Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Reading Order Issue

New Here ,
Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021

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Hi All,

 

I am working on an Adobe InDesign document that I am trying to make accessible. When it is exported as a pdf with paragraph styles put in place etc. Yet, when I ask it to show me the reading order it displays the order in the order that I built the document in and ignores the headers and body text order.

 

Does anyone have experience of this and know why this is happening?

 

I have attached some screen grabs to illustrate my problem more.

 

Any help that can be given would be most appreciated.

 

Kind regards,
Craig

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Create PDFs, Edit and convert PDFs, General troubleshooting, How to, Print and prepress

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

Adobe Community Professional , Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021
Very common question. Here's some background info on what you're seeing and how to address it. First, the "Order" panel is mis-named. Given that there are 4 reading orders in a PDF, calling one panel "THE" ORDER panel is pure nonsense because it shows only one of the four ROs. The 4 ROs in a PDF are: The TAG RO (aka, the tag tree) The ARCHITECTURAL / CONSTRUCTION RO (aka, the "Order" panel) The TAB RO (keyboard access) The FORM RO (for <Form> fields) And they have little (if anything) to do...

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021

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Hi Craig!

 

Thank you for reaching out.

 

As the accessibility reading order not working as it was set up, could you please share the sample Indesign file and the PDF created from the file with us? We would like to replicate the behavior at our end for further investigation.

Also, please share the Acrobat, Indesign, and OS version on the machine.

It would be really helpful if you can share the steps you do to set up the header and body text orders in the PDF.

Also, confirm if this issue occurs with other files too.

 

We will be waiting for your response.

 

Thanks,

Meenakshi

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021

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These above are totally unrelated to the OP's question.

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs |
Books & Classes | PubCom

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021

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Very common question. Here's some background info on what you're seeing and how to address it.

First, the "Order" panel is mis-named.

Given that there are 4 reading orders in a PDF, calling one panel "THE" ORDER panel is pure nonsense because it shows only one of the four ROs. The 4 ROs in a PDF are:

  • The TAG RO (aka, the tag tree)
  • The ARCHITECTURAL / CONSTRUCTION RO (aka, the "Order" panel)
  • The TAB RO (keyboard access)
  • The FORM RO (for <Form> fields)

And they have little (if anything) to do with each other!

 

Only the TAG RO is required to meet the PDF/UA-1 standard requirement for accessibility. Many in the industry ask why even care about the Architectural/Construction RO, since it's not required. Here's why:

  • Many technologies used by those with disabilities do not use the TAG RO, and instead use the Architectural RO. Technically, they do not conform to the PDF/UA standard, but our end users don't usually give a rat's patootie about that and just want something that is cheap (or free), easy to use, and helps them read the PDF.
  • No one has the right to tell a user which technology to use, such as requiring them to use a higher-priced PDF/UA-compliant screen reader.
  • Other technologies, other than assitive AT technologies, use the Architectural RO as well.
  • You want to reach the widest audience possible, regardless of what technology they use.

 

So yes, the Architectural RO shown in the "Order" panel is based on the exact sequence of how you created the different frames/elements in your layout. And that mostly does not represent what you want in the TAG RO.

 

In InDesign, you must learn how to control both ROs:

  1. Control the TAG RO with threaded stories (frame to frame) and the Articles panel (optional).
  2. Control the Architectural RO through the stacking order in the Layers panel.

 

In my classes and books, I teach several ways to do this.

 

 

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs |
Books & Classes | PubCom

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New Here ,
Feb 23, 2021 Feb 23, 2021

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Thank you very much Bevi - this not only explains it but has solved my problem.

 

Really appreciate your time and feedback in solving this for me.

 

Craig

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 24, 2021 Feb 24, 2021

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Glad to help!

 

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs |
Books & Classes | PubCom

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