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Portable Document Format (PDFs), video files and other downloads are inaccessible according to the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 1.0, because they require a plugin to the browser in order to access the information. There are methods that can make the actual PDF or video file available to certain people with disabilities (for example, creating tagged PDFs and adding audio descriptions to video files), however even if these documents are created in an accessible way the information still will not conform to the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The only way to make information within a PDF accessible is to create an equivalent HTML version.
There will be people who won't be able to access the PDF because:
Checkpoint 1.1 requires that a text equivalent is provided for all non-text elements. As well as PDFs, further examples of non-text elements include:
Prior to downloading a PDF, the user needs to know certain information, such as the format of the file, the type of program required to access it, the size and summary of the file and an estimated download time.
Every PDF file should include the following information:
The State Budget page on the Department of Education web site contains a PDF version of the Victorian State Budget. The page contains summary information as well as details on the size of the document.
You can download the “ Budget Highlights PDF” file (4 pages, 397 KB, approx 4 min download on a 56K modem) or view the “HTML version of Budget Highlights”.
The State Government has tabled the 2006-07 Budget Statement which delivers an additional $1.2 billion to Victoria's education and training system.
This Budget invests in new schools and school infrastructure, literacy skills and delivering a world-class training system. It also recognises the added expense to families when their children begin primary or secondary school.
The 2006-07 Budget initiatives will play an important role in continuing to build the State's education and training system which in turn will build a better future for all Victorians.
Each PDF should have an equivalent HTML version that includes all the text, images, diagrams and references of the original PDF. Where necessary, this HTML equivalent should also include links and ALT attributes as well as other markup where required. When creating an equivalent of a very large PDF it is sometimes preferable to break the HTML equivalent into several pages, linked via a Table of Contents.
Document Solutions has created a guide to developing accessible PDFs in Acrobat 7.0:
This initial page contains information about the guide, a link to the PDF version:
and a link to the HTML equivalent:
This HTML equivalent includes a Table of Contents:
This Table of Contents links to various sub-sections of the guide. Each sub-section is an individual web page, for example “Working With Popular Applications to Create Accessible PDF Files“:
In addition to these navigation elements there is also an Index page which contains links to relevant issues within the guide, organised alphabetically:
To further assist in navigating the HTML equivalent, each page has the following links, available at the bottom of each page:
It is important to always provide contact details in case users have trouble with the PDF. Users may also have difficulty with the PDF format or request a tagged PDF. When providing contact details make sure you include:
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