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Make sure PDFs are accessible

At DCJ, every PDF that we publish online or send electronically should be accessible. This means that a PDF will have, at minimum:

  • the correct heading structure
  • text alternatives for images
  • a document title
  • the language identified
  • the correct colour contrast levels in use
  • hyperlinks that are displayed with meaningful text – apply the link to the text, avoid repetitive text such as ‘Read more’ and avoid long web links/URLs
  • a table of contents, linking to the correct sections of the document
  • bullet points for the presentation of information in lists
  • no nested tables and – where possible – no merged, split or blank table cells
  • tables with header rows that have been specified
  • full accessibility checks performed in Adobe Acrobat
  • a manual reading order check to ensure that the content flows correctly when read out by a screen reader.

However, even if we perform the checks above, we don’t rely on PDF alone. This is largely because:

  • Not all versions of all screen readers read out PDFs consistently.
  • PDF does not currently have accessibility support on mobile devices.

Find out more about the criteria for providing alternatives to PDF here.

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Last updated: 28 Feb 2020