Are You Creating Inaccessible PDF Documents?

As we make education accessible to everyone, we need to be aware of creating barriers due to having inaccessible items in our courses.  A major source of frustration for disabled students, especially those using a screenreader, is a “photocopied” page of text.  To a screenreader this looks like an image – a picture with no words.  There is an adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, but not in this case.

Left side image says, "This is what you want your students to read" and has visible text.  Right side image is blank and says, "This is what the screenreader sees."

In most cases what we have is a PDF file that does not have text, but has been saved as an image. One way to know for sure if you have this issue in your course is to go to the file, and try to select text using your mouse. If you can’t select any of the text, then you have an image file, which is not accessible.

Here is a 22 minute video that gives you information on making PDFs accessible.

In case you have a section of the video that you want to immediately explore, here are links:

If you still need more information on Accessible PDFs, I found that a great resource is Indiana University’s “Accessible PDF document resources” page.  

I hope you found this week’s Faculty Learning Corner informative.  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!