Most people remediate PDFs by using Adobe Acrobat’s Accessibility tool to run a full check on the document. This generates a list of errors to fix. Two of those errors — reading order & color contrast — require manual checks and always show up on the error list.
When I started remediating PDFs, I thought that getting down to just those two manual checks meant that my document was accessible. Oh, how naïve I was! I now realize that is just the starting point. Yes, it is important to do all of the corrections that clear the errors that the automated checks find, but there are many issues that can only be identified by human eyes, not machine checks. I find that I spend 50%–75% of my time on manual checks. It is possible for a document to pass the automated checks and still be very inaccessible.
I have developed a manual accessibility document to help guide you through that process. The key is to work through the Tags panel. That will allow you to check reading order and will allow you to identify errors. Taking the time to do manual checks can mean the difference between a document that looks like it’s accessible and one that actually is.
This article was contributed by Cindy Jouper, CPWA, for the Accessibility Blog. Subscribe to her blog for monthly articles, tips, and professional development opportunities delivered to your inbox.