Documents Accessible to People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

The European Directive 2016/2012 of 26 October 2016 requires that all documents and forms, downloadable and published on existing public sector websites after 23 September 2018, be made “accessible” at latest by 23 September 2020. In addition, any document of this type published on new public sector websites (those published after 23 September 2018) must be accessible no later than 23 September 2019 (Article 12 (3)). Digital accessibility is a fundamental right of every citizen, including via the internet. Achieving accessible PDF is therefore part of an inclusive global approach for the general public and all your stakeholders.

The accessibility of PDF documents offers many advantages: A wider audience: a document made accessible to the disabled may be consulted by all, including people with visual impairments, without having to make any graphic and ergonomic concessions.

When we begin to consider how to provide accessible documents to people who are blind or visually impaired, one of the first steps is to decide which formats will be offered. Unlike documents for sighted people who need legibly printed texts that are appealing in their presentation, blind or visually impaired people have needs that relate to what level of reading vision they have, what assistive technologies they will use, and where they will need to access the information. You may simply decide to offer large print, braille, and cassette tape, as outlined in various regulations; however, combining one or two of these formats with an electronic document type can allow for maximum flexibility and some cost-savings.

To help you comply with these regulations, we have developed an innovative technology solution: e-Accessible-PDF, which renders PDF documents “accessible”, at an ultra-competitive cost. Whether you are in the non-profit sector or the private sector, this solution allows you to expand your audiences and make them more inclusive for people with disabilities.

As many as 10% of the population in Europe have some form of visual impairment. Besides those who suffer from blindness or partial sight, there are others who experience vision disorders resulting from sensory, cognitive or motor disabilities. Our mission is to breakdown digital access barriers by making information on the Internet accessible to all, including this large segment of the population. In this regard, international standards have been ratified according to the WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) standard. EU Legislation thereon has also been adopted and with the use of effective innovative technologies, it is possible to surf the Internet with specialized software using speech synthesizer or braille.

There are many different types of vision loss, but this includes people whose visual acuity of the best eye and after correction is between 1 / 20th and 3 / 10th or whose field of view is equal to or less than 20°. They use tools for character magnification or speech synthesis. According to WHO, about 1.3 billion people in the world, have some form of visual impairment. In Europe, the statistics show that almost 10% are affected. These figures include people with blindness, low vision, cognitive and motor impairments. The majority of these individuals are over 50 years old. With the growing and ageing of the population, coupled with a greater prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s), the WHO estimates that the number of visually impaired is expected to double by 2050.

For many years we have developed and improved our accessibility and PDF tagging techniques and now have developed a proprietary solution to accelerate the production of Ultra Accessible PDFs. This allows us to produce on a fast turnaround and at competitive costs quality PDFs. We have customers around the world, public or private companies, and meet the international standards defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), such as ADA, Section 508, WCAG 2.0 AA, HHS and PDF / UA. We are able to produce various accessible documents such as PDF, documents from the Microsoft range (word, Excel, Power point) or Epubs. See extra details at Image retouching –

Unfortunately, PDF, Word, Excel or PPT documents, which are widely integrated on websites, are rarely adapted to these tools. Our role is to render these documents accessible for processing by reading software so that they can be vocalized in the correct reading order. A blind or visually impaired person can use a “screen reader” to vocalize what is appearing on the screen. There are two main screen readers for desktop computers using Windows: JAWS and NVDA. In addition to reading the elements out loud present on the screen, these screen readers offer a wide range of keyboard shortcuts to navigate through the content with greater ease. Although not free, JAWS is the most popular and most commonly used because it is more advanced in terms of functionality and assistance.

For screen readers to read a PDF document effectively, the document must have an underlying logical structure and reading order. This logical structure and reading order use behind-the-scenes elements called tags, which a PDF author adds to the document. Tags define the intended reading order of the content on each page. Screen readers rely on these tags to present text in a way that makes sense when someone is hearing the text read out loud. The tags allow a screen reader to interpret page elements such as headings, sidebars, tables, and multi-column text.

One of the most important steps you can take to simplify the process of creating accessible documents is to make certain, during each phase of composition, that those who are developing the document use word processing software properly. Assuring that this happens may be difficult when several individuals work collaboratively on a project, so designating someone to review a document for inconsistencies could be helpful. Clearly, these concerns about correctly word-processed texts only apply to the creation of large print, braille, and electronic documents.

What are the benefits of the Accessible PDFs we produce ?

– PDFs that meet the following standards PDF / UA, ADA, Section 508, WCAG 2.0 AA, HHS…
– Documents validated through user tests
– Accessible PDFs directly utilisable
– Quick production turnaround
– A fast and customized service

For your users :

– More user-friendly navigation
– The ability to convert text to voice
– Reading on different media (tablets, mobile, screen magnifiers)
– Replacing mouse actions with keyboard combinations
– The possibility of searching in images
– A help to navigation

Electronic files may be read using a refreshable braille display attached to a computer, using a portable note-taker, or using synthetic speech. Synthetic speech may be built into a portable note-taker, or it may be produced using software and a voice synthesizer installed on a computer. Basically, a blind person who uses synthetic speech is able to hear all of the textual information that is displayed on a sighted person’s screen. Electronic files can be distributed to blind people on World Wide Web pages, by e-mail, on diskettes, or on compact discs. Sometimes, producing an accessible electronic document can give the user the most flexibility since an electronic file can be searched, reviewed, and manipulated. For french visitors see more info at pdf accessible.