Automatic checking tools
These tools can help you to identify technical accessibility issues with your resources. They should be used with Checklists to incorporate human judgement. For example they cannot check that images have 'appropriate' alternative text, just that they 'have' alternative text.
Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker
This tool comes with Microsoft Office 2010 and can be found in Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Once run it identifies:
- Errors - given for content which makes a file very difficult or impossible for some disabled people to understand.
- Warnings - given for content that in most, but not all, cases makes a file difficult for disabled people to understand.
- Tips - given for content that disabled people can understand, but that might be better organized or presented in a way that would maximize their experience.
It takes you to the place in the document that the error occurs and provides advice on how to fix it.
For more information on how to use the accessibility checker in Office 2010 take a look at this guide.
Adobe Acrobat Professional, available to install on staff computers from UoD Software as part of the Adobe CS6 Master Collection and also for home use from the Derby Teacher Superstore, provides an excellent tool for checking the accessibility of PDF documents.
Using the Accessibility Checker you can run either a quick or full check to pick up on areas within the document which may cause an issue for disabled students. Take a look at this guide for more information on using the Accessibility Checker in Adobe Acrobat Professional.
Without Adobe Acrobat Professional your options for checking the accessibility of PDFs may be limited. However, if you want to know if there is a problem then you can use the Quick Accessibility Check in Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is installed on most machines.
Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Check
1 - Open the PDF in Adobe Reader.
Microsoft (2013) Check for accessibility issues [online], http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/check-for-accessibility-issues-HA010369192.aspx (accessed 20 January 2013).