Are your PDF documents accessible?
Always having access to the internet, regardless of location, hardware, time, age language, or ability, has revolutionized many aspects of our lives. The internet is the essential resource, we need when dealing with government, healthcare, education, employment, commerce, recreation, and pretty much everything else. When your website is designed for digital accessibility, you enable and empower audiences with disabilities to access and translate your website content. You enable and empower them to do what they originally came to your website for.
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What is digital accessibility?
Digital accessibility addresses discriminatory aspects related to equivalent user experience for people with disabilities. Accessibility, usability, and inclusion on the web refer to the designing of websites and content that all people can equally reach, perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with. Without ensuring digital accessibility, people with disabilities may not be able to understand your website content, basically excluding them from buying your products or services.
The legal definition of “disability” states that a person can be considered disabled if they are unable to perform any substantial gainful activity due to a mental or physical impairment. The World Health Organization operates with a definition, which states that individuals are disabled by barriers in society, not by their impairment. There are different types of disabilities, which include (but are not limited to):
Visual impairments: Individuals with visual disabilities may be blind, have relatively low vision, or be colorblind so that unannotated images and graphics or even low-contrast sites create problems.
Hearing impairments: Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals will have problems interacting with video and audio content unless some form of transcription is available.
Cognitive impairments: Cognitive disabled individuals may have difficulty remembering information or data, may be easily distracted, may have dyslexia, or may have learning disabilities that affect how well they read text.
Physical limitations: Individuals with fine motor disabilities may have difficulty using a mouse, may require more time to interact, and may have difficulty selecting small elements on a screen.
Why is PDF accessibility important?
You should ensure digital PDF accessibility if you wish to provide all audiences, without discrimination, access to your digital content. When ensuring PDF accessibility and digital accessibility, you create a happier life for individuals with disabilities. No dice, digital accessibility is the right thing to do.
In addition to the primary function, digital accessibility has many distinct advantages. It represent several opportunities for companies and organizations. Accessibility checking your website provides disabled individuals with full access to your digital content. Ensuring digital accessibility will increase your online audience, which first and foremost will prompt larger engagement, and in most cases, PDF accessibility will provide your business with significant financial benefits.
Core benefits of accessibility checking your PDFs
- Reach the senior market
- Strengthen your brand image
- Promote sustainable development
- Improve your ESG
- Improve your natural SEO
- Maximize your website’s performance
- Reduce maintenance costs
Accessibility checking PDFs on your website is the easiest way to reach an audience with lowered vision and in best case do business with individuals you wouldn’t have reached in the past. The effort you put into digital accessibility overlaps with other points of website optimization, such as mobile web design, usability, and search engine optimization. Web accessibility will safeguard your website and allow you to reach your ‘total available market’ or ‘total addressable market’. With accessible PDF files on your website, you have more opportunities to get new clients and a greater chance for sales success.
Laws of web accessibility
We already know that accessibility is the right thing to do. In several countries, web accessibility is also a legal requirement. In Europe, The European Web Accessibility Directive imposes several requirements on online documents to ensure digital accessibility. Among other things, it requires that the visually impaired must have access to files on websites and the option to have them read aloud using a screen reader. You should do an accessibility check on your PDFs to ensure that they are perceivable and understandable.
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