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Creating Accessible Documents 101


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This presentation addresses the basics of digital accessibility for online documents as well as addresses how to start developing a campus-wide plan for addressing document accessibility at a university. This presentation was originally given at the Omni Update User Training Conference in April 2019 and was re-formatted for a poster presentation at the High Ed Web conference in October 2019.

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Creating Accessible Documents 101

  1. 1. Creating Accessible Documents 101: Developing a campus-wide plan for addressing document accessibility Rebekah Wright| Southwest Baptist University
  2. 2. - Creating accessible PDFs starts with accessible source documents - Procedure change: Ask for the document instead of PDF when place a document on the website - Send back accessible version of document to original owner - Re-train yourself The Basics of Document Accessibility MY LIGHT BULB MOMENT
  3. 3. • Use Styles tab in Word to create headings rather than using font options (i.e. bold, underline, etc.) • Customize the heading options with your institution’s fonts, colors, etc. • Always use headings in proper nesting order Document Accessibility 101: Heading Styles CUSTOMIZE STYLES OPTIONS TO MATCH BRANDING
  4. 4. • Input appropriate alternative text for images in Word • These will remain intact with the image when properly converted to a PDF • Do not rely just on images (or colors) to convey necessary information Document Accessibility 101: Images ADD ALTERNATIVE TEXT IN SOURCE DOCUMENT
  5. 5. • Word will automatically generate a hyperlink when you enter a full URL • These are not aesthetically pleasing and they cause issues for screen readers • Change the “Text to Display” field to something meaningful and descriptive of the link’s purpose or function Document Accessibility 101: Links USE MEANINGFUL LINK TEXT
  6. 6. • Accessible tables require a clear table structure and table headers • Do not use tables for layout purposes • You can use the Columns option in the Layout tab instead Document Accessibility 101: Data Tables ONLY USE TABLES FOR DATA, NOT LAYOUT
  7. 7. • Microsoft Office includes built-in accessibility checker • Run this tool to discover accessibility errors and warnings • Also provides helpful tips for making repairs • Use this checker before converting to PDF Document Accessibility 101: Checker Tool USE BUILT-IN ACCESSIBILITY CHECKER TOOL IN WORD
  8. 8. • Use “Acrobat” tab in Word • Do not just “Save as…” or “Print to PDF” • Make sure add-in is enabled • Recommended: Latest version of Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat Professional DC Document Accessibility 101: Converting to PDF USE PROPER TECHNIQUE FOR CONVERTING TO PDF
  9. 9. • Overwhelmed just thinking about the number of PDFs on our main website • Faculty rely heavily on documents and are often resistant to change • How do I even know what needs to be done? And where do I even start? • Disclaimer: This is a work in progress! progress! Creating a Plan WHERE DO YOU EVEN START??
  10. 10. • Identify key players and form a digital accessibility committee • Make a list of your institution’s digital assets • Identify potential accessibility issues for each asset • Gather examples from other colleges and universities Creating a Plan: Initial Steps SOMETIMES GETTING STARTED IS THE HARDEST PART
  11. 11. • Adaptive versus Technical Change • Technical change = requires you to do something differently • Adaptive change = requires you to think differently about what you’re doing • Define digital accessibility and why it is important for your institution • People need motivation for change • Sense of moral responsibility Creating a Plan: Adaptive vs Technical Change PEOPLE NEED PROPER MOTIVATION
  12. 12. • What policies or procedures can change to help prioritize accessibility? • Quick change we were able to implement • Technology Impact Statement • Updated policy on technology procurement • Includes accessibility analysis and requires obtaining VPAT from vendor when assessing possible new technology Creating a Plan: Procedure Changes LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE
  13. 13. • Research what other schools have done • Determine resources and training needed for addressing the accessibility of digital assets • Dream big – you won’t get it if you don’t ask for it! • Prioritize and draft a rough timeline • Identify possible avenues for training/awareness • Present a proposed implementation plan and get buy-in from executive leadership Creating a Plan: Identify Next Steps WHERE ARE WE AT AND WHERE DO WE NEED TO BE?
  14. 14. • Audit your site and make a comprehensive list of PDFs and other electronic documents • Can any of these be presented in HTML instead? • Run an accessibility checker on each document to identify errors and warnings • Prioritize • Start with “low-hanging fruit” • Generate templates for future use • Take time to explain reasons for change Creating a Plan: Addressing Documents TACKLING THE PDF CRISIS
  15. 15. • Academia respects expertise – get training! • WebAIM • Lynda • Siteimprove free online courses • Practice what you preach • Always make your documents accessible – even if they are for your eyes only • Contagious enthusiasm • Talk about accessibility incessantly • Befriend the Disability Services office Advocate for Accessibility IT STARTS WITH YOU
  16. 16. • Identify possible accessibility advocates across campus • Some will be obvious (i.e. online education) • Notice others who seem to “get it” when you talk about need for accessibility • Equip your advocates • Share training resources • Provide accessible document templates • Help them learn how to talk about this with others in their areas • Share your story through one-on-one conversations Advocate for Accessibility: Bring Others Along IDENTIFY AND EQUIP OTHER ACCESSIBILITY ADVOCATES
  17. 17. • What has worked (or not worked) at your institution? • Who have proven to be valuable accessibility advocates on your campus? • What have been helpful training resources for you? “Don’t give up; don’t ever give up!” THIS IS A NEVER-ENDING EFFORT