For many web site developers, the focus of accessibility has been on audio and video. However, other digital content, such as PDFs, presentations, and other materials, continues to be inaccessible. These content issues are widespread, but they are especially acute in education, where much of the course content consists of documents and presentations.
Some of the more significant issues that result in unreadable materials include scanned documents, which screen readers cannot access; presentations that are improperly tagged (some are even read backwards by screen readers); and untagged PDFs that lack any meaningful reading sequence.
The last five years have seen a slight improvement in digital content accessibility, but, according to the National Federation of the Blind, the progress is still “glacial.”
For many institutions, they seem to be waiting it out instead of improving digital content accessibility, hoping never to be involved in litigation. Thankfully, though, others are responding creatively and improving their content accessibility through remediation, through increased accessible HTML content, and through other initiatives, such has hiring personal readers.