What’s your strategy for your accessible documents on your website?
Now that AODA is in full effect for larger organizations (those with over 50 employees), the question of dealing with accessible content is becoming important. And although making documents like PDFs accessible seems a bit daunting, it can be done.
Choosing an approach:
Start with an inventory of the documents you currently have on your site – PDFs, Google docs, etc. The number of documents generally dictates the best approach to take.
PDFs, Spreadsheets and Presentations, oh my!
If every page of your site seems to have a document of some sort on it, you may want to let your analytics determine your best approach. Often times, site owners put documents on their websites thinking they’re beneficial, but if no one, or next to no one, is looking at them, do you really need them on your site?
On the other hand, if your documents are often downloaded you’ll want to find a way to make them accessible. PDF documents can be made accessible, but you’ll need to decide if you’re going to tackle that work in-house or out-source it to an accessible document specialist.
Alternatively, you may decide to convert the content in those PDF documents in to accessible HTML. This can often be a good approach if your website uses a CMS (Content Management System) and you find that the information in those documents changes frequently.
What not to do:
Recently, a North American insurer decided that the best approach to document accessibility was to take all documents off their website.
Solution to AODA requirements? Remove all online documents. http://t.co/uAwPDw0cEU
— Jared Smith (@jared_w_smith) February 15, 2014
While that approach will certainly make it easier to comply with AODA legislation, have you really solved any problems?
Instead of taking the time to make a document accessible, you’ll be making the information inaccessible to everyone: a definite lose-lose result for all.