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Accessibility in InDesign and Illustrator

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Last Modified: 2017-07-31
We have a 12 page InDesign CS6 file made up of 6 placed Illustrator CS6 files. We need to produce accessible PDFs which pass checks in Adobe Acrobat XI. While we can tag the documents to pass basic tests, there are many vector infographics that need alt tags. If I fix these in Acrobat, this will need to be done every time the source document is changed. I tried converting the Illustrator file to InDesign, and it changed the text into outlined graphics. I have seen utilities you can buy, but is there any way to automate the process. My ultimate goal would be to have the documents first past Acrobat XI's Accessibility Checker tests with default settings, then to bring them as close to WCAG 2.0 AA (see w3c.org for details) as possible. Thanks, Terri.
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Dan CraciunIT Consultant
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Commented:
I there a reason why you're doing the layout in Illustrator?

Since you're using Indesign anyway, why not do the layout there and import only the artwork from Illustrator? Then you can make sure any element on the page is OK before doing the export to PDF.

HTH,
Dan

Author

Commented:
Hi Dan,

A design agency supplied the Illustrator files to our In-house designer who put them into a multi-page format using InDesign. This is not a project I have been working on as a designer, although I have InDesign and Illustrator experience. I have been asked to assist in posting them onto the website, and as part of my role in supporting the users of the cms and improving the  accessibility of the website I checked the documents and found they had issues. Are you saying that the only way to make them accessible is to recreate the artwork in InDesign? Of course my advice is to build in accessibility from the start, but this is an existing asset.
Dan CraciunIT Consultant
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
You might make the document accessible as-is, from the exported pdf, but for any changes you'll need to redo the work.

Indesign allows you to simply replace a graphic element, keeping the alt tag.

Just saying that recreating the layout might save some headaches down the line.

<rant>Illustrator is meant for vector work, Indesign for layouts. Why is this so hard for 'creatives' to understand?</rant>

Author

Commented:
I wish Adobe cared enough about accessibility to make the process easy. If I try to convert the Illustrator file I have to repaste and reformat all the text. I think that creatives have not come to grips with accessibility either, but it's here to stay, especially for govt work. So, thanks for trying but unfortunately no answer beyond what I have come up with already myself. I have been able to create a tagged document from the text in this file, but I still need to put alt tags on the graphics, so there's no solution for me it seems.