ACCESSIBLE PDFs: How to Prevent Security Settings from Interfering with Screen Readers

Five PDF icons in a row

When creating a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat DC Pro, a document author can specify that no part of an accessible PDF is to be copied, printed, extracted, commented on, or edited.

Problem is this security setting can interfere with a screen reader’s ability to read the document, because screen readers must be able to copy or extract the document’s text to convert it to speech.

How to fix accessibility permissions manually

1. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat DC Pro
2. Choose File > Properties > Security.
3. Choose No Security from the Security Method drop-down list.
4. Click OK and close the Document Properties dialog box.

Is your screen reader a Trusted Agent?

From Adobe: “If your assistive technology product is registered with Adobe as a Trusted Agent, you can read PDFs that might be inaccessible to another assistive technology product. Acrobat recognizes when a screen reader or other product is a Trusted Agent and overrides security settings that would typically limit access to the content for accessibility purposes. However, the security settings remain in effect for all other purposes, such as to prevent printing, copying, extracting, commenting, or editing text.”

[SOURCE]

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE IMAGES: How to Handle ALT Text Acronyms

How to code ALT text acroymns

IMG ALT text with acronyms can cause problems when read by screenreaders.

FAIL: <img src=”mit-it-logo.jpg” alt=”ITS at MIT” />
(read by a screen reader as “It’s at Mit”).

SOLUTION: Include spaces in between acronym letters in the IMG ALT attribute

PASS: <img src=”mit-it-logo.jpg” alt=”I T S at M I T” />
(read by a screen reader as “ITS at EM EYE TEE”).

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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WEB DEV ACCESSIBILITY TIP: When Meta Refresh Sours

Keyboard with Refresh button, internet concept

Using meta refresh tags on your website pages?

Warning

If you have set a META REFRESH element with a non-zero timeout to automatically refresh the page in a certain number of seconds, this causes an unexpected interruption for screen reader users. This also takes control of the website page away from the user.

Example

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”10″>

Best Practice

If you have to use a META REFRESH element, set the refresh time to zero. This will prompt an immediate redirect, and will not be perceived as a change of context.

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0″>

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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WEB DEV ACCESSIBILITY TIP: Use Action Phrases in ALT Tags

Download Now Button

Using image buttons rather than the standard form buttons on your website?

BEST PRACTICE: Add an ALT attribute value that describes the input action, which screen readers read aloud.

<input type=”image” alt=”Download the Report Now” src=”/images/download-button.png”>

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE WEB CONTENT: A Better “Features and Benefits” Layout

Features and benefits grunge rubber stamp on white background, vector illustrationMake it easy for your Web visitors to easily comprehend your product’s features and benefits. If this information is placed in a long paragraph, prospects may not read it. This longer format can also makes it more difficult for folks who have learning disabilities to comprehend the content.

Check out these examples:

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MORE DIFFICULT & TIME-CONSUMING TO READ

Features & Benefits

Acme HTML File Pro has a lot of functionality that makes editing HTML files more convenient for you. A lot of this does not sound very impressive or even works behind the scenes, but you will surely appreciate It when you need it. These are only a small number of Acme HTML File Pro’s many little features that make heavy code editing a breeze.

With Acme HTML File Pro you can easily open and edit many HTML files at the same time. There’s no limit. Arrange HTML files into multiple projects to open them at once and edit them together. Open all files in a folder (and its subfolders) into a project. Many of Acme HTML File Pro’s editing commands can work on all files in a given project at once. Quickly switch between files and projects by clicking on their tabs. Move back and forth with the handy “previous editing position” and ’’previously edited file” commands. Manage long lists of HTML files and large projects with the handy file manager sidebar which can rename, move, copy and delete files.

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EASIER TO COMPREHEND/CAN BE READ QUICKLY

Features and Benefits

Acme HTML File Pro saves you time.

It’s easy to use.
Makes heavy code editing a breeze.

It’s efficient.
Open and edit unlimited HTML files at the same time.

It “remembers.”
Move back and forth with the handy “previous editing position” and “previously edited file” commands.

It’s a file manager.
Manage long lists of HTML files and large projects with the handy file manager sidebar which can rename, move, copy and delete files.

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SEE BOTH, SIDE BY SIDE

Features and Benefits - Long Copy vs Short Copy

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE LINKS: Click Here…Click Here…and Click Here Again

Four Color Buttons each with the message Click HereWhen you use generic text like “Click Here” or “Read More” as instructions in link text, it is confusing because it says nothing about the content that will appear once the link is clicked.

Remember: link targets are read out loud by screen readers.

Another thing to note: Individuals using screen readers tab from one link to the next.

Tabbing between links labeled “click here” sounds like “click here, tab, click here, tab, click here”.

REMEDIATION: Change the link text so it is an explanation of the target content. This will make more sense when read by a screen reader.

EXAMPLE:

Original Instruction Text: Click here
Revised Instruction Text: Click here to read the latest news

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE FORMS: Don’t Forget to Use Explicit Form Field Labels

Sample HTML form fields with labels

Did you know that most screen readers don’t recognize placeholder values in form fields?

Your website visitors who use screen readers navigate through your forms using the Tab key. The <label> elements are used by screen readers to announce/identify each form control and the type of info to be collected. Placeholder text is bypassed by the screen reader. Plus placeholders are usually more difficult to read by sighted visitors due to color contrast issues.

Example:

White email <label> vs. dark grey “enter your email address” placeholder:

Email form field placeholder text

Use Explicit Form Control Labels

An “explicit” label is created using the HTML label element with a “for” attribute that has the same value as the matching input “id” attribute.

Here is an example:

<label for=”firstname”>First Name: </label>
<input type=”text” name=”first_name” id=firstname”>

The label “for” and the input “id” attributes can be used with any of the form fields: text inputs, text area, select menus, check boxes and radio buttons.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The “id” attribute for each form element in a document must be unique.

[RESOURCE]

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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FORMS: Accessible Select Menu – Get the Code

Select box - website elements - web design UI

Select menus with more than 11 options should be coded with option groups and labels in order to be accessible.

Here’s the code:

<form>
<label for=”favfood”>Choose your favorite food</label>
<select name=”favfood”>
<optgroup label=”Fruit”>
<option value=”1″>Apples</option>
<option value=”2″>Oranges</option>
<option value=”3″>Pears</option>
<option value=”4″>Bananas</option>
</optgroup>
<optgroup label=”Bread”>
<option value=”5″>Sourdough</option>
<option value=”6″>Wheat</option>
<option value=”7″>Rye</option>
<option value=”8″>White</option>
</optgroup>
<optgroup label=”Entree”>
<option value=”9″>Beef</option>
<option value=”10″>Chicken</option>
<option value=”11″>Fish</option>
</optgroup>
<optgroup label=”Cheese”>
<option value=”12″>American</option>
<option value=”13″>Swiss</option>
</optgroup>
</select>
</form>

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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TOOLS: Testing for Color Blindness Accessibility

Types of color blindness. Eye color perception. Vector illustration on isolated background.

According to the National Eye Institute, there are three main kinds of color blindness, based on photopigment defects in the three different kinds of cones that respond to blue, green, and red light. Red-green color blindness is the most common, followed by blue-yellow color blindness. A complete absence of color vision —total color blindness – is rare.

Most Common: Red-Green Color Blindness

The most common types of hereditary color blindness are due to the loss or limited function of red cone (known as protan) or green cone (deutran) photopigments. This kind of color blindness is commonly referred to as red-green color blindness.

Protanopia: In males with protanopia, there are no working red cone cells. Red appears as black. Certain shades of orange, yellow, and green all appear as yellow. Protanopia is an X-linked disorder that is estimated to affect 1 percent of males.

Deuteranopia: In males with deuteranopia, there are no working green cone cells. They tend to see reds as brownish-yellow and greens as beige. Deuteranopia is an X-linked disorder that affects about 1 percent of males.

Photoshop Testing Resource

Adobe Photoshop allows you to view protanopia and deuteranopia versions of your images. With the image to be tested open in Photoshop, select View → Proof Setup > Color Blindness – Protanopia-type to activate the Protanopia test. Select View → Proof Setup > Color Blindness – Deuteranopia-type to activate the Deuteranopia test.

Photoshop menu open to View → Proof Setup to test an image for color blindness

Make Use of  This Excellent Online Tool

Take the Corblindor Coblis (Color Blind Simulator) for a spin to see how an individual with a color vision handicap will visually interpret your images.

As all the calculations are made on your local machine, no images are uploaded to the server. Therefore you can use images as big as you like, there are no restrictions. Be aware, there are some issues for the “Lens feature” on Edge and Internet Explorer. All others should support everything just fine.

Screenshot of Corblindor Coblis (Color Blind Simulator)

Additional Resource:

Read Alex O’Neal’s excellent article Beautiful, accessible traffic light colors

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ONLINE TOOL: Export Microsoft Excel Data to Accessible Responsive HTML Tables

Excel - preparation of a balance sheet

Need to export Excel data to accessible HTML tables?

Make use of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences’ Convert Excel Tables to HTML tool.

Simply cut and paste data from Excel, add captions and summary text, then convert it all to accessible HTML table code.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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