Adobe PDF documents were originally designed to provide a way to graphically render and print a document on a wide variety of operating systems and printers in a consistent way.
To do this the basis of the PDF document is graphical presentation of all the content, including text content.
As PDF format was enhanced the ability to extract the graphical characters as text content was added.
This can be used by search functions and provides the capability to cut and paste content into other applications.
This can also be used by assistive technologies to provide an alternative rendering of the text content.
It is important that the characters used to render the content can be converted to text for alternative rendering.
All the text content therefore must be represented as a font and that font information is available to convert the characters to unicode characters.
Benefits to People with Disabilities
- People with visual impairments and blindess can restyle the text content (i.e. High contrast)
- People who need a speech readering can have the text content read to them
Benefits to Everyone
- People will get more accurate search results when the text content is accurately represented in the document
Benefits to Developers
- Content will be more accurately be represented on the web, increasing the relavence search results to your web resources
Related Accessibility Requirements
- § 1194.22.l When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be identified with functional text that can be read by assistive technology.
Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Standards
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
- 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value: For all user interface components (including but not limited to: form elements, links and components generated by scripts), the name and role can be programmatically determined; states, properties, and values that can be set by the user can be programmatically set; and notification of changes to these items is available to user agents, including assistive technologies.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0