Websites are becoming more and more digitally accessible and PDF documents are widely used online. However, this content is often not usable for everyone because it has not been made accessible.
It is possible to make these PDFs accessible, just like web pages. This way you ensure that they can be used by everyone, including people living with a (visual) disability. Inaccessible PDFs are not easy to read by screen readers or reading software. Additionally, Google can better index an accessible document. In this blog I will advise you on how you can make your PDF accessible and what the benefits are.
Making a PDF accessible
If you want to make a PDF accessible it's best to do so from a source file, like in Word. There are a number of important things to keep in mind when creating a PDF file, if you want it to be digitally accessible:
Sufficient color contrasts in a document are necessary for people with a (visual) impairment to be able to read the text. Color contrast is the color difference between the foreground and background. For instance, black on white is a good color contrast. A color contrast of at least 4.5:1 is required.
Do you want to know whether the colors you have chosen contrast well with each other? Then go to this website , fill in the color codes and test it!
Text Alternatives for Informative Images
You can set a text alternative, also called alt text, for images. Make sure the images that convey information, such as a logo or an image with text, have a text alternative that describes the situation in the image.
Ensure proper use of headings, paragraphs, and sub-paragraphs. Tables and enumerations must also be used correctly in order to be recognized by the reading software and therefore to be read in the correct way.
Language of the file
It is important that the language of your (PDF) document is set correctly. This ensures the reading software can read the text in the correct language.
Want to know whether the texts you use are accessible enough? You can read more about it in our blog .
The benefits of an accessible PDF
Creating an accessible PDF can be quite a bit of work, there are a number of major benefits. I have listed them for you below:
- Your documents are digitally accessible in addition to your website. Accessibility will be made mandatory for non-government websites from 2025.
- Your documents are better indexed by search engines, so your website is also easier to find.
- Accessible documents are displayed properly in all browsers.
- You don't exclude anyone, everyone can read the document by means of a screen reader and reading software.
Do you want to know whether your website is digitally accessible or do you want to discuss how you can achieve this? Then contact us!