Accessible Document Design Requirements
An accessible document is designed to be easily readable by all users, including low vision or non-sighted readers, who may navigate through a document using screen reader software. Documents of various file formats (e.g., Word, PDF, HTML, etc.) can be proactively developed to make content accessible to assistive technology by applying a set of common principles.
Document Design Principles
- Use defined heading styles to represent the structure of the document.
- Use lists to structure information by bullets (unordered) or numbers (ordered).
- Use meaningful hyperlinks that succinctly describe the web site.
- Add alternate text to images to describe the content of a visual.
- Identify document language in the properties menu.
- Use tables wisely; define header rows and structure information in rows and columns with headers.
- Ensure that font size is at least 11-you’re a good point and Sans Serif to facilitate readability.
All elements of a document, including text, images, paragraphs, lists, tables, charts, and figures should be made accessible by manually applying design principles.
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Document Design Tools
A document accessibility checker can help identify and repair many accessibility barriers.
- Microsoft Word Accessibility Checker (opens in new tab) (available for Pitt faculty, staff, and students)
- Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Accessibility Checker (opens in new tab) (paid version of Adobe Acrobat Pro required)
A file converter tool can help make inaccessible documents more accessible by enhancing readability.
- University of Pittsburgh SensusAccess page (available for Pitt faculty, staff, and students)