Testing PDF Accessibility

Jacqui van Teulingen - AGIMO
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Recently Adobe ran a series of education sessions for public servants in Canberra about optimising PDF documents for accessibility. AGIMO has published the Adobe presentations on the Web Guide to ensure agencies have access to these materials. Building accessibility into documents is essential, however testing for accessibility is an important part of ensuring the highest levels of accessibility are met. We recently came across an interesting paper presented at the 2011 CSUN conference which provided a Comparison of PDF Testing Tools.

The paper examined nine tools for testing a number of important elements of PDF documents and concluded that, while automated testing is an essential part of accessibility testing, all the tools reviewed were limited. The paper recommended the use of multiple tools as they have different strengths – in particular the use of EGovMon PDF Checker and the PDF Accessibility Checker. However, the paper also stressed the importance of manually checking the accessibility of elements such as tables, lists, and headings, and also the reading order. We hope agencies find this comparison useful in expanding their accessibility testing toolkits. The paper can be accessed at http://presentations.cita.illinois.edu/2011-03-csun/pdf/tools.php.


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Last updated: 01 August 2016