Creating Effective PDF Accessibility Training

Table of Contents

Creating accessible PDF documents is an essential component of most organizations' digital accessibility process. However, organizations often struggle to get their staff trained and efficient at creating accessible PDFs.

Understanding the Importance of PDF Accessibility Training

PDF documents are common across various sectors such as business reports, educational materials, and official documents. Yet, if not adequately formatted for accessibility, they can pose significant hurdles for individuals with visual impairments or other disabilities. The goal of PDF accessibility training is to rectify this by teaching your staff the knowledge to create and design PDFs compatible with assistive technologies.

Access Ingenuity has outlined key steps to streamline the training process, based on our extensive experience. These steps will ensure that your training is thorough, efficient, and targets the important aspects of accessibility.

Identify Your Document Creators and Their Tools

Start by recognizing the document creators within your organization and the types of documents they develop. It's also vital to determine what tools they are using. Are they utilizing MS Word, MS PowerPoint, or Adobe InDesign? Or, are they employing programs like Canva or Google Docs that only offer limited accessibility support?

Determine the Level of Training Needed

Based on your findings, both standard and advanced PDF remediation training may be required.

Standard PDF Accessibility Training

This comprehensive training program is designed for staff members involved in document creation and individuals advocating for digital accessibility. The training covers a wide range of essential topics, including:

  • Understanding the WCAG requirements and their impacts on assistive technology users
  • Real-time demonstration of 'before' and 'after' remediation with a screen reader
  • Insights into how PDF accessibility impacts your organization's documents
  • The creation of accessible templates and training staff on their usage
  • Document structuring for accessibility
  • Conversion to accessible PDFs
  • Testing completed documents for accessibility

Advanced PDF Accessibility Training

This training is ideal for staff creating a wide range of documents and for those championing digital accessibility. It may need to include:

  • Crafting complex PDF tables
  • Creating fillable PDF forms
  • Developing complex alternate text
  • Advanced testing techniques for document accessibility

Develop a Tailored Training Plan

After determining your needs, develop a training plan that aligns with your organization's context:

  • Create accessible templates for commonly used documents such as memos, reports, and presentations.
  • Develop an accessible color palette that adheres to color contrast requirements.
  • Standardize image descriptions for common logos and icons.

Establish an Internal Review Process

Once training is complete, establish an Internal Review Process to build skills and provide feedback:

  • Consider graded homework during the training process.
  • One-on-one document accessibility coaching can be beneficial in enhancing skills.
  • Develop a PDF Accessibility Review Process
  • Form a team of Accessibility Experts - while everyone should contribute to creating accessible documents, having internal experts is advantageous!
  • Consider partnering with accessibility specialists for more complex documents.
  • Conduct Quarterly Best Practice Meetings & Follow-on Training

One Minute Summary

Establishing efficient PDF accessibility training is paramount for creating an inclusive digital world. The process begins with identifying document creators, their tools, and the types of documents they produce. This informs whether standard or advanced PDF remediation training is required.

Standard training encompasses understanding WCAG requirements, demonstrating remediation with a screen reader, comprehending PDF accessibility's impact on documents, creating accessible templates, structuring documents for accessibility, converting to accessible PDFs, and testing completed documents for accessibility.

Advanced training, necessary for key staff and digital accessibility champions, includes creating complex PDF tables, fillable forms, complex alternate text, and advanced document testing.

After determining your organization's needs, develop a tailored training plan, create accessible templates and an accessible color palette, and standardize image descriptions.

Finally, establish an Internal Review Process after training, which includes graded homework, one-on-one coaching, a PDF Accessibility Review Process, a team of Accessibility Experts, collaboration with accessibility partners, and regular Best Practice Meetings. By sticking to these steps, you're paving the way for an accessible digital environment.

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