Tips for Making PDFs Accessible on Mobile Devices

Graphical picture of Tips for Making PDFs Accessible on Mobile Devices

Key Takeaways

  1. Mobile accessibility is important to ensure equal access to digital content for people with disabilities who use mobile devices.
  2. Mobile devices present unique challenges, such as touchscreens and reduced screen size, that require a different approach to accessibility.
  3. Common mobile accessibility issues include visibility, operation, and understanding.
  4. Making PDFs accessible to screen readers is critical to ensuring visually impaired users can access content on mobile devices.
  5. Proper document structure, alt-text for images, descriptive link text, and accessible fonts are essential for accessible PDFs.
  6. Ensuring mobile accessibility can benefit businesses by increasing their reach and improving customer satisfaction.

Introduction

Mobile accessibility is essential to developing user-friendly mobile applications for people with disabilities. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) defines mobile accessibility as making applications accessible to users with disabilities when using mobile devices. However, many organizations overlook the importance of mobile accessibility, and developers and product teams may not realize how much of it applies to people with disabilities.

Research shows that 70% of individuals with visual impairment who use screen readers do so on mobile devices for internet browsing. Therefore, incorporating features such as voice recognition and custom view controls into mobile app design can provide users with disabilities access to the same information and experiences as those without disabilities. This article will explore the importance of mobile accessibility testing and some best practices to ensure barrier-free mobile technology for people with disabilities.

What is mobile accessibility, and why is it important?

Mobile accessibility is the practice of designing mobile apps and websites to allow people with disabilities to access them using mobile devices. Mobile accessibility is crucial in today’s digital world, as many people, including those with disabilities, use mobile devices to access and create digital content.
Here are some key points that explain why mobile accessibility is essential:
  1. Accessibility for all: Mobile accessibility ensures everyone can access digital content, regardless of physical or cognitive abilities. It provides equal access to information and services, allowing people with disabilities to participate fully in the digital world.
  2. Increasing mobile usage: A study conducted in 2015-16 found that 91% of people with disabilities use a smartphone or tablet. Mobile accessibility is essential to reach a wider audience and ensure that all users can access and use digital content on the go.
  3. Unique challenges: Mobile devices present unique challenges that require a unique approach, such as touchscreens, use in different settings, and reduced screen size.
  4. Legal requirements: Many countries have laws and regulations that require digital content to be accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. Failure to comply with these laws can result in legal action and penalties.
  5. Business benefits: Ensuring mobile accessibility can benefit businesses by increasing their reach and improving customer satisfaction. Making digital content accessible to all users can enhance a brand’s reputation and help companies stand out.

Common Mobile Accessibility Issues

When developing mobile apps, accessibility issues for people with disabilities must be considered during the design and implementation phases. Ensuring accessible PDFs for mobile devices is also important.
Some typical accessibility issues that can prevent users with disabilities from using your app are:

Visibility

Reading content on a small screen can be challenging for people with vision impairments. To make content more accessible, you can customize it by reducing the number of images on smaller screens, resizing the text, setting default minimum sizes for buttons and text, and hiding menus on narrow screens. Higher contrasts can also be used to make the font more readable, and following web accessibility standards can provide alternatives, such as verbal narratives, to visual cues.

Operation

People with movement and agility challenges may need help to perform small actions on a mobile device. To make the content and design easier to handle on mobile, button sizes should be considered so that users can easily select the correct item. Customizing and simplifying gestures can also improve the mobile experience. The interactive elements and buttons should be placed within reach, regardless of whether the user holds the device in their right or left hand.

Understanding

It is important to make content easier to understand for users with learning disabilities on mobile devices. To facilitate navigation for users with learning disabilities and cognitive impairments, keep the layout and UI consistent across all pages and place the necessary information at the top. Additionally, it is essential to make it easier for people to enter information using touch, speech, external keyboards, and on-screen keyboards and controls. Reducing the use of text by providing checkboxes and radio buttons, select menus, and automatic data entry for available information can also be helpful.

Tips for Making Accessible PDFs for Mobile Device

With the widespread use of mobile devices, it has become increasingly important to ensure that PDF documents are accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. In particular, making PDFs accessible to screen readers is critical to ensuring that visually impaired users can access the content.

Here are some tips to help make your PDFs accessible for mobile devices:

Use Proper Document Structure and Reading Order

The proper document structure is essential to provide context and ensure that PDFs are accessible to screen readers. Remediated PDFs allow screen readers to interpret the content accurately, making it easier for users to navigate it if it is in a logical order.

Add Alt-text to Images

Including alt-text on a website or document and images ensures that screen readers can accurately dictate the image description for people with impaired vision. Alt-text for images also offers keyword-rich context, making it easier for users who are searching online to find relevant information quickly.

Use Descriptive Link Text

When adding links to a PDF, it is essential to use descriptive link text that is recognized by keyboard and assistive technology users. This text should describe the link’s destination and give users an idea of what to expect when clicking it.

Ensure Adequate Text Size

The ideal PDF text size is 16 pixels, making it easily readable on a mobile device. If the font size is smaller, it will be difficult for users to read, and they will likely zoom in to read the text.

Use Accessible Fonts

Simple fonts with readable Unicode characters make your PDFs accessible to all users, including those using screen readers. Avoid using fonts that are difficult to read or unavailable on all devices.

Use High-Contrast Colors

Improving the background and foreground text colors within a PDF will increase accessibility. Maintaining a balance between light and dark colors is important when selecting contrasting colors for a PDF document for mobile devices. Color contrast for accessibility creates a user-friendly experience for people with disabilities, making it easier for everyone to read and understand information, regardless of their disabilities.

Use Tables Carefully

If tables are used, make sure to format them to make them accessible and easy to read on a mobile device by everyone, including people with visual impairments.

Consider Adding Audio Descriptions

Audio accessibility is critical to ensure that audio content is accessible to everyone, including individuals with hearing disabilities. Therefore, audio descriptions should be implemented, as they explain the visual content for users who cannot see it.

Test the PDF on Mobile Devices

Testing the PDF on various mobile devices with different screen sizes and operating systems is essential to ensure it is accessible to all users. By implementing these tips, you can ensure that your PDFs are accessible to screen readers and that everyone can access the content on their mobile devices.

How can PREP help in PDF Remediation?

PREP is an advanced artificial intelligence (AI)-powered document remediation platform that can help businesses and organizations achieve complete ADA and WCAG compliance. With its sophisticated auto-tag detection feature, PREP can quickly tag even complex documents, reducing manual time and providing exponential savings.

PREP is a unique one-stop solution that addresses multiple document formats and user needs. Its user-friendly design makes the experience easy, simple, and affordable while offering scalable solutions for accessibility no matter what industry your business belongs to.

Powered by sophisticated AI-based auto-tag detection, PREP’s document remediation software accelerates the time-consuming and tedious process of tagging nested lists and table of contents (TOC), saving you more than 60% turnaround time. It can also deliver exponential cost savings by reducing the manual time spent in document remediation, making it a valuable tool for businesses and organizations.

PREP’s cloud-based platform allows easy access at any time, from anywhere, simply by using a browser. New features are available instantly through automatic upgrades, and its collaboration features accelerate accessibility by empowering teams to work on large documents or high-priority accessibility projects.
In addition, PREP’s remediation output is also 100% compliant with ADA regulations and WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines, promoting accessibility initiatives and improving engagement while avoiding lawsuits. Its human-centered design makes it easy for beginners, part-time employees, or new users to start instantly without prior remediation knowledge.

Final Thoughts

Mobile devices have become the preferred way for users to access digital content, surpassing traditional wired computers. Businesses must ensure that their PDF documents are accessible on mobile devices so all users, including those with disabilities, can access the content. By adhering to WCAG accessibility standards, businesses can create a more inclusive web presence and reach a wider audience of 1.85 billion people worldwide with some form of disability.

To ensure that PDF documents are fully accessible to people with disabilities, businesses can leverage tools like PREP. PREP is an advanced AI-powered document remediation platform that can help companies achieve complete ADA and WCAG compliance. Its auto-tag detection feature can quickly tag even complex documents, reducing manual time and providing exponential savings. Its user-friendly design makes it easy for businesses to improve their accessibility efforts without needing prior remediation knowledge.

If you are looking for a trusted accessibility partner and want to explore how PREP can accelerate your accessibility goals, register for a free demo today! Visit our page PREP: Document Remediation Software.

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Editors:

Debangku Sarma

Digital Marketing Associate
Continual Engine

Vijayshree Vethantham

Senior Vice-President, Growth & Strategy
Continual Engine US LLC

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