A PDF version of the instructions: Accessibility Overview ( 29 KB)
What is a PDF File
PDF or Portable Document Format is a computer file format and it is a means of sharing information regardless of the computer platform utilized or the operating system.
What is Accessibility
Accessibility in terms of electronic documents generally refers to facilitating the use of technology for people with disabilities. Main purpose for making accessible PDF files as well as other file formats is to provide equivalent access to electronic documents to all faculty, students and staff.
What makes a PDF File Accessible
There are several main criteria that make a PDF file accessible:
- Logical reading order: For a screen reader to effectively read information on a page, certain clues have to be provided in order to determine how exactly the page is meant to be read. This is very important if the page contains multi-column text, side bars, and tables.
- Graphic information such as: illustrations, drawings, charts and graphics cannot be interpreted by a screen reader. Instead, it can describe the information that the image is meant to convey. To accomplish this, an alternative text description should be provided for all images, charts, and graphics in the document.
- Defined Headings have to be used through out the document
- Header rows are defined for tables containing data
- Have a specified document language (English, Spanish, etc.): Screen readers are designed to read documents on one language dictionary. For this reason it is necessary to specify the language for the document.
- Check the document spelling
- Use black or dark colors for the body text
- Text and images are visually separated
- Avoid using color as a sole meaning of conveying information
- Try to use sufficient contrast
Purpose of the Tutorials
The main purpose of these tutorials is to facilitate your work with the Blackboard courses. The tutorials will help you create accessible Word and PDF files. This will provide easier comprehension of the material for all students and especially those with disabilities who use alternative technologies such as screen readers.