You need to consider accessibility any time you communicate information digitally. This means thinking about more than just websites, apps, and social media. PDFs and slide presentations are two common digital documents that can be made accessible using best practices from web accessibility.
PDF documents are accessible when built to interact with screen readers like a web page. If they don’t have alt-text, logical heading structures, and readable text, they’re not accessible.
One of the easier ways is to create an accessible PDF document is to build it in Word and save it as a PDF, selecting any options to export for electronic distribution or accessibility. This will guarantee the PDFs text is legible by screen readers.
To find out if a PDF document can be read by screen readers, try selecting specific text within the document with your cursor. If you can select specific letters and words, then it can be read by a screen reader.
Other elements that enhance PDF accessibility include:
- images with alt-text,
- proper heading structures, and
- tables of contents.
These are even more crucial for longer documents.
Slide presentations built in programs like PowerPoint are often distributed digitally, and need to be formatted accessibility.
When creating a presentation or deck, be sure to use:
- alt-text for images,
- high color contrast,
- accessible fonts, like Arial, Tahoma or Verdana,
- minimum font size of 14 points, and
- small blocks of text.
And remember, if you’re going to include a video in a presentation (or at an event), make sure it has captions and audio descriptions.