Two Text Accessibility Cases: Wrangling PDF Articles and PowerPoint Slideshows for Machine Readability #SIDLIT2019

Presentation Description

Actual accessibility for an online course requires effortful work and the support of the subject matter expert (SME) / instructor. This presentation includes two cases: wrangling a tough PDF to readability through Adobe Photoshop -> (Adobe Acrobat Reader DC vs. Microsoft’s Cognitive Services and its OCR/optical character recognition application). Another case-in-point is how to create an accessible PowerPoint slideshow to enable the built-in Narrator screen reader to see the words in order to read. This presentation introduces the challenges and offers a pseudo- and limited- and effortful- solution which harnesses .jpgs and MS Word as a path to lecture accessibility.

It's one thing to "talk the (accessibility) talk," but the "walking the walk" is costly in knowledge, effort, skill, and time...but necessary. Technology can be brought to bear on some parts of the challenges, but the technology still has its serious limits in many cases...

Multiple Tries
Why Text Accessibility for Online / blended / face-to-face (f2f) learning?
  • Enable learners with visual acuity issues to have accurate text read to them with screen readers
  • And it's the law...

Both articles and slideshows have structure, with the position of text suggesting something of its value and importance in the work. Titles are more important than abstracts which are more important than body text, etc.

Both articles and slideshows have sequence. They are both designed to be consumed and experienced in a particular order. Changing up the order of consumption is possible, but it may confuse the intentions of the original authors and make decoding and sensemaking more difficult.

Most articles and slideshows contain visuals, graphics, and data tables. The text and the visuals should be mutually reinforcing in terms of meaning.

As staples in academia and in research, articles and slideshows have to adhere to the rigorous guidelines for source citations in order to function well (and not incur legal liabilities).

Accessible PDFs

An accessible PDF article has text that is screen-readable by computers.

An accessible PDF article has tagged text (to convey text structure).

An accessible PDF article has an order or a sequence.

An accessible PDF has alt-texted (alternative-texted) imagery.

Accessible PowerPoint Slideshows

The text is recognized by the screen readers.

The imagery all have sufficiently informational alt-text.

Embedded videos are accessible and fully closed captioned (timed text), with 99% accuracy.

Inserted text boxes in PowerPoint slideshows are interpreted as "images" in screen readers, so these should be avoided.

Typical Accessibility Conversion Sequences / Workflows for PDF and PowerPoint Accessibility

Some General Sequences for Accessible PDFs and PowerPoint Slideshows for Screen Reading Readability

some Walk-Throughs

Portable Document Format

General Tips
  • Search for "tags" to open the Tags Panel (to the left)

built-in accessibility capabilities in Adobe Reader DC

Edit -> Accessibility -> Change Reading Options of Current Document
built-in accessibility capabilities in Adobe Acrobat DC

Enhance Scans -> Recognize Text

Visual Snippet Transcoded in MS Cognitive Services - Computer Vision - OCR
Moving from PowerPoint Slides to an Annotated MS Word File...
This is somewhat harder AND MORE TIME-CONSUMING than it looks...but IS important to do...

Some Caveats

Missing fonts are not rendered properly though, so formerly visually readable fonts may be rendered to garble. (This means having an original form and a revised form .pdf or other file may be relevant, so no lossiness occurs during the transcoding to machine-readable / computer-searchable text.)

Dr. Shalin Hai-Jew

  • ITS, Kansas State University
  • 785-532-5262
  • shalin@ksu.edu
Created By
Shalin Hai-Jew

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