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Alt text missing on hyperlinks after "Export as Interactive PDF"

Community Beginner ,
Jun 03, 2021 Jun 03, 2021

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I work primarily in InDesign and create accessible PDFs using Acrobat & an Acrobat plugin called "CommonLook." 

During the design stage, I always add the alt text when creating hyperlinks or adding images, and export it as an interactive PDF. 
A couple of weeks ago, I realized that my hyperlink alt text stopped appearing on the Link tag, but instead, it appears on the "Link - OBJR" (aka "Annotation") tag within the Link tag.

I thought it was a one-off, but sure enough, it's happening to all of my exported PDFs from InDesign. 

I work on long reports that usually have many hyperlinks, so this has become a very time-consuming problem for me. 
I'm wondering if this is something anyone else has experienced and anyone who can help me fix it? 

TOPICS
Bug , How to , Import and export , Performance , Publish online

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Community Expert ,
Jun 03, 2021 Jun 03, 2021

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 07, 2021 Jun 07, 2021

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Thank you, but no, it doesn't address the issue I'm having. I haven't changed how I've created my InDesign documents for accessibility, and I've always created my hyperlinks using the hyperlink panel. There's nothing else mentioned in the solved query that is relevant to the issues I'm having. 
I usually export to Interactive PDF, but I've also tried to export as print PDF with the tagged PDF options selected (which include Bookmarks, Hyperlinks, etc.) with the same result. I've attached an example PDF if that can help, but I think it's an issue that occurs when I export, whether it's a setting, preference or a bug.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 07, 2021 Jun 07, 2021

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Hi K-Ren,

did the change happen after you updated to:

 

InDesign 16.2 ?

InDesign 16.2.1 ?

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 07, 2021 Jun 07, 2021

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You are right! I reverted back to 16.1 and the alt text correctly appears on the Link tag.

The newest version has a bug that causes the issue during export.

 

Thanks so much for getting me onto the right track to fix the issue!!! 

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Community Expert ,
Jun 07, 2021 Jun 07, 2021

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I can only guess, that your problem is the bug fix with feature Alt Text on Hyperlinks, and perhaps not a new bug with Alt Text, as mentioned in the notes of the fixed issues with 16.2.0:

https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/kb/fixed-issues.html

 

My interpretation for this:

"ALT text for hyperlinks is incorrectly placed in Tagged PDF."

https://indesign.uservoice.com/forums/601180/suggestions/38972206

would be, that before 16.2.0 the Alt Text feature on hyperlinks was used in a wrong way. Not the way accessibility norms would suggest this. You could ask Klaas Posselt for details who wrote the bug report back in 2019.

 

Other notes on "Alt Text" for Hyperlinks:

It is not supported by scripting.

It is not supported with the exchange formats IDML and IDMS.

And therefore could also not be supported with CC Libraries, InDesign library files and some InCopy workflows.

 

"Alt Text" for hyperlinks was and still is an incomplete feature.

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 29, 2021 Oct 29, 2021

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I wanted to follow up if anyone has found an acceptable solution or work-around besides reverting InDesign back to version 16.1? 

I've been ignoring the past several updates for InDesign, but now I need to update it.

My new questions are:

1. Is there a workaround or a solution so that the alt text appears on the Link tag? (From my knowledge, there hasn't been a solution (yet) within InDesign that will fix it)

2. a.) Is having the alt text on the Annotation enough (it passes my WCAG & PDF/UA testing, but is this good practice?) or should the Link tag have the alt text applied to it?

 

2. b.) If having the alt text on the Annotation tag is good enough to pass WCAG & PDF/UA, how does it sound to a screen-reader?
For example, does it still announce the content the same as if the alt text was on the Link tag?
Does it repeat the alt text if the link has 2 Link - OBJR (aka "Annotation") tags inside the Link tag because it's long and appears on 2 lines? 

 

Thanks for any insight into this topic!

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Community Expert ,
Oct 30, 2021 Oct 30, 2021

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LATEST

 

BeviChagnonPubCom_0-1635577409682.png

By @K-Ren

1. Is there a workaround or a solution so that the alt text appears on the Link tag? (From my knowledge, there hasn't been a solution (yet) within InDesign that will fix it)

 

No fixes in 2022 for Alt-text on these items. See our sandbox test file that's attached.

  • External URLs
  • External emails
  • Internal hyperlinks/destinations
  • Internal cross-references

And multi-line hyperlinks are still broken into multiple Link-OBJR sub-tags that are sequenced backwards.

 

BeviChagnonPubCom_0-1635577409682.png

2. a.) Is having the alt text on the Annotation enough (it passes my WCAG & PDF/UA testing, but is this good practice?) or should the Link tag have the alt text applied to it?

 

The PDF/UA Best Practices Syntax Guide does not specify on which tag the Alt-text should appear. https://www.pdfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/TaggedPDFBestPracticeGuideSyntax.pdf

 

In discerning the tea leaves' of Actual Text in the Syntax Guide, I would put Alt-text on the <Link> tag itself, not the Link-OBJR subtag (aka annotation). Remember, all standards are works in progress and this is one area that we standards-makers haven't yet finished. It's a long process!

 

But after all of this discussion, most SRs are not set to read Alt-text on anything other than <Figure> tags. Some users with advanced knowledge of their assistive technology (in other words, they have read the user manual or had training) can get it to work for some items. Right now, I'd estimate that 90% of SR users don't ever hear Alt-text on hyperlinks.

 

BeviChagnonPubCom_0-1635577409682.png

2. b.) If having the alt text on the Annotation tag is good enough to pass WCAG & PDF/UA, how does it sound to a screen-reader?
For example, does it still announce the content the same as if the alt text was on the Link tag?

 

Screen reader users never get to the content if it has Alt-text on it. Alt-text supercedes the content.

In our research, most SR users don't particularly like that: although they don't want to hear the content of a long, alphabet-soup URL and would rather have short descriptive Alt-text, they'd also like the choice to know the full URL when they need it (which often is critical when doing academic, research, or work-related reading).

 

Download free copies of JAWS and NVDA and start learning how to test these things. See our blog about testing with various assistive technologies at https://www.pubcom.com/blog/2019_04-05/checking-with-screenreaders.shtml

 

And finally, don't trust any of the automated checkers, including Adobe Acrobat's accessibility checker. They miss a lot of items, get many others wrong. And AI can't figure out what is acceptable, appropriate Alt-text: only a trained person can do that. Real testing uses both tools and humans.

 

BeviChagnonPubCom_0-1635577409682.png

Does it repeat the alt text if the link has 2 Link - OBJR (aka "Annotation") tags inside the Link tag because it's long and appears on 2 lines? 

 

Yes, they hear it twice and wonder what's wrong with us content creators.

We need to change their attitude and instead have them ask "what's wrong with Adobe?" Adobe InDesign is the only program I know that creates this double jumble of Link-OBJR junk.

 

—Bevi Chagnon

US Delegate to the ISO committees for PDF and PDF/UA standards, and member of the PDF Association.

 

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents |
|    PubCom |    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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