How to make a document accessible

My last post was about how to check if a document is accessible. If you find that you are regularly getting issues flagged up when you do such checks, it can be frustrating. It’s time-consuming to fix these and as a content designer it is likely that you would rather be creating some lovely html content instead.

You could say “Sorry, this document does not meet the required WCAG 2.0 level AA requirements. I will need you to go and fix this before we can publish it.” But, i’m not sure how well that will work for you. For many people (me included) I suspect their reaction would be along the lines of, “What does that even mean?! What do you want from me?!”

As content designers we are used to explaining things clearly, directly and being action focused. When dealing with the accessibility of documents, we should be no different. My theory is that if you clearly share and explain what is being checked and some tips on how to be accessible, you are more likely to get accessible documents sent to you. This will save everyone time.

I’ve been looking into this a bit. Here you can find common accessibility errors for Excel, PowerPoint, Word and PDF documents and how to address these.

Excel spreadsheet

The Microsoft Office site has a useful guide on how to make your Excel spreadsheets accessible.

It covers why and how to make the following parts accessible

  • visual elements
  • hyperlink text and ScreenTips
  • naming of sheets and tabs
  • table structure and column headers

PowerPoint presentation

The Microsoft Office site has a useful guide on how to make your PowerPoint presentations accessible.

It covers why and how to make the following parts accessible

  • visual elements
  • order and layout of slides
  • hyperlink text and ScreenTips
  • use of colour
  • slide titles
  • table structure
  • font size
  • videos

Word document

The Microsoft Office site has a useful guide on how to make your Word documents accessible.

It covers why and how to make the following parts accessible

  • visual elements
  • hyperlink text and ScreenTips
  • use of colour
  • headings and styles
  • table structure

PDF

You will probably be creating a document in another programme and converting it to PDF. For this reason it is important to make the initial document accessible by following the guidance above.

The next most important step is to properly convert the document to a PDF. I have found it’s surprisingly easy to get this bit wrong.

Use the links below to find out how to properly convert a document to PDF.



 

Would love to hear your content thoughts on this ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s