About the Topic
Thanks to Our Sponsors
About the Meetup
Learn more about WordPress Accessibility Meetup
Watch the Recording
If you missed the meetup or would like a recap, watch the video below or read the transcript. If you have questions about what was covered in this meetup please tweet us @EqualizeDigital on Twitter or join our Facebook group for WordPress Accessibility.
Links Mentioned in This Video
The following resources were discussed or shared in the chat at this Meetup:
- WordPress Accessibility Facebook Group
- Equalize Digital Web Accessibility Resources
- Equalize Digital Focus State Newsletter
- Equalize Digital Website
- Equalize Digital on Twitter
- WordPress Plugin Accessibility Checker
- Empire Caption Solutions Website
- Empire Caption Solutions on Twitter
- Create and verify PDF accessibility (Acrobat Pro)
- PAC 2021
- Google Fonts
- CHAX’s Website
- Adobe InDesign
- Callas Software
- Color Contrast Analyzer
- NVDA Shortcuts for Accessibility Compliance and Usability Testing Form
- Accessibility Unraveled Youtube Channel
- Acrobat Liquid Mode
- Acrobat Phone App
- Find Dax Castro
Read the Transcript
>> AMBER HINDS: I think I’m going to officially get started. I’m going to pin myself for a minute and do a few announcements and then I will introduce Dax and let him take over. Real quick, in case you have not been here before, we do have a Facebook group that you can use to connect between meetups and get questions answered. Talk about WordPress accessibility, and sometimes we talk about other things accessibility related that are not just WordPress. You can find it if you go on Facebook and you search WordPress accessibility, and it will come up. I think we may also have the link in the chat as well.
If you are interested in seeing other upcoming events where you want to watch recordings of past meetups, this is a question that we get asked and I can guarantee you, someone’s going to ask in the chat later today, “Is this being recorded?” The answer is, yes, this is being recorded. It takes us about a week and a half to two weeks to get the recording up because we do fully correct the captions first. You can find all recordings if you go to equalizedigital.com/meetup, and that’s where this recording will be posted.
If you want to get notified via email, then I recommend joining our email list. We send about twice a month and it has upcoming events. It has general accessibility news from around the web and information about the recordings as they’re available. You should theoretically get sent to a thank you page that has an opt-in after the meetup, but if it doesn’t work, if you go to equalizedigital.com/focus-state, then you can subscribe to our newsletter. We are seeking additional sponsors for this meetup, we rely on sponsors to help us cover the cost of both our live captioning and our transcription services.
Currently, our daytime meetup does not have a live caption sponsor, so I’m your sponsor today. [laughs] If your company would be interested in helping to support the meetup and ensure that we can make it as accessible as possible for all of our attendees, please do reach out to us. There’s information on the meetup page about sponsorship, and you can also email us at email@example.com. If you have any other suggestions or anything that we can do to make the meetup work better for you, please also feel free to reach out to us at that email address or via meetup, whatever works better for you.
Who am I? I’m Amber Hinds. I am the CEO of Equalize Digital. We’re a certified B corporation and a WordPress VIP agency partner. We run this meetup as one of the ways that we give back to the community and part of our goal of supporting education in the accessibility space for our B corp certification. We have a plugin for WordPress websites that can help you identify some accessibility problems and reports on them.
Obviously, not all accessibility problems can be found with an automated testing tool, but it can help to find some of the more obvious things and help your content creators make your WordPress websites more accessible. That’s called Accessibility Checker, and you can learn more about it on our website. While we don’t have a live caption sponsor today, we are very grateful to Empire Caption Solutions who is sponsoring and providing their services free to us. After the fact, they take the recording and they create the full transcript and the SRT file for us with fully accurate captions so that our recording afterwards can have accurate captions.
In addition to providing transcription services, they also do live captioning, audio description, ASL interpretation. They’re a great company, we recommend checking them out. You can learn more on their website, empirecaptions.com. We also always like to encourage attendees to tweet a thank you to our sponsors, because that helps to make them realize that people are hearing about them and there’s benefit to sponsoring and makes them want to continue sponsoring. If you’re on Twitter, you can tweet at @EmpireCaption and say thanks to them for sponsoring WordPress accessibility meetup.
We have a couple of upcoming events that I just want to make sure everyone is aware of. Later this month on Monday, August 15th at 7:00 PM Central, Danielle Zarcaro will be talking about making accessible WordPress [inaudible] future of WordPress core. She’s going to be showing WordPress full site editing, there will be some code involved. This will be a little bit more of a developer-friendly meetup, that will be at 7:00 PM Central on August 15th. Then we will have Nick Corbett, I’m pretty sure he’s from Carroll school of the blind, talking about training screen reader user testers on Thursday, September 1st in this same time slot at 10:00 AM.
Then I want to throw out just a quick save the date, WordPress Accessibility Day is a 24-hour conference. It’s going to be November 2nd through 3rd. Our speaker applications are open now through August 8th. If you’re interested in speaking at WordPress Accessibility Day, you can go to wpaccessibility.day, is the website, which sounds weird but that is the URL, and learn more about the conference and apply to speak. We’re also looking for sponsors for that conference as well. I am very excited to introduce our speaker today. Let’s see. I think I am pinning him, maybe, maybe not.
>> DAX CASTRO: You are. You’re good.
>> AMBER: All right. Our speaker, Dax Castro, I had the opportunity to meet him in person finally at AccessU Knowbility’s conference and I was very excited. He is an Adobe-certified PDF Accessibility Trainer and an Accessible Document Specialist with more than 25 years of experience creating presentations for corporate communication. He has a podcast and it’s just a great wealth of knowledge, and we’re very excited to have him here. I’m going to stop sharing my screen and I’m going to let Dax take over.
>> DAX: Awesome. Before I share screen, I’m just so happy that everybody’s joining us today, whether you’re watching this after the fact or you’re live in person with us. Thank you so much for taking an interest in this. I would like to start off by telling you what this session isn’t going to be. It isn’t going to be a how-to. It’s not going to be a session where you’re going to learn a lot of technical aspects. What I wanted to focus this session on is to give you some deductive Q and A, and to give you some empowering answers to questions that I think a lot of people struggle with. I’m hoping that you find good information out about this. I’m going to go ahead and share my screen, and there we are.
All right. Connect with me on LinkedIn, it’s the best way to reach out to me. Our website is accessibilityunraveled.com. Actually, you mentioned screen reader testing. We have a training course, it’s a three-hour testing documents with NVDA. You get a certificate of completion and you get to watch the video. You can go check out more information about that on our website. We walk you through and give you a three-page list of things that you can check for when it comes to testing documents with a screen reader.
Today’s learning objectives, what we want to do is we want to answer the question, what is the risk of not doing accessibility? I’ve got a website, it’s a WordPress site maybe, and I’ve got some documents on here. The question usually is, what’s the problem? What happens if no one is ever really going to say anything? Maybe if they do, what’s my risk, what are the opportunities here? How accessible does it need to be? There’s levels of accessibility and if a document is usable, but there are still some barriers. Does that mean it’s good enough? Do I need to comply with PDF/UA or Section 5O8 or DDA or AODA or wherever you’re from?
What types of content am I going to find inside of a PDF that might be problematic? PDF is not always the best vehicle for delivering information, and we’re going to talk a little bit about that. Then dealing with external content. How do we deal with it when we link to something else? What are the ramifications of providing links to other things that aren’t accessible? Then finally, do I need to keep records for compliance? Then, of course, in Q&A, now we’re going to leave some time at the end for Q&A, but I really like the idea of having an interactive presentation.
As I’m going, if you feel you want to ask a question or stop, stop me, raise your hand, and type it in the chat. Amber will interrupt me because I really feel like full disclosure, as a person with ADHD, my brain is going a mile a minute. Oftentimes in the middle of a presentation, I’ll have the question. At the end of the presentation, I no longer have that question in my brain. I feel it’s beneficial to stop. Also, when we have context and I’m on a slide and we’re talking about a topic, a lot of times other things come up, and I’m totally okay with that. We have a fair amount of time today. I feel like we’re going to be able to get through most of this content.
The first thing I want, hide some of these windows, so I can see my slides. What is the risk of doing nothing? Because who’s checking anyway? You hear the answer sometimes. Well, just fix it when someone complains. Well, the problem with that is that it puts you in reaction mode, and reaction mode usually comes with, “Okay, somebody is complained, we need this done right now.” Now you have to drop everything that you’re doing to make this document compliant. Maybe, you know how to do that, or maybe you don’t. Then the other question is, well, how many PDFs are there? Because here’s the thing, one PDF on your website?
Probably not a big deal that it isn’t accessible because if someone needs it and you have to stop and make that one document accessible, “Okay, maybe you’ve got to give it to someone or pay someone to do it. Or maybe you can fumble through it in a day or two.” But what happens when you have a hundred documents? On our website, chaxchat.com, which is our podcast website, there are about five different cheat sheets you can download on the website, they’re all PDFs. Now imagine they weren’t accessible. All of a sudden people started complaining.
Now I’ve got a bunch of different PDFs that I’ve got to remediate and I’ve got to get back up. It can be daunting. Now times 10, times 100, times 1,000. We’ve got clients that had, talked to clients just the other day. She said we have 6,000 documents on our website that are not compliant. We had a complaint and now we need to make them compliant. How fast can you get that done? That comes to the price tag. That goes, leads to my next one is how much will it cost if you are doing it, that’s costing you time.
It’s also costing you money. If somebody else is doing it, maybe that’s going to cost you all a bigger price tag because you’ve got to get it done quicker. As creators, we can only tell the people that we build websites for. Here’s what the risk is. But I think it’s on us to give them an informed description of what they’re getting into and then let them make the decision. Because honestly, the end result is it’s their decision on what to do. Because they’re the ones who are going to assume the risk.
Now they might point to you and say, “Well, so and so told me,” and my answer to you is document everything whenever you send them something and send it to them in an email, just even if you do a Zoom call, follow up with an email saying, “I just want to make sure we understand each other. I know that we have a bunch of images or maps on our website, and we’re not going to add alt texts to them, blah, blah, blah. I just want to confirm NATA. I’m documenting this to make sure that I cover my butt, blah, blah, blah,” but just a more of a conversation so that something ever comes back to you and says, “Look, my web designer was supposed to tell me this was accessible.”
He didn’t, or she didn’t, or they didn’t. Therefore it’s their fault. They need to do the work you want to cover yourself. There’s lots of things and it’s all reactionary. In the end, it boils down to time and stress money, whether that’s our money that we’re physically giving up or our money in the form of time that we could be billing other people. Now, the one thing that a lot of people don’t really take much they don’t care about in the beginning when it’s not happening, but they do care about it when it happens is bad social attention.
I’m, I don’t know, maybe known for, or have been known to call people out on social media from time to time because I feel like it’s the best way to invoke change. Because it hurts. When someone says, “Look, Togo’s, your boxes are orange text on a brown background. How is that accessible? That’s a problem.” The City of Colorado, they’ve got a bunch of wayfinding maps. You get off the light rail and it’s a yellow text on a silver sign. You can’t see it. It’s like literally almost not visible. It’s those types of things. Sometimes people aren’t aware that they’re making those decisions and they’re really ready to go fix them other times, not so much.
Finally, if you’re in Canada right now and then in the UK, I think it’s coming, but in Canada specifically, you can be fined. Not only can the company you work for be fined, but as a supervisor, if you knowingly create barriers or make content that isn’t accessible, you could be personally fined up to $100,000. It’s got some pretty surprise tax. For companies, if you have more than 50 employees and you are private or public, you are bound by those accessibility rules and you need to make sure that you’re complying or you can face fines that scale. Your first fine is very little, but if you’re a repeat offender, then it goes up to $15,000 per offense. Definitely, there’s some risk there. Let me ask you the question–
>> AMBER: You have one second, Dax. I think our captioner dropped. I turned on lab captioning for a minute, but I think they’re back. Let me switch back.
>> DAX: Sure. I got to figure out how to minimize the top one.
>> AMBER: Let’s make sure that our actual captioning is working.
>> DAX: Yes. Testing 1, 2, 3. All right.
>> AMBER: We’re good.
>> DAX: All right. How accessible do we need to be? We know we need to be accessible, but what does that really mean? I’m at a conference today. I asked a question yesterday in my class, I said, “Okay, who here is checking their document with Adobe Acrobat’s checker?” A couple of people raise their hands, who people who’s and I started asking them, how are they checking to make sure their document’s compliant in the end? A lot of people weren’t checking at all. They were just assuming that when they export the PDF and they did a few things the resulting document was accessible.
Your tools here, we’re going to talk about some of these tools, but acrobat’s checker is a good place to start. It gives you a basic understanding, but like the web tools that are out there, it is not a litmus test of whether or not your document’s accessible. It just gives you some of the low-hanging fruit. PAC 2021, which is the PDF accessibility checker by the PDF Association and allows you to go deeper. It not only checks for some of the surface compliance but also the technical compliance of the actual syntax. Think of it as, almost like an HTML validator for PDFs, it looks at how those structured tags are set up.
Do they conform with conventions that are in accordance with PDF/UA, which is a higher standard or a more technical standard than the web content accessibility guidelines. In PAC 2021 still, have some issues? A lot of times it will give you false failures. When you have white text on a black background, it doesn’t understand sometimes the layer order. For the most part, it does a pretty good job. It gives you a really nice report that you can then give to your client and say, “Here’s where we are.”
Now, the other thing is, some people are testing with a screen meter, and I applaud that. We’re going to talk more about that later, but really the rules are just a way to help us figure out are we making our document usable and how are they using it? They’re using it with a screen reader or they’re using it with a screen magnifier, or maybe they’re just using it with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, or Apple VoiceOver, or whatever tools that they’re using. Are we able to allow them to access the information in a meaningful way?
Testing with a screen reader is a great litmus test. If you don’t understand the accessibility checker, you don’t understand PAC 2021, but you can open a screen reader and literally hit two keys. If you can hit tab and down, you can use a screen reader. Like I said earlier, we have a class testing with NVDA. It’s three hours, and I promise you, by the time you’re done with that class, you will understand how to test your document for the screen reader. To be honest, you don’t really give you some good help on how to test a website for the screen reader as well. When is it good enough? The answer is well, you have to ask yourself a few questions because I hear this all the time in our group. Our Facebook groups has almost 3,000 members. We’re 2,600 or 2,700 members. I get this question a lot where they ask, do I really need to do whatever? Do I really need to set table summaries? Do I really need to describe all the data points of my alt text?
Do I really need to whatever dot, dot, dot fill in the blank and the answer is? What do you want? Are you mediating to a standard? Is it just CAG? We’re just trying to check the box, PDF/UA, do I need it more technical? Is it a AODA, which again, falls back to a CAG. It’s all stems back to a CAG, but maybe it’s the department of health and human services. They have a higher standard where they might require table summaries. It depends on what the standard is. That’s your first question.
Then am I considering usability? Do I really care about how a person’s going to navigate through my form? Because if I do, then the fact that it’s in this really funky table, that doesn’t really give a really good user experience. I probably want to fix that, but if the table’s fine and it’s just two columns and they just used it to associate the name roll value with the actual cell the data cell. It’s okay. It’s about that user experience.
Then of course, should I be testing with a screen reader? My answer to that is I would spot-check with a screen reader. You might start off by testing everything, just to get your sense of how to use a screen reader but eventually, I don’t test everything with a screen reader, but I know to go and test maybe long alt text, that’s got some funky punctuation, or I might test at my tables. I might go through and test some paragraphs and a couple chapters to make sure that they make sense.
Some links give some different you’re spot checking, right? Because I need to make sure that that’s a good user experience because, in the end, we really want to ask ourselves, what is the expected user experience? This honestly is the answer to almost all the questions for what should I do, or how should this read or what are my options for whatever. It’s all goes back to, what do you want? What in your brain do you think you want to happen when that person gets to this map with 50 data points on it? Do you want them to hear all the data points? Do they need to know all that information?
Then maybe a table is a better presentation of that data, or maybe they just need to know that all of the data points are concentrated in a specific area, maps showing tree frog, endangered tree frog, concentration near Sutter Creek. That might be enough. It depends on what you think the user experience should be getting out of that. Maybe you are not the person to ask that question to answer that question, you can ask it, but then you might go back to the original owner, the content creator, and say, “Okay, you have this object in here. What were you hoping the user to get out of it?” Sometimes the answer is, “I don’t know, this was filling space, seemed like a good thing to put in there.”
Other times they have a very specific directive and then your job then is to create that user experience to get that information out to that, right? The answer to this question drives every aspect of document creation and also evaluation for usability and compliance. Not so much compliance, but more usability because a user’s experience can be wildly different depending upon how you create the content and how you present the content. It’s all a balancing act between compliance and usability. Myself, I’m on the usability end.
I honestly and you’ll hear me say this a lot. I don’t care about compliance. Compliance helps me create a good user experience. I need compliance because I want everyone to be using the same set of tools to evaluate whether or not the document meets usability. Really the goal of accessibility in every aspect is to provide a good user experience, a meaningful user experience for whatever digital content it is. If you can walk through, if you knew nothing about the rules, but you knew how to use a screen reader, or you knew how to read captions or you have the ability to receive captions or a transcript, you have all the tools you need.
You have what you need to be able to gauge whether something’s compliant because here’s the thing. No one’s ever going to take you to court or take your client to court and say, “You didn’t comply with 1.3.1 info in relationships.” They’re going to say, “I went to the web page. I couldn’t get through the menu and I couldn’t get to the document I needed to get to, or I open the document and all I hear is blank.” That’s what’s going to happen. They don’t care about the technical rules or the compliance doesn’t meet with CAG or AODA, it’s about is the content accessible to me.
You’ve mentioned, you’ve heard me mention section 508 AODA. People say ADA compliance. I will tell you, there is no such thing as ADA compliance for documents. It’s a pet peeve of mind that I have to let go. The American Disabilities Act says in no way she perform, anywhere in the entire act, anything about documents or website, it talks about equitable experiences and moderate accommodations but we use this term, ADA compliant. I need to make my document ADA compliant. Okay. I get what you mean. It’s like when people say, “Oh, I read it in Adobe. I used Adobe to create that.” You’re like, “Okay, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Acrobat. Oh, Adobe Acrobat.”
It’s like saying, “I drive a Ford.” “Okay. Do you drive a Ford Fiesta, a Ford fair lane or a Ford truck, Ford Mustang?” They’re all different. ADA compliance while I get the understanding of what it is, I would implore you not to use it as a term, section 508 compliance, or CAG compliance, DDA compliance, AODA compliance. Those are standards. Excessively, ADA is an act, it’s not a compliance. Anyway, enough about that.
PDF/UA compliance, there is no agency in the world right now that requires PDF/UA compliance from a written standard. There are lots of agencies who say, “We want a PAC report. We want this accessibility report,” and that’s how we feel safe about whether our document meets compliance or not. While no state or country requires PDF/UA, there are lots of agencies and organizations that say, “This is the standard that we want to meet,” and it’s because they have a more defensible document to say, “Look, we’ve checked all the boxes.
This is more than just our interpretation of this set of rules.”
Then of course the Acrobat checker, no one in here should be using the Acrobat checker as their only means of validating whether or not a document’s compliant. I use it all the time. It’s the very first thing I do when I export a PDF document is I look at it in Acrobat, run the checker and look at what the results are because it lets me know things like, did I miss some alt text? Do I have some links that don’t have alt text with them? Or did I miss a hyperlink that needs an annotation? Lots of ways that it’s useful, but there are also lots of ways that it’s will give you a false negative or a false positive on whether or not your document’s compliant. Of course, PAC, we’ve talked about PAC, we’re going to look at it here in just a little bit.
What are the barriers that we’re trying to overcome? These are the things that you have to consider when we say, if it is something accessible, these are the buckets that we’re trying to validate against. Is it using an accessible font? This is varies and what that is, but when it comes to a document, is it readable? Can I discern what the strokes and letters and characters are? When I’m listening to it in a screen reader, does it voice correctly? Many times you hear Chinese characters or Korean characters, or Arabic characters where they’ve used some font off the fonts, and it’s the wrong, because when you listen to it in the screen reader, you don’t get what you’re expecting to hear.
Maybe you need someone to test that. I suggest the Google fonts are all, have all been vetted very well. You’re really safe with a lot of those fonts but stay away from fonts that are thin in stroke because they are harder to proceed. Serif or sans serif, if there really isn’t any definitive answer, you’ll hear half the people say, “Serif fonts are great. They’re just fine. They help us identify things because of the little legs that they’ve got.” Other people say, “Sans serif fonts are great because they’re very plain and unique.” There’s benefits for both. There’s no real standard.
The National Association for the Blind has some standards on minimum font size, but really that’s about it. Language. Am I using plain language? Is my document encoded with the right language if it’s multiple languages? Many times we see documents that have Spanish and English or French and English, or maybe it’s got a series of languages and small blurbs because it’s a disclaimer saying, we have translators for your language in Chinese and Russian and Korean and Mandarin, right? Make sure those things are tacked.
Color blindness. Am I thinking about red and green as color indicators, right? People who are colorblind have a really hard time perceiving colors that are in the red and green range, but also in the orange and green range or the pink and gray range. It’s not just red and green. Am I using sufficient color contrast? Is my document dark enough to be able to reread? There’s some rules about what minimum contrasts there are.
Am I using color as a differentiator? If I’ve got a map and I’ve got all these different dots and the only difference between one dot and another is the color that it is, that’s a barrier. We could spend a whole session on just, we actually have a session called designing with accessibility in mind, where we do a deep dive into how do I create accessible infographics in a way that are readable for everyone.
Then structural relationships. If there’s a heading on the document, is it tagged as a heading in the tags in the back end of that PDF? Is my heading level one appropriately tagged? In a document, you can actually have more than one H1, different than a webpage, right? Text as images. Am I creating photo banners that have words on them that I may want to have voiced as actual text rather than graphic image of banner with the words newsletter on it? That’s too much, and we’re going to talk about some of that.
Formulas, how are my math formulas being read? Most of the time, the only way to do that is to create an image and write alt text for it. Are you the right person to write that alt text? Maybe, maybe not. Tables, we could spend. Literally, we have a session on tables, three hours of creating accessible table basics. There’s a lot we can go into there, but the more simple you can keep your tables the better, but are they tagged correctly, right? Then, of course, images and writing alt texts for images.
Typical PDF content is document structure, things like TOC, H1, L a lot of these elements are very similar to HTML, but instead of having a opening and opening and closing tag, you just have a single tag that’s attached to that element. Then we have images, right? Images require descriptions, alt-text, and then tables require appropriate scope and span. I believe you should be able to see my cursor here.
In this table, as an example, the cell for tables spans two rows. It encompasses two rows. It needs a row span of two. In the second example here, the charts and graphs cell, spans three. Sometimes it’s a column that will span more than one column. You’ll need to have appropriate scope and span for those elements. We often get a lot of different sources. This is honestly one of the biggest reasons why creating an accessible PDF is so hard because Word doc has its own thing, Canva has its own thing, PowerPoint end note, OneNote, InDesign, where copying and pasting from PDFs made of PowerPoints. I’ve seen people, this table was acting really weird when we were trying to get this accessible PDF together.
I said, I finally asked the content creator, “Where did you get this table from?” She said, “Oh, I copied it out of a PDF.” She literally went to the PDF, copied the table, and pasted it into her new document, which you don’t realize is there’s all this backend coding and things that go along with that copy and paste that make accessibility much harder. When people say, “Oh, accessibility’s hard.” Honestly, most of the time, if you do the use the program, the way it was designed, accessibility isn’t really that hard.
The common things that we deal with are the program itself has no ability to export tags. Somebody was creating a document in Canva and they were trying to export to a PDF and they couldn’t get it to export with tags. Probably not going to happen, right? Or a third-party billing system that maybe creates a PDF because you go to file print, save as PDF, right? Inconsistent read order is another one we see all the time. The words are the paragraphs don’t get, put in the right order because the way the content was created on the page isn’t properly tracked. What you might think is the visual order. Isn’t really the order.
We see this a lot in PowerPoint where people start with a template, but then start pasting all this other stuff in. Then all of a sudden, the read order is bouncing all over the place. Because they didn’t know that inside PowerPoint, there’s a place where you can go and set the read order. Then, of course, we talked a little bit about table structure, but people have made some crazy tables and the more complicated your design is, the harder it is to make it accessible.
Finally PDFs with no tags available. People will auto tag this content, right? They’ll go through and just use auto tag and maybe they get all the right information, but maybe not, most of the time, not so much. You have to ask yourself now, as web developers, as web designers, we’re WordPress developers. We don’t always have access to the source. Most of the time, it’s a PDF someone’s giving to us. If we can tell our content creators who gave us that, look, go back and build some of these things into the source, 75% or more can be taken care of in the source document. If you design a well-designed document. Let me ask. Yes,
>> AMBER: I think we have a couple questions that might be.
>> DAX: Absolutely here.
>> AMBER: Do you mind me jumping in?
>> DAX: Totally.
>> AMBER: The first person was asking a follow-up on that when it’s a third-party system, like your example for billing,
>> DAX: Right.
>> AMBER: Where it creates the PDF invoice, what are the options?
>> DAX: The options are you bring in a third-party vendor who can create a bridge between their operating system and the export, Chad and I’m not trying to just tune our own horn. There’s more than companies out there than just us, but Chad and I can actually help create templates that those third-party billing systems or third-party document creation systems, they may be spitting out millions of documents a day, think of power companies, cable companies, things like that, right. They need a bridge document that allows you to take the data, insert it into a template that is accessible and has the right tags so that the end results is accessible.
It is possible and doable. We do it all the time for organizations. It just takes getting to the people who own the third party system to be able to understand what that system needs in, whether it’s XML or FBML or whatever the maybe it’s the visual basic or whatever scripting language, they need to be able to export that to a current PDF.
>> AMBER: It’s probably going to be, you would first, I would assume you’d reach out to whatever company you’re using or whatever software it is and say, “Hey, this is not accessible. It needs to be accessible,” and see what they say.
>> DAX: Right.
>> AMBER: Then if they say they can’t, then that’s where a third-party developer might be able to build an app or something that integrates, is that [crosstalk]?
>> DAX: If you’re the end user, it’s much harder to affect change because if I go to my power company and say, “Hey, your–” QuickBooks, if I go to QuickBooks company and say, “Hey, your invoices that I generate from your system are not accessible.” They don’t care what I have to say. I’m one person. If I work for the company or I can show them a high risk of accessibility or a high risk, then maybe they’re more apt to listen, but it’s really hard to affect single person change at scale.
>> AMBER: That’s where maybe like you just have to build the solution yourself, right?
>> DAX: Or grassroots,
>> AMBER: Different solution or something.
>> DAX: Or, oh, hey Glen, Glen’s here. Or you reach out to the community and say, “Guys, I need help. Let’s bring some awareness to this.” Right. It’s definitely a larger problem to tackle. Lynn had said, she said your, they remember paste without formatting, right? Control shift V. You can also write, click and do the paste as plain text. Most of the time, I will tell you people don’t want to do that. They want the heading structure, the format, the whatever. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always come in clean, it comes in with a lot of extra stuff. In Word, the way you can unformat text is press control space bar. If you’ve pasted a bunch of stuff in, if you highlight all of that and press control space bar, it will actually clear any manual overriding formats to put it back to whatever its base style was, which is a great way to reset it without completely wiping it to plain text.
>> AMBER: When you were talking about all those different source documents and ways to create them, are there some that are better than others?
>> DAX: Absolutely. InDesign is the best program out there for creating a document I don’t need to remediate later on. Chad and I, we work with a company called Access. Access makes a program called Access Word, and it’s a plugin for Word. Solely from a developer standpoint, it’s amazing. I can take a Word document that has lots of barriers and literally export a completely compliant PDF/UA compliant Word doc from that using that plugin. It bridges all these gaps. You don’t need a lot of training, but there are other programs out there that will help you bridge. Grackle Docs allows you to export Grackle to the–
>> AMBER: Yes, I was going to ask you that. It’s an extension for Google docs.
>> DAX: Right.
>> AMBER: I was going to ask, does that actually work and create?
>> DAX: It works in a lot of situations. There’s a few that it doesn’t work in, but there are a lot that it does. If you look on my YouTube channel, PDF accessibility, my personal YouTube channel, we have some examples of how to use Access Word or Access PDF to export. One of the ones that I get all the time is inconsistent structural error or inconsistent parent tree. There’s no way to fix that without a third-party tool.
You can try to use some of PDF’s repair document structure tools, but it’s a crapshoot on whether it actually works or not. Access PDF has literally a one-button fix that basically redraws imagine– If you’ve ever used Dreamweaver. I’ve pasted in a bunch of CSS and there’s this tool that’s reformat CSS, and it literally goes through and restyles all my CSS to really neat nice things. That’s what the access PDF tool does when you do fixed document structure or rebuild.
It’s rebuild structural parent tree. It literally rebuilds the code into what it knows is perfect code, and it literally just fixes document one click.
>> AMBER: That’s awesome. I think there was one more question then I’ll let you go back in. This was earlier on someone said, inside my online course, I have downloads for PDFs, Word docs, and Excel spreadsheets. The user may open these files with online tools like Office 365 or PC versions, like regular office.
>> DAX: I’m reading that question.
>> AMBER: Yes. Do these PDF requirements apply to these types of documents or accessibility requirements if they’re documents that are meant to be read offline?
>> DAX: Great question, Beth. It has nothing to do with where they’re read. It has everything to do with the delivery method. If you are distributing content via the web, whether it’s viewed on the web or viewed on their phone, or viewed on their computer, wherever it’s viewed, you are the originator of that information. It is your requirement to make sure that those documents are compatible with whatever technology the end user decides to use to read that information.
Sometimes a Word doc is more compliant than a PDF. If you’ve got complex table structure, a PDF is way more compliant than a Word doc because Word will not understand complex table situations. It won’t present them the right way. Excel spreadsheets, the only time in Excel spreadsheet is compliant is when you have very simple presentations and you have instructions– There’s a whole litany of things you have to do.
We wrote a video for IAAP, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals in their study guide on accessible Excel documents. You’d be surprised the hoops that you have to jump through because Excel really isn’t meant to be its own program. It’s meant to be imported into other programs. It tends to have its own idiosyncrasies. The answer to your question is if you are providing content from your website to the end user, regardless of where they’re viewing it, you have to make sure that that document is compliant.
>> AMBER: That list of things that you went through that would all apply to a Word doc, just as much as a PDF.
>> DAX: Exactly. All of the web content accessibility guidelines apply to every format of every document. If I know my PowerPoint has a bunch of images with placed alt text and tables, that aren’t going to be very readable, I’m not going to supply a PowerPoint file. I’m going to supply a PDF. It’s going to take me more work, but here’s the thing.
If I go through and run the accessibility checker in PowerPoint, and it’s like, “Hey, you’re good to go,” I know that I’m not accessible because most of the things inside that document are not easily accessible by the end user. You definitely have to pick your poison when it comes to what format. Then Melissa wrote when I deal with in the federal and state government is saying, I have to post their PDF, but it isn’t accessible nor can I change their document.
Here I’ll stop there for a second. Changing their document means changing the outward appearance of their document. You can absolutely change the tags. You can go through and make the document readable. You can set scope. You can define headings. You can do all of the technical things.
Now, can you fix bad color contrast? Probably not, but you just let them know, okay, I’ve fixed everything except the color contrast or maybe there’s a different presentation you might want to do an alternate presentation of a figure. Maybe you can’t do that, but from a technical standpoint, you can go through and edit those tags until that document is compliant. Absolutely.
>> AMBER: It won’t look the same or it won’t look different necessarily because a lot of that’s behind the scenes.
>> DAX: Yes. All of it’s behind the scenes. It will definitely look the same. It’s a Title IV training made by outside companies that aren’t accessible, but I legally have to post those trainings as well. That’s a hard one. I would just tell them, “Look, this isn’t accessible, and they have to either fix it or as long as you’ve done your job in telling them that they aren’t accessible, you’ve done your due diligence. Now, I would make sure I have a paper trail, digital or otherwise, but yes.
>> AMBER: Yes.
>> DAX: Then Marcia has a good question that I want to address. Clarifying best practices for reading order for the slide numbers and page numbers in PDFs, you should never remediate or annotate your page numbers or slide numbers in your PDFs. Period. The PDF document itself has its phone page numbering system. When you’re reading a book, do you go down to the bottom and then read 14 and then keep reading, 15 and keep reading? Definitely, you don’t want that information.
Someone using a screen reader can access what page number they’re on by asking Acrobat, what page am I on? You don’t want header or footer information read on slides. Good questions guys. Really good questions. Anymore? What did Glen have to say? PowerPoint? PowerPoint reading order is extremely time-consuming. I will tell you– Let’s pop out of PowerPoint here for just a second. I’m going to go back to sharing screen I didn’t want it to not share screen.
Let’s go back here. Share. There is a tool in the newer versions of PowerPoint and not the online version. Before I go to review, let’s see. Wait, am I still sharing screen?
>> AMBER: Yes.
>> DAX: Okay. Cool.
>> AMBER: We can see your entire PowerPoint Window right now.
>> DAX: Yes. That’s what I want. If we go to review and then check accessibility, there is a reading order pane. There used to not be. There used to be the only way that you could find the reading order was to go to the selection pane. This order is bottom up. The things on the bottom are read first, the things on the top are read last. It’s confusing and you don’t have the ability to set alt text for the picture. If I want to set alt text, I’ve got to use this other tool. Right.
If I’m using the read order tool, now I have the picture it’s in the right order. I have a number that tells me what order it’s being read in. I can uncheck this box to mark it decorative, or I can double click right here and say take out the, I may be okay with a person with curly hair, but I didn’t want to take out description automatically generated with low confidence. Here I might put, Jane shrugs her shoulders and raises her palms in questioning manner. Sounds good to me.
Here’s the thing. Is that meaningful in this slide? Would I really want to write alt text for this? The answer’s no, this is decorative. I simply just want to have, can I provide alternate formats? I don’t want the logo voiced either because it’s on almost every slide. If I come down to something like this slide, how do I provide accessible alternate formats? I’ve got a couple of different things.
I’ve got the title. I’ve got this picture of the, what is that? Chameleon? Then I’ve got the text and then I’ve got a picture of the dog. If I wanted all of it read, I probably want the picture of the chameleon and the dog read last. I’m going to drag those down, but wait, what happened? See how my text is now hidden. There’s some things you have to consider. Is my read order correct?
Here’s the problem with PowerPoint. This goes back to Glen’s answer is sometimes that stacking order is wrong because I need my text to be on top of the item. I might have to go to Photoshop and make this transparent, or use the transparency tool in PowerPoint. There’s sometimes special considerations that you have to think about when you’re developing your content.
It is definitely not foolproof, but I like this panel much better than I like the other ones. Because here I would just uncheck these, go to the next one and go nope, title first. Oh, my rectangle. My rectangle I don’t want to be visible. I don’t want to be read, but I also need it to be behind the title. Here it’s first, but really it’s not read. Title, text, placeholder for this graphic at the bottom’s not read. There I’m good to go and you just move through your document that way. Awesome.
Good questions guys. All right. I’m going back to the presentation. Do we have other questions? If the content creator has put a unique information in the footer, would you try to place one occurrence of that in the most logical place in the reading order? Yes, absolutely, Robert that’s a great point. If there is a slide number– Marcia, slide number should never be in the read order.
You do not want slide numbers read in the PDF. That’s what page number is for, but to answer Robert’s question. Yes. If you have meaningful information, let’s say that the new chapter at the beginning of a new chapter, the only place it’s read is in the top header. You definitely want that to be read in the right order. Then Alice said for reading order in PowerPoint, is that only in the desktop version and not the Office 365 version? I believe that is correct. It is not in the online version of office 365. How are we doing for time?
>> AMBER: We have about 30 minutes so we’re good.
>> DAX: All right. Let’s close the questions. Choosing the right tool for the job. We’ve covered this I think pretty well. Not every document is the right– PDF is not always the right type of document. It gives you the most control, but it also can require the most work, right? Providing accessible alternatives. Here’s the thing you need to know about providing accessible alternatives. First, it’s really good to disclose the barrier.
You don’t have to do this though. The table above has the following barriers. Inability to this, inability to that. Not able to be interactive, whatever it is, because sometimes they don’t need the alternate format because the barrier that’s in the existing item is not applicable to them, so they don’t need to go download it automatically. Knowing what those barriers are is important. It’s really not– You don’t see it a lot, but I like it because it lets me know what you’ve overcome in your accessible version.
The next thing is use correct labels. When you’re providing a transcript, make the downloadable content download accessible transcript. Make sure you’re calling it what it is. When someone gets to that object, they know what’s going to happen. Go link to accessible video or captioned video or audio transcript. Give them very clear information as to where they’re going and what they’re going to get when they click the link to the alternate format.
That alternate format should be no more than three-tab presses or focuses. We’ve got our chameleons in front of our text, but it says no more than three tabs or focus items away from the main item. If you’ve got a video, let’s say you’ve got a series of videos on your webpage, but you want to give transcripts for all the videos. You’re like, you know what? I’m going to make a section in the sidebar called transcripts. I’m going to have each of the videos titled. That’s a bad experience.
You want the transcript above or below the video, no more than three items away, because what happens is as a screen reader user, I’m going to go to the video. If I can’t access the information, if it’s all just music and I don’t have the descriptive transcript for it, I’m not going to hunt through every link on the webpage to try to figure out if there’s a transcript, I’m just going to leave assuming there’s not one.
If you have the transcript before the video or right after the video, then I’m very likely going to hunt for that maybe one or two presses. Web content, accessibility guidelines, this is actually in the trusted tester class teaches you no more than three focus items away from the original object. Then test your alternative. You provide an alternative, make sure that it doesn’t have any other barriers, right? Because I’ve seen this where people posted an alternative version, they posted a table of the graphic data, but the table wasn’t accessible. They just assumed that because it was a table, it was good to go.
How do I deal with external content? Good question. Is external content my responsibility? You have two options you’re balancing. Ethically and legally, what is my responsibility? Of course, ethically, I want to do the right thing and provide the most accessible content. Legally, am I required to make sure that when they link to something that it is accessible? The answer is no I’m not required to unless you require it to pass a course or some other thing. If you’re creating a Canva course, and you’re creating the content, you say, you need to go read this study material and that study material is not accessible, that’s an issue.
If you’re going to require study material, then there has to be an accessible version of it and maybe you create that. Maybe you go to the content creators and say, “Hey, do you have an accessible version?” Or some combination thereof, but in the end ethically, it’s the right thing to do. If I’m going to link to 500 documents, am I going to be able to take the time to go make all of them compliant? Probably not, but ethically there’s a lot of situations where you might really need to do that.
Legally, no, unless you’re requiring it to pass or do or certify or something, but ethically it’s the right thing to do. Do I need to keep records? The PAC checker is a really great record, for whether or not your document passes compliance. I’m going to actually pop out here and go to, we’re going to open up PAC. PAC is really easy. It is not yet available for Mac. I’m sorry. They said they were going to have a version, but we’re that is with the developers.
>> AMBER: Dax?
>> DAX: Yes.
>> AMBER: Are you sharing just your PowerPoint window? Should we be seeing something different right now?
>> DAX: Yes. Let me stop sharing and share again.
>> AMBER: Share your desktop.
>> DAX: Why do I not see? I see screen PAC checker. I don’t see desktop. I just see sharing screen so now do you see the PAC checker?
>> AMBER: Yes.
>> DAX: Or just my PowerPoint screen.
>> AMBER: We see the PAC checker in front of the PowerPoint.
>> DAX: Great. That’s what I want. All right, so this checker allows us to take a document. Let’s take one top table tips. This is a PDF document that we created, and we can see that it passes compliance. This is PDF/UA, but I can change this to WCAG, and a lot of all the same rules apply. We can go results in detail, and this will tell us if we’ve got a document with errors, it would show us the errors. In fact, let’s open one up that has errors.
I’m not even sure what this is. Oh, California high-speed rail business plan. Yes, It’s got some errors and it looks like it’s got a lot of errors. If we go to the content pane here, we’re missing alternate text, we’re missing some metadata, we’re missing roll maps. We’ve got some structural elements, all sorts of stuff. If we go into detail, we can say we have 3,815 tagged content and artifacts.
It says, the path not tagged. What this means is there are objects in this document that don’t have any designation at all. They’re not tagged as an artifact. They’re not tagged as an object. PDF/UA says everything has to have a tag. There’s a way to fix this. We don’t have time to go into. It’s a really easy fix, but we can look at any of these elements and we can see the heading structure in a table. Here, we’ve got a table that uses a T-head and we can go right to that table on page 159 and see what’s going on.
In addition to that, we actually have a thing called screen reader preview mode, and this is more of a visual way to check our document. It shows an html reproduction of the entire document, and it allows us to very quickly scroll through and say, oh, there’s a figure and there’s the alt text for the figure. That list looks like it’s good to go and you can keep going and maybe there’s something that doesn’t have alt text or there’s a heading level out of order.
This is a very easy way for us to be able to do it. A lot of time I’ll use it for tables because a table will show me the table structure and if I’m missing a TD or a TR or some structure here, this won’t be a perfect rectangle. There’ll be gaps, and it’ll be very easy for me to see. This is a great feature for the PAC checker. Once you’re done, you can generate a PDF report and save that along with the document, which goes back to what are the tools that I should be using.
We’re going to use Acrobat. We’re going to use the PAC checker. Now, we just saw this screen reader preview, but there’s also another program called cCallas PDFgoHTML, which actually does a better job I think of representing this HTML structure for your tables. It’s free. We’re going to use a Color Contrast analyzer. It allows us to sample color and see whether or not we have sufficient color contrast, but you may not have the ability to change that once the document gets to you, because you don’t have the source. Then we’re going to use NVDA or JAWS screen readers to test and make sure that the troublesome areas have passed compliance.
Now there are screen reader controls here. We don’t have a lot of time to go through this but heading, table, list, graphic, form those items are really just the first letter of each of the Words. It’s pretty easy. To turn a screen reader off or muted while you’re using it, the NVDA key or S which usually it’s the caps lock key or the insert key and then S will silence the screen reader because it’s very overwhelming when you first start using it. We go over those controls in our class.
Here are some more shortcuts, but rather than showing you this screen and walking through all this, we put together a cheat sheet for you and you can get this. They’re going to paste the link in the chat for me, or you can shoot this with your phone. This is a short list of the important shortcut keys for using NVDA specifically, because it’s free, and it should get you pretty far in your document testing with a screen reader. You can download that for free, and then feel free to reach out to us for any more information.
The one thing I will caution you about when you start using NVDA, you want to make sure you let your document load before you start pressing keys because the document actually has to be vocally processed, the entire document before you start pressing keys. It has to buffer everything. You have to wait otherwise you’re just going to hear H T L, it’s just going to go letter by letter and you’re going to hear no headings or, it’s just not going to load correctly so be patient.
That is my presentation guys. Thank you so much for your time and attention and the great questions. I’m happy to answer more. Again, Facebook group, YouTube channel. We’re trying to grow our new YouTube channel, which is accessibility unraveled on YouTube. If you go and follow us there, that’d be super. Our website has all of our training classes. You can reach out to me on LinkedIn or you can even call me on my phone old school. I will answer questions for you. I’m here at your disposal. Thank you guys so much.
>> AMBER: Thank you so much. That was great. I don’t know if I’ve seen any more questions come in, but if anyone does have a final question, feel free to either pop those in the chat or in the Q&A section, whatever works easier for you. I will say this was something that maybe got mentioned a little earlier in the chat, but I’m wondering, do you have any thoughts on what actually should be a document versus a webpage? How do we communicate that with our clients? If we’re saying, “Hey, really let’s rethink the PDF completely or the Word doc completely and just put the content on a webpage.” Do you have thoughts about that?
>> DAX: Yes. If it has a navigation menu, it should be a webpage. There are so many times there’s some large company that is blue and has a single letter as their social media platform that I worked on a project for and they were literally creating a menu at the top of the PDF that linked all these different things. They were creating a mini website inside the PDF. I’m like, “This is a webpage. It should be a webpage. You have so many problems in the PDF making it accessible. It should be a webpage,” so my– [crosstalk]
>> AMBER: -forms. We can make PDF quick forms, but should they? That’s what I’m wondering.
>> DAX: Oh, here’s the thing. It depends on the delivery. What am I doing with the form afterward? If I want the user to be able to take that and go have someone else fill it out in writing, I might want to distribute a PDF form. If they don’t have access to the internet, but on a temporary basis, they need to go to the library and download the form. Maybe they don’t have access at home. Maybe a PDF form is the right delivery.
HTML is the right delivery when I just need to capture their information. I know they’re on the web. I just want to get it in so that I can process it later using a database app or whatever. If I need that physical form, the way it’s supposed to be filled out, making a fillable HTML form that then dumps the information into a PDF form and sends me the PDF form, that’s not something I can do as a designer.
Sometimes a PDF is the right choice, but if I just need to have people register for an event, or I’m just trying to capture contact information absolutely, the HTML form is better. Anytime you have menu navigation, absolutely it should be a webpage
>> AMBER: Yes, I don’t know if SEO ever comes into play. At this point, maybe Google’s good enough at scanning PDF documents.
>> DAX: Oh no, it absolutely comes into play. If you want good SEO, you absolutely need to make sure you keyWord your documents and title them, go into the meta description, and make sure you add that. It’s one of the advanced ways why our website chax chat appears on all the webs on search engines. It’s because of the PDF content. It adds to the overall and you definitely want your PDF content. If you’re using heading structures and you have a well-tagged document and you have all your file info tagged correctly labeled, it really helps improve your SEO.
>> AMBER: Yes, but I think that’s one way in which it’s improved. That used to be an argument that we would give clients for not having a PDF, but I think now PDFs rank so it’s a little bit harder to use that explanation for why I should do a webpage.
>> DAX: Peter said he’s trying to convince a client to convert his PDF newsletter to just text and images for the web, that they can email. Sure. If you know, your user base has access to the web and that’s easy. Yes, absolutely. Rather than remediating the PDF. Sure. If not everybody has access to the web all the time reliably. Right.
>> AMBER: I think another thing too, is thinking about how people are intended to use it. One of the things that drives me nuts is when I’m out on my phone, looking for a restaurant and I go and I want to see their menu and I have to download a PDF, and then I have to zoom in and scroll all around
>> DAX: You don’t.
>> AMBER: I m just like, if you think someone is going to be accessing it on their phone probably a document intended for print is not [laughs] the best solution.
>> DAX: If you have Acrobat on your phone, you don’t have to do that. There is a mode that you don’t know about that is there right in front of you, it’s called liquid mode and it looks like a little water drop inside Acrobat
>> AMBER: It’ll convert the PDF to a mobile responsive format?
>> DAX: Yes. It will.
>> AMBER: Wow. I did not know about that. That’s good.
>> DAX: It doesn’t do every PDF, but it does most.
>> AMBER: Yes. Is there something special you have to set up in your PDFs to support that?
>> DAX: No, it just has to be not image-based. If you’re using InDesign or Word or anything else, if you’re using Publisher or Photoshop to generate a PDF, it won’t do it. If you’ve used a desktop publishing program, then you definitely can. Wow. Paula is on it with the hyperlinks. I got to give it to her. I’m watching chat and she’s like my link app and the YouTube channel and liquid mode for Acrobat. Right.
>> AMBER: Yes.
>> DAX: All right. Peter said, unfortunately, menus are often images saved as PDFs. Yes, absolutely. I walked out of a sushi restaurant because their menu was only PDF. They wouldn’t give me a physical one because of COVID, and it was I had to scroll all the way across the page to see all the items inside the sushi roll. I’m like, “I am not choosing my sushi this way.”
>> AMBER: It’s too annoying.
>> DAX: I’m just, “I’m done. I said, “If you can’t give me a physical menu. I have to leave,” and they’re like, “We can’t.” I’m like, “Okay, later.”
>> AMBER: All right, bye. [laughs] Probably won’t come back. Christina said now if we would just convince people to not use tables in Word to create forms.
>> DAX: Let me give you a little shocker, Christina. I don’t agree with you. Here’s the reason why. Forms in a table are okay as long as you have a very programmatic way of navigating through the table. If you don’t use fake spacer cells to line crap up and you just have name, form field, name, form field, name, form field. You’re okay. You have to think about the programmatic association.
Remediation is such a pain. Not really. You set the scope. We can probably talk about it offline, but you set the scope for the table. Maybe you’re talking about the blank cells in the table. Do we have, can she come on camera? I’d love to chat with her about that. Do we have time?
>> AMBER: Have time, but I’m not actually sure. Since we switched to–
>> DAX: A meeting? Usually, you just promote someone to a panelist and then they can–
>> AMBER: All right, Christine can I promote you to a panelist right in the chat? If you’re cool with that.
>> DAX: I know I’m putting her on the spot.
>> AMBER: She said okay.
>> DAX: I just want to have the conversation because I think it’s important, right?
>> AMBER: This is fun. We switched from meetings to webinars recently so I’m still trying to figure out how it all works.
>> DAX: Yes. Not a problem.
>> AMBER: Let’s see. Here’s Christina.
>> DAX: Yes.
>> AMBER: I can add a spotlight if you start your video. If you feel otherwise, you can just unmute Christina, whatever you feel comfortable with.
>> PARTICIPANT: No. Thank you for justifying my decision to actually put real work clothes on this morning. [laughs]
>> DAX: Oh, sorry. [laughs]
>> CHRISTINA: That’s okay. No, and it’s a very interesting conversation to have. Thank you for pursuing it because I’m working on a document right now that is a form created in Word with a whole bunch of tables. Some of those tables to my mind aren’t really tables. They are name, put your name address, put your address. I’m not doing those tables. I’m doing those as paragraphs with the form field, but then I have tables that are tables.
>> DAX: See from a user standpoint, it’s okay. It’s a programmatic association. The litmus test is can I figure out what’s going on based on the presentation I’m receiving. If I’m given a table that I go into the first cell and I hear name, right? I would want to have a descriptor above a heading cell, a heading row above that that says name and then date of field, maybe, or description and field so that when I hear in my first column it’s name, I know that’s the description.
Then the what I’m supposed to fill in is in that second column, I get that. After the first one, I understand what that experience is like. It becomes problematic if that’s not equal throughout the whole form. Sometimes they’re spacing things differently and maybe in one row, there’s like three columns and, instead of two columns. It can be problematic for sure.
Sometimes, definitely a bad user experience but the very nature that it’s a table isn’t bad, as long as there’s a programmatic association that the person can figure out when they’re filling it out.
>> CHRISTINA: If there are numerous tables, so I’ve got a table for name and faculty, and then I’ve got a paragraph. I would do each one of those as a table all the way through?
>> DAX: Yes.
>> CHRISTINA: Oh, okay. I’m not going to go back I don’t think into nine pages I’ve already done. [laughs]
>> DAX: No. Sure.Yes. You’re moving forward. Right. Moving forward.
>> CHRISTINA: Yes. I think going forward with it, I will use tables for what is evidently a table where you’ve got rows across and your headers down. Anything that isn’t what I would call an actual table. I think I will do as paragraphs as in [inaudible] field.
>> DAX: That’s totally up to you. Yes. Access Word actually has a thing where you just select the table, and check a box that says layout table.
>> CHRISTINA: Oh, nice.
>> DAX: When it exports, it converts it all and you can actually set the read order. You can tell it if it isn’t left-right top-down, you can tell it, I wanted to read right-left, bottom-up, or whatever configuration you want, but it makes it so much nicer because then I can just say, “Nope, that’s a layout table. Nope, that’s a layout table.” Just check a box and I’m done.
>> CHRISTINA: Yes. Awesome. We’re actually getting access Word and I’m very much looking forward to working with it.
>> DAX: Oh. Awesome. That’s great.
>> PARTICIPANT: Thank you very much for answering my question.
>> DAX: Yes. Absolutely. Great question.
>> AMBER: Yes. Thank you for being brave and popping on here. [laughs]
>> DAX: Yes, absolutely. I know that was on the spot.
>> AMBER: I don’t know if I saw any more questions. I think we’re good. People can get ahold of you on LinkedIn if they want to follow up or join your Facebook group which I’m in the Facebook group. I definitely appreciate it. It’s very interesting to me. We do nothing with documents and I try to avoid them.I think they’re scary. [laughs]
>> DAX: It’s okay.
>> AMBER: I like to read all of the conversations in the Facebook group.
>> DAX: Mitchell actually posed a point, says document the reflow inside Acrobat reader in the actual desktop app is garbage. It is absolutely garbage. On the mobile phone, it converts the text to black text. If it’s white text on a black background, all of that it does a great job. The desktop version does not. If you have white text on a blue field, in a PowerPoint slide and you put that into reflow, it’s now white text on a white background and you cannot see it.
We’ve talked with Rob Haverty about it. I don’t know if they’re trying to fix it, but they know it’s a thing. Yes, it is a thing.
>> AMBER: Yes. Oh, you know what? Sorry. There was one more question that I missed. For paragraphs that get tagged as a span after exporting, do they need to move the text out of the span and put them under a P tag?
>> DAX: No. I’ll tell you why you’re getting a span is because that text has a different format. Somehow there’s a mixed character style applied to that paragraph. I will tell you that the best way to do is go back to your source, highlight that paragraph, and hit control space bar, to wipe out whatever character override is happening in that paragraph. Span tags are not bad. You should not spend any time removing them. They don’t affect screen readers.
All they are is a container for your extra content. If you have a Word that’s bold or italics, or different kerning or spacing, the program needs to have a container that holds that mathematical nomenclature. That span tag is the tag. It’s not really a structural tag. It doesn’t relate any information to the screen reader. It’s just there to say, “Hey, I’m bolder. hey, I’m italic, or hey, my kerning is +0.1, em,” or whatever.
>> AMBER: Yes.
>> DAX: I think a lot of people, me included, want to go in and then clean up all of those spans. The reality is you don’t have to.
>> AMBER: It’s too much work. [laughs]
>> DAX: Well, it’s just inconsequential work.
>> AMBER: Yes. Busy work more than anything else.
>> DAX: Yes. Absolutely.
>> AMBER: Thank you so much for this fabulous presentation and all of your expertise and knowledge that you’ve shared with us. Very much appreciate it. Everyone, don’t forget to if you’re interested, apply to speak at WP accessibility day. WPaccessibility.day is the URL. Applications are open until August 8th. This meetup does count for continuing ed credits for IAAP certifications if you have those. If you need anything from me for proof of attendance, feel free to reach out. Thank you so much, everyone.
>> DAX: Thank you, guys.
>> AMBER: Have a great day.
>> DAX: Bye-bye.
 [END OF AUDIO]