RNIB Media Briefing on Accessible PDFs

Mike Davies has posted his notes and recollections from an RNIB Media Briefing on Accessible PDFs, an event on the topic of PDF accessibility.

There is a lot of interesting information in Mike's notes. A few things:

  • There are currently few tools that can generate accessible PDFs.
  • Adobe Acrobat 7 is compatible with screen readers, including the common Windows screen readers, VoiceOver on the Mac, and Copernicus on Linux.
  • PDFs need to be tagged to be accessible.
  • It is possible but time-consuming to make existing PDFs accessible.

Note that since this event was organised by the RNIB (UK Royal National Institue of the Blind), accessible in this context means works with screen readers.

Considering the huge number of PDF documents available on the web, and how often the information they contain is not available elsewhere, making them accessible to everybody is important. Especially for public sector organisations, which for some reason love posting information in PDF files (or even worse, Microsoft Word documents).

Update: Joe Clark knows more about this subject than I do: Here we go again with untagged PDFs.

Posted on October 28, 2005 in Quicklinks, Accessibility