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Accessibility Issues in PDF from InDesign

New Here ,
May 09, 2018 May 09, 2018

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I have an Indesign document that uses a 3-column, landscape, 8.5x11 page. I am trying to make this document accessible to the visually impaired, but I'm a newbie to InDesign.

I followed all the steps in Adobe InDesign accessibility and my PDF passes the Acrobat Accessibility Checker. But some of the manual checks are turning up issues that need to be fixed.

I don't want to manually fix these every time I update the document, so I need some guidance on a permanent/automatic solution.

Issue #1: The document has a long URL that wraps through three lines. When I look at the URL tags in the PDF, I see that there are three tags, and that the tags display in reverse order (end of the URL, then the middle, then the beginning).

Question: What do I need to do to get the URL in one tag when it comes out of the InDesign Export?

Issue #2: The document has a number of procedures. Our writing standard is that the name of the button you press or click is in bold. If it is a button with an icon, the icon graphic is also displayed.

Example: Press Hold 371848.jpg.  (the image is usually smaller; it has alternate text).

In the PDF, the "Press", "Hold", the graphic with alternate text, and the period are all separate tags. I expected "Press Hold" as one tag. I assume that having it in 2 tags is because the "Hold" is in bold in the text.

Question: What do I need to do to get all the text before the graphic in one tag when it comes out of the InDesign Export?

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018
Issue #1: The document has a long URL that wraps through three lines. When I look at the URL tags in the PDF, I see that there are three tags, and that the tags display in reverse order (end of the URL, then the middle, then the beginning).Question: What do I need to do to get the URL in one tag when it comes out of the InDesign Export?
This is an error with the current version of InDesign-to-accessible PDF.Solution: Ensure you've made an accessible hyperlink in InDesign. Select the URL and usin...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 09, 2018 May 09, 2018

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Unfortunately, you're facing some major problems: You're trying to solve two things at once. You're inexperienced in InDesign (which requires some time to become proficient), and you're also trying to deal with making a file accessible, which requires a detailed knowlege of how to use all of InDesign's features.

I'd suggest that you get a free starting subscription to Lynda.com and take these two video courses:

Start with David Blatner's InDesign Essentials course:

InDesign CC 2018 Essential Training

And then view Chad Chelius' new and up-to-date Creating Accessible PDFs:

Creating Accessible PDFs

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New Here ,
May 09, 2018 May 09, 2018

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Can you just give me some clues about what the issues might be? I can find help for fixing the issues using Google.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 09, 2018 May 09, 2018

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Here is a clue: use paragraph styles and character styles to as complete a degree as you can.

What panel in Acrobat are you looking at tags? Why do you care how many tags it makes?

Mike Witherell

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New Here ,
May 09, 2018 May 09, 2018

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  1. After you export the PDF you open it in Acrobat Professional.
  2. Click Tools > Accessibility and run the checker.
  3. Click the Tags icon in the left pane to see the document in tagging mode. It shows the document in the tagging hierarchy, and when you click on a tag, it identifies that content in the PDF.

here's what the tags for the "Press Hold <graphic>." step look like:press hold tags.png

So, when the screen reader reads the text, the result is not a natural way of speaking.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 09, 2018 May 09, 2018

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There are not many people who come to help in this forum who regularly work with accessibility issues.

You may also get help from this Acrobat forum:

Standards & Accessibility (tagged PDF)

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New Here ,
Jul 05, 2018 Jul 05, 2018

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Although this isn't an answer to the questions you asked, it's still something you should consider when working in InDesign: using long urls for links not only creates layout difficulties — in your case, the url takes up 3 lines — but they also present accessibility issues.

When a url contains strings of numbers, special characters, or random letters, screen-readers need to read out each of those characters l-e-t-t-e-r-b-y-l-e-t-t-e-r — a truly horrible user experience (see https://webaim.org/techniques/hypertext/link_text#urls).

If you really must include a url link, for example, your InDesign document will also be distributed via print, then you might consider using a link shortener (e.g., bit.ly). It'll produce a jumble of random characters and is lousy for readability, branding, and memorability, but it will be a short jumble and it should also take care of layout issues. FWIW, my main concern with using bit.ly is that the reader has no idea of where the link points to. To reduce this potential uncertainty we use an in-house shortener with a custom url format so that the reader has some assurance that the link is ok.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 03, 2021 Jun 03, 2021

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@colin_mac presents a valid case.

However, if Alt-text is on the URL, the URL itself can be as long as needed (such as for a complete URL for print). Assistive Technology users (AT) will hear the Alt-Text and skip reading the long URL. They'll never hear the lengthy "jumble" you describe that's the URL for this page, for example: https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign/accessibility-issues-in-pdf-from-indesign/m-p/9865181

 

So by adding Alt-text to the URL, we have a solution for:

  1. AT users
  2. Sighted users
  3. Printed documents

Everyone gets what they need.

 

Hint: when writing the Alt-text, keep it short and direct to the point: why should someone click the link. Examples:

  • Visit our website to register for our classes.
  • View our online catalog.
  • Download the annual report.

 

Our firm doesn't recommend using URL shorteners like bit.ly because eventually they expire and stop working, which leaves everyone stranded. Unless you're using a formal DOI (direct object identifier from DOI.org), I wouldn't use a shortener. Have run into too many problems with them over the years.

 

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

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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Issue #1: The document has a long URL that wraps through three lines. When I look at the URL tags in the PDF, I see that there are three tags, and that the tags display in reverse order (end of the URL, then the middle, then the beginning).

Question: What do I need to do to get the URL in one tag when it comes out of the InDesign Export?

This is an error with the current version of InDesign-to-accessible PDF.

Solution:

  1. Ensure you've made an accessible hyperlink in InDesign. Select the URL and using the Hyperlinks panel, make it a hyperlink.
  2. After export to PDF, edit the tags in the tag tree. If you're using the latest version of InDesign (CC:2018), you will end up with a <LINK> tag with nested <LINK-OBJR> subtags inside it, one Link-OBJR for each line of the hyperlink.
  3. Drag the <LINK-OBJR> tags into the correct order.

Example: Press Hold 371848.jpg.  (the image is usually smaller; it has alternate text).

In the PDF, the "Press", "Hold", the graphic with alternate text, and the period are all separate tags. I expected "Press Hold" as one tag. I assume that having it in 2 tags is because the "Hold" is in bold in the text.

Question: What do I need to do to get all the text before the graphic in one tag when it comes out of the InDesign Export?

Everything that is exported to the accessible PDF is based on 2 things: how you constructed the content in InDesign, and what version of InDesign you're using. The newest versions export to the latest accessibility standards and correct previous bugs.

If the text and graphic were created correctly in InDesign, you should have gotten this result in the PDF:

<P>

     Press

     Hold

     <FIGURE>

     .

That's one <P> tag with the content staggered and nested inside. It doesn't matter that the pieces of this sentence appear on different lines of code in the tag tree: what's important is that they are all nested inside one <P> tag.

Suggestion: make sure that the button graphic is an inline anchor after Hold and before the period.

Suggestion: as others have said, get training in basic InDesign and then take the advanced training in accessible PDFs from InDesign.

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

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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Thanks, Bevi, for your excellent help.

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