PDF: Why are Accessible PDFs so much trouble?

It is not that PDF files are meant to be troubling, it is that they were just not made to be accessible in the beginning. 

  • Originally developed (early 1990’s) as an export option, just like a printer
  • Most times, created by scanning a paper document and saving it as an image file
  • Never meant as an editing environment
  • When introduced, the use of Assistive Technology to read a PDF was not widely available

Today, most people who are working with a PDF have received the PDF file directly and face stumbling blocks:

  • They do not have access to the native (pre-PDF) document
  • Unlike HTML, there are no tools that truly report if a PDF document is functionally accessible
  • Most accessibility checkers give you an overview

This area will give you some quick tips in regards to PDF, including some quick-tips when it comes to remediation, and links to resources.