Guidelines For Document Accessibility

One of the many things I do in my day-to-day tasks is to help my work colleagues learn how to create more accessible digital content. IE, Word documents, PowerPoint Presentations, Excel Spreadsheets, PDFs; you get the idea. Perhaps, what many of you may not know is that there is a document accessibility guideline out there called Clear Print. You can find more info on the Clear Print guideline in
this PDF document.

Following these guidelines will indeed generate a more readable document, but if best practices for an accessible document aren’t known by the author, then accessibility might still be an issue.

I’d like to point the reader to an essential document accessibility tool from our friends at Vision Australia. It’s a free Microsoft Word add-on that will add an accessibility toolbar to the ribbon. It does neat things like when you add an image to your document via the toolbar, it will direct you to add alt text. Alt text is an image description which access technology relies on to share information about the image to its user. You can also choose headings, paragraph styles, lists and even a table creation feature that steps you through a process which enhances the table’s accessibility. But, instead of me singing its praises, why not try it out for yourself. I’ve unleashed it on 2 of my work colleagues and they’ve enjoyed the ease of use and how it groups all that is accessibility under 1 toolbar. You can check it out here:

Document Accessibility Toolbar
Now, if only they could come up with toolbars for other Microsoft products.

Finally, always remember to run the Accessibility checker found under the file menu, Info Tab. It will give you pointers on what may be an accessibility issue within your document.

About mcourcel

I work within the Information Technology industry. More precisely, within the accessibility field. Oddly enough, I'm trying out WordPress to evaluate its ease of use and just to tinker with various topics of my choosing.
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