What is document remediation?

As with any industry, there are terms and phrases around accessibility that haven’t been part of the general lexicon. As such, we often find customers asking what it is we actually do – especially if they aren’t sure what they are looking at when their document is returned.

Below is a basic breakdown of our primary outputs and what we do to make them accessible.

Accessible PDF

  • Adds ‘tags’ to guide assisting technology
  • Follows general contrast and layout specifications
  • Allows for more design elements
  • Can describe complex tables & content
  • Alternate text of up to 4062 characters recognised
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Accessible Word

  • Uses Styles rather than ‘tags’
  • Relies on simplified layout
  • Editable without losing accessibility
  • Simple tables and graphs only
  • Alternate text of up to 160 characters recognised
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What is a Tagged PDF and how do you know if you have one?

Tagging PDF documents is our primary output, our namesake and a large part of our vision to make the world more accessible. The process doesn’t change the ‘look’ of a document to a sighted person, instead it essentially explains what each piece of information is within the document and in what order these pieces of information come.

This information is used by screen readers and other assistive technologies to navigate a document, and act in the same way that visual cues and layout aspects do for sighted readers. The ultimate goal is to provide all of the same information to any person accessing the document – no matter how they choose to do so.

What we do is assign a ‘tag’ to each piece of content – whether it be a certain level of heading, a paragraph, figure, table, list, note, reference, or simply decorative visual elements. Complex visual items such as complex tables, graphs, images, flow charts and others are assigned supporting information known as ‘alternate text’.

This is exactly what it sounds like – text that is alternate to the visuals on the page. The general rule is to explain everything that a sighted person would understand from looking at that visual. This means you cannot give more, or less information than an average person would get – allowing the same access to information for all.

We also add bookmarks and descriptive information to the document to make to easier to recognise and navigate. These are especially important to allow users to ‘skim’ the document by skipping from one block of content to another if they don’t want to engage with it.

Contact us today and find out how we can make your documents accessible.

What is an Accessible Word Document and how is it different to any other document?

You’ll notice the heading is accessible word and not ‘tagged word’. This is because, unlike a PDF document, word documents do not have ‘tags’. Instead, they use the style sheet and physical layout of the document to guide a reader through and derive meaning.

This is one of the reasons that accessible word documents have more limitations than PDFs, they must conform to the existing structures and styles of a generic word document. Complex tables, extensive alternate text, stylistic image placement… all of these things are unable to be utilised in the accessible word format.

As a result of these things, the accessible word document will generally look a little different to the non-accessible version. While we try to keep the end product as close to the original as possible, any complex areas will need to be re-created or significantly altered to meet the WCAG 2.0 AA standards.

The most significant additions and alterations occur when producing elongated alt text (which becomes part of the document) and complex tables (which need to be broken into simple tables). Colours, image placement and correct spacing round out the most common visual changes for an accessible word.

Contact us today and find out how we can make your documents accessible.