Creating Accessible E-Books Part 2

Learn more about creating accessible white papers, e-books, PDFs so that your content reaches half a million more Canadians by applying just a few tips.

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Image of a button on a keyboard with the universal accessible symbol of person on wheelchair

I want to expand on my previous post about creating accessible PDF documents. You can find my first post here “Is Your E-Book Accessible? A Guide on How to Reach an Extra 3.8 Million Canadians”. In my previous post I talk a little about why accessibility is important, who benefits (not just people with disabilities) and how to make your PDF accessible.

To summarize, making your white papers, e-books means that you enable people (primarily with vision loss) the ability to download and interpret your PDF. According to CNIB approximately 500,000 Canadians live with significant vision loss. When your documents aren’t accessible you leave a potential half a million people out which means you lose. Not to mention the many people that use screen reading software for other reasons. When its a matter of just applying a few components so that you reach half a million or more people then it becomes a necessity.

I posted a guide which you can download with tips on how to make PDFs accessible. But I didn’t tell you what the difference is. There are two general types of documents. A plain text document with no structure and a structured accessible document.

Here is an unstructured non accessible example of a document:

                                               

Quick Tips to Make Word Documents Accessible.
Font.
It is important to use clear, legible sans serif fonts (fonts without curls) such as Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, Helvetica, Gotham, Calibri.
Ensure that font sizes are at least 12pt.
Use contrasting colours, black and white contrast the most.

VERSUS a structured accessible PDF with colour contrast:

Quick Tips to Make Word Documents Accessible.

Font.

It is important to use clear, legible sans serif fonts (fonts without curls) such as Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, Helvetica, Gotham, Calibri.

Ensure that font sizes are at least 12pt.

Use contrasting colours, black and white contrast the most.

When you download my guide of a PDF, if you go to the left side of the Adobe screen, click the second symbol that resembles a blue ribbon, it will open up to different tags. These allow people with screen reading software to jump ahead to different sections of a document. When it is not structured (when there is no headings, subheadings then the user must go through an entire document to find what they need). As you noted in my guide, when you select a Style and use Headings then it automatically creates those tags. Secondly, if you convert a plain text file to a PDF, then select read a loud, the reader will go through the entire document without a single pause as opposed to if you used commas, periods or headings.

I highly recommend you download both of the following links. The first link is the plain text PDF and the second link is the accessible PDF. Open them up, click view then read aloud and see how each document differs.

plaintextpdf

Quick Tips to Making Word Documents Accessible

Let me know what you think of the differences, how we can improve it and other ideas. Thanks for reading this post 🙂

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