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Getting screen readers to read words instead of tracked letters in InDesign

New Here ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

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What do I need to do in InDesign (16) or Acrobat to have screen readers read the text as words instead of individual letters?  I have both live/editable text and text as outlines that have tracking from +20 to +200(ish) in my document. I would like this to be more accessible for those who use screen readers.

Thanks!

 

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EPUB, How to, Performance, Type

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

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Live text should read correctly despite the extra tracking. Images must be given Alt text.

Mike Witherell

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New Here ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

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Unfortunately my blind consultant is telling me otherwise. Thanks though

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

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What screen reader program are you using? Need version and operating system.

And are you reading the text in a live InDesign file? Or in a PDF exported from InDesign?

 

FYI, text as outlines is not live text. It's now a graphic and must have Alt-text added to it, which, in this situation, you can't do in InDesign.

 

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

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New Here ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

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I'm exporting the InDesign file as a .pdf.

I've asked my blind consultant for her screen reader info. Will update that when I have it.

Is there no other way to add alt text to a graphic file than changing it to a .jpg or .png via Photoshop and then replace it in InDesign? 

And yes, I know outlines are different than live text. I have both types in my file. Need both types to “play well” with the screen reader. 

Thanks

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

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quote

Is there no other way to add alt text to a graphic file than changing it to a .jpg or .png via Photoshop and then replace it in InDesign? 

By @ABuck123

 

???

Help us out here. How have you put the graphics into your INDD layout?

If you copied/pasted from somewhere, don't do that. InDesign and the PDF conversion utility need a graphic file to hang the Alt-text on. So use the regular File / Place method of bringing in graphics.

 

If the graphic was created in InDesign, it's dicey how it will come out in the PDF. Sometimes the Alt-text is correct in the PDF, sometimes not. At this time, we do not recommend making graphics inside InDesign.

 

quote

And yes, I know outlines are different than live text. I have both types in my file. Need both types to “play well” with the screen reader. 

By @ABuck123

 

It would probably be more fruitful to have a better knowledge of the International Standards for PDF, ISO 14289 for PDF/UA-1 (Universal Access). 4 things are required for this to work:

 

  1. Content creators and designers know the standards, and build their files to meet them.
  2. Screen readers and other assistive technologies (AT) know the standards and build their tools to work with them. Only about 1/3  - 1/2 of those on the market meet the PDF standards,
  3. AT users learn how to use their AT tools. Most don't have full training in how to use their tools with PDFs.
  4. All of the stakeholders in this workflow know the standards -- you , me, your colleague, the screen reader manufacturer, Adobe, Microsoft, and any other entity that's in this mix. They must step up and do their portion of the workflow. When one cog in the workflow fails to meet the standards, it breaks the entire deal.

 

quote

And yes, I know outlines are different than live text. I have both types in my file. Need both types to “play well” with the screen reader. 

By @ABuck123

 

First law of accessibility: don't have dead (or outlined) text in your document. Dead text can't "play well" with live human users and their assistive technologies, so you  -- as a content creator -- should avoid it in your documents.

 

Solution: Find a better way to create the visual appearance you want. Text outlines (which are graphics of text) are extremely problematic with few, valid solutions.

 

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

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New Here ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

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I am using File > Place for all visuals.

I understand how text visuals are challenging, but they are the visuals I was given to work with. (Think logotypes.)

FWIW collaborator is using jaws 2021 and testing with NVDA. 

Thanks for your feedback.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

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When you export to PDF take care that tags are activated and the language of the main text is choosen correctly.

In your paragraph styles edit the export for html and epub correctly to set up the export tags.

Set up the correct language for your paragraph styles and exceptions with character styles.

Work always with styles, avoid manuallly styled texts.

Work with one story, combine text frames in the correct order.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 02, 2021 Jul 02, 2021

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Test the reading in Acrobat and let Acrobat read out your document loud.

View > Read out loud > Activate Read Out Loud 

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