Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people who experience disabilities. The concept of accessible design and practice of accessible development ensures both "direct access" (i.e. unassisted) and "indirect access" meaning compatibility with a person's assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers).
The Section 508 Standards of U.S. Access Board are part of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and address access for people with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. They contain technical criteria specific to various types of technologies and performance-based requirements, which focus on functional capabilities of covered products. Specific criteria cover software applications and operating systems, web-based information and applications, computers, telecommunications products, video and multi-media, and self-contained closed products.
The PDF Accessible team at CAE creates accessible PDFs by tagging them as per ADA compliance standards using Adobe Acrobat Professional XI, thus, enabling PDFs readable via the screen readers. PDFs are structured and reading order properly defined. Inserting "alt" tags (alternate texts) for images/figures as per Client instruction is also a part of the Accessibility requirement.
InDesign CC with enhanced feature for creating accessible documents has made the process simpler and fast. This is done by enabling InDesign paragraph styles to get mapped with required PDF tags before exporting to tagged PDFs. The PDFs created out of InDesign are evaluated, repaired, and enhanced for the accessibility in Acrobat XI.
Since 2014 we have been providing accessible PDFs to one of our esteemed client, a US publishing house, for STM books. This has become an absolute requirement as per US Federal Law (Section 508) to aid people with disability to access electronic media with ease.