yourself using the Accessibility Checker. Most of the time it is simple things like:

  • Using Headings & lists
  • Planning your tables and adding table headers, etc
  • Providing image descriptions, etc

Having said that we yet find people resisting making documents accessible. But if you create proposals, policies, or any simple word document, take the time to learn how to make it accessible. – A great resource from Microsoft – Improve accessibility with the Accessibility Checker.

Complex Documents

More often than not, these are designed and created by people specializing in communications, marketing, and design. We find them using all types of tools from Canva (lately) to Indesign.

These generally have complex layouts, sidebar, layered images, just a lot to make the document visually appealing and also complex from a reading order perspective.

Yes, ideally one wishes that people make these accessible, but this is often where document remediation services help in making the document accessible. So if you don’t know how to do this, go to people that do know how to do this.

It isn’t only about technically how to make a document accessible but also the user experience you want for people with disabilities. Check out 247 Accessible Documents where we take away the challenges of remediating documents for you.

All in all, remember making digital documents accessible, is just as important as making websites accessible.

By Shilpi Kapoor

A serial entrepreneur with a passion for technology and disability. Looking for ways to make digital accessibility a priority! With 20+ years of experience, focusing on implementing accessibility at scale for our customers.

As much as I wear the hat of the founder of BarrierBreak, 247 Accessible Documents & Newz Hook, I am on the Board of Directors of a G3ICT, a non-profit advocating & promoting digital accessibility globally as per the UNCRPD.