Creating Accessible Documents

AccessAbility Services Creating Accessible Documents

Accessible documents are those that can be read by a screen reader for a student who is blind or vision impaired. Students with learning disabilities, motor neuron disorders or psychiatric conditions may also use screen readers to help with concentration.

Accessibility and the Law

In Australia, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) makes it unlawful to design web pages that are not accessible to people with a disability.

The Australian Human Rights Commission is responsible for assisting organisations to comply with the legislation outlined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 Section 24 (DDA). The Commission has indicated that Australian organisations will best meet their legal obligations by following the design guidelines specified in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG).

The Commission has also said that publishing information in formats such as PDF or Flash, without providing an accessible alternative, may lead to complaints of discrimination.

For more information, see the Advisory notes on web accessibility on the Commission’s website.

How to Create Accessible Documents for LearnJCU

Click here to learn about creating accessible documents via the CATS website.

Accessible PDFs

There are two different kinds of PDF: (1) text PDF, and (2) image PDF. Text PDFs are accessible (i.e. they can be read by a screen reader), while image PDFs are inaccessible. Image PDFs when selected with the mouse will select the whole page as an image. Text PDFs can be selected sentence by sentence.

How to create an accessible PDF:

  1. Open the PDF in Adobe Professional. If you do not have Adobe Professional please send the document to AccessAbility Services Townsville or AccessAbility Services Cairns for formatting.

  2. In Adobe Professional select Documents from the top menu bar.

  3. Scroll down to OCR text recognition and select Recognise text using OCR.

  4. Select all pages. Click OK.

  5. Check the document by selecting a sentence to ensure it is a text PDF.

“Accessible design is the right thing to do.”