Recall, PDF’s found their way into the mainstream to maintain the aesthetics of a layout that would otherwise be difficult to produce on a web page. They preserved the fonts, were fast-loading, printable, and small in size. Now, with ADA compliance becoming necessary, we must reduce the urge to make fancy layouts and focus more on semantics and hierarchy. A screen reader parses a document just like a static web page. If you use a heading 1 first, then a heading 2, then a heading three, it conveys to a screen reader the importance of the content. It also serves it up in a predictable, understandable order. As we make the layout more complex (for example, switch to two columns of text beneath a one column of text above it,) a screen reader now needs to be told the order in which to read that content to its user. So think simple. Your existing PDF’s, like the ones our team pull from your current site and re-link on your new website likely have problems, or at minimum, need to be reviewed. Depending on who you talk to, you will get different answers. Here are the two most common we’ve heard, 

  • The strict response: “You need to unlink everything that is not compliant. Take it all down, review it and only put it back up on your website when it’s compliant.”

  • The casual response: “Don’t worry about it. If you have gone through the effort of making sure your site is navigable by keyboard, all your images have ALT text, links are properly labeled, and not duplicated on your page, your site footer has links to your ADA Policy, and a form to allow someone to submit a complaint and your colors have been adjusted for the visually impaired, then someone would be hard-pressed to file a complaint on a measly PDF”

Campus Suite works ongoing to interpret our best understanding of WCAG 2.0 to our customers and ultimately, the decision is yours. We do handle all the items that we described above in response B for you when we onboard your site, but we leave web forms, video captioning and PDF optimization to you simply because of the amount of data that is generated by a school on a daily basis. But we won’t leave you high and dry! Click each of the links above to go to the pages we will be keep updated with the latest ADA information, including how-to’s and videos.