Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Creating Accessible PDFs With Adobe InDesign

AccessibleWeb - Creating Accessible PDFs With Adobe InDesign
January 22, 2015, Rick Ells
  • Making Them Right to Begin With
    • Making a PDF accessible after it has been created is difficult, sometimes impossible
    • Use the capabilities of your publishing program to enable it to generate accessible PDFs
  • What Assistive Technology Needs
    • Language
    • Structure
    • Flow
    • Tagged Text
    • Headers
    • Alt text for graphics
  • The InDesign-to-Accessible-PDF Workflow
    • In InDesign
      • Define paragraph styles, including headers
      • Paragraph Styles mapped to Export Tags
      • Thread text into a flow
      • Anchor images in text flow
      • Give images alt text
      • Create any bookmarks, table of contents, hyperlinks, or cross-references
      • Define content order in Articles panel
      • Add file metadata
    • In Adobe Acrobat Pro
      • Assign language
      • Set tab order to Use Document Structure
      • Run Accessibility Check and do further tweaks as needed
    • The advantage of this workflow is that you are setting up structure, order and alt texts in InDesign, and then simply using that document structure, rather than trying to define that structure in Adobe Acrobat. From personal experience I can say that doing all that in Acrobat is very difficult.
  • Why InDesign Generated PDFs Are Often Not Very Accessible
    • InDesign is essentially a graphical layout engine with lots of additional abilities. It is easy to create blocks of text and place graphics, move them around, and create a reasonably good looking layout without thinking about styles, text flow, alt texts or content order. The temptation is to just do the layout, generate the PDF, and go on to the text project.
    • The steps to improve accessibility of PDFs are just good professional practice for an InDesign user. Defining styles, and applying them as text is entered, ensures consistent presentation of text. Threading text into flows makes it simpler to adjust how text is presented as various layouts are considered.
    • The hardcopy orientation of InDesign and its very flexibility tempt the designer into layouts that will be difficult to make intelligible with assistive technology. For example, a document layout that has independent text flows breaking across multiple pages is going to be hard to navigate and follow for a person using a voice browser.
  • Setup Paragraph Styles
    • Type -> Paragraph Styles brings up the window for defining paragraph styles and group of styles
    • Clicking on each paragraph style will bring up the Paragraph Style Options, with has menus for setting fonts, spacing, indents, and much more for the style
    • You can create a paragraph style group by clicking on the little folder icon on the bottom margin of the window. Then you create your styles into that group. Typically, you would define all the styles you expect to use in a project in a group.
    • At least you should define the following styles: Paragraph, Header 1, Header 2, and Header 3
  • Set Export Tagging for Each Paragraph Style
    • For each style, go to Paragraph Style Options -> Export Tagging
    • Set export tagging for both PDF by selecting the appropriate tag from the drop down list. It would be a good idea to also select the appropriate tag for export to EPUB and HTML at the same time.
  • Thread Text Blocks Into a Flow
    • Connect the out port from each text block to the in port of the following text block
    • Defining the flow helps define the linear structure of the text in the document
  • Anchor Graphics in the Text Flow
    • The simplest way to do this to simply drag and drop the graphic into the appropriate location in the text flow
  • Give Each Graphic Alt Text
    • Select the graphic, go to Object -> Object Export Options
    • If the graphic is purely decorative and contains no meaningful content, leave the text field blank for each of the types of alternative text (Alt Text, Tagged PDF, and EPUB and HTML)
    • If the graphic has meaning, enter the appropriate text in the alternative text field for each type of export.
  • Export the Document to a PDF File
    • File -> Export... , then select Save As Type to "Adobe PDF (Interactive)"
    • Be sure the "Use Structure for Tab Order" option is checked in the Export to Interactive PDF window.
  • Final Steps in Adobe Acrobat Pro
    • Set the document language by going to File -> Properties -> Advanced -> Reading Options
    • Review and tweak the reading order with the TouchUp Reading Order tool at View -> Tools -> Accessibility -> Accessibility right column menu
  • Resources
    • Penn State: InDesign Accessibility - http://accessibility.psu.edu/indesign
    • Adobe: InDesign Accessibility - http://wwwimages.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/accessibility/products/indesign/pdfs/indesign-cs55-accessibility-whitepaper.pdf

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Setting and Achieving Doable Accessibility Goals


AccessibleWeb@U - May 22, 2014

  • Meet Hadi Rangin
    • Studied computer science at University of Karlsruhe in Network Management
    • Studied Computer Science and human computer interface at Oregon State University
    • Spent last 25 years working on IT accessibility
    • Worked for the past 10 years with University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
    • Recently hired by UW-IT Accessible Technology
  • Components of web accessibility
    • three components
      • application framework
      • content
      • assistive technology
    • All components must work together to get the job done
    • Accessibility is a chain with interconnected rings/path with many possible barriers
  • Web Accessibility problems we are facing
    • Websites/application developed by our on-campus developers
    • Content created by various entities, departments, or people
    • Third-party applications purchased from various vendors
      • Applications we are using here at the UW do not give positive experiences
  • Problems with publishing content
    • Publishing on the web is very easy
    • People publish content without knowing anything about HTML; they use the technology at their disposal
    • Documents often published as images, inaccessible PDFs, Word, Flash, other proprietary formats
    • Content creators do not have formal training in creating accessible content
      • Accessible design is often not included in the curriculum of college courses
  • Problems with locally developer websites/applications
    • Website/application developers do not have any formal training in universal design
    • Accessibility is not on their radar
    • They do not know about accessibility of the technology they use.
    • Not every developer follows Best Practices
    • Not many developers know how to test for accessibility
      • Do not know which tools to use to test, or how to use them
  • Problems with third-party applications
    • There is no formal accessibility requirement for purchasing a product
    • Administrators/purchasing officers are not aware of accessibility or not comfortable with it
    • VPATS (Volunteer Product Accessibility Template) are misleading and confusing
    • No formal verification of accessibility claims
    • No fully accessible product in the market
  • Accessibility versus usability
    • Most problems we are facing are usability issues
    • Keyboard accessibility, focus management (so you can tell where focus is)
    • Examples
      • Focus location indication often turned off
      • Submitting a form with no confirmation/verification
      • ProctorU (http://www.proctoru.com) provides proctored online testing, but forms do not provide confirmation messages
    • Accessibility is much more than a touch-up or after the fact fix
    • No magic automated testing tool that can fix all problems
    • Accessibility must be considered in design, implementation and quality assessment
    • Accessibility is free if you consider it from the beginning
    • The after-the-fact approach is wishy-washy, incomplete, and too expensive
  • Collective approach
    • Bottom-up approach; begin with you, the people who make the stuff
    • Collaborating with the developers
    • Collaborating with content creators
    • Top-down approach; work with decision makers at the same time
    • Collaborating with administrators and vendors
  • Collaborating with developers
    • UW-IT Accessible Technology is at your disposal
      • Send email to hadir@uw.edu or danc@uw.edu
    • We can meet in person and help with accessibility considerations of your project during its development phases
    • We can help with accessibility of your templates for your content creators
    • We offer a workshop on accessible design
    • We offer workshop on how to test for accessibility including with screen readers
    • Or just meet and explore with Hadi (coffee provided)
    • Goal: To make you all accessibility experts
    • At Illinois, Hadi conducted developer meetings every Tuesday. People could participate online. Do we want a similar series of meeting here at the UW?
  • Collaborating with Instructors, Instructional Designers, and Content Creators
    • Instructional designers have a key role in accessibility of course contents
    • An online course on "Universal Design for Online Learning" will be offered
    • Customized workshops for departments/colleges will be offered
    • We can meet in person and help with accessibility of the course contents (coffee provided)
    • Goal: To have at least one accessibility expert/liaison in each department
  • Collaborating with Administrators/Vendors
    • Accessibility can sometimes be too abstract
    • Awareness is the key; we need to educate them
      • Often think accessibility is something you do after the fact
    • Accessibility is as important as security and personalization
    • Making accessibility part of their agenda is not easy and takes time
    • Demo of accessibility problems with the application are extremely helpful
    • Support of people managing the product is very essential for vendor collaboration
    • Vendors must be asked for accessibility features in the bidding process
    • Vendors claims must be verified by local experts
      • Identify show-stopper issues; must be fixed before deployment
    • No lip service, please
    • We need to collaborate with vendors on enhancing their applications
      • At Illinois, Hadi had ten years of positive response from vendors
    • Goal: Define and agree on minimum Accessibility Requirements especially for high impact applications
    • Goal: Contractual time-lined agreement with vendor to resolve issues
  • Conclusion
    • Accessibility is an approach
    • Depends on many dynamic factors
    • Very impressed with the level of accessibility support at UW
    • I am positive that we collectively can take UW to the next level
    • Let's develop a roadmap we can all agree on?