[Athen] Making accessible info with InDesign?

Dan Comden danc at uw.edu
Mon May 10 11:12:06 PDT 2021

Adobe has had over 20 years to figure out how to make the PDF process and
products accessible. After all this time, it is difficult to come to any
conclusion other than the company does not really care about accessibility.

On Mon, May 10, 2021 at 7:22 AM Susan Kelmer <Susan.Kelmer at colorado.edu>

> Okay, to be fair...


> InDesign is for laying out material. It is what Adobe Pagemaker used to

> be (for those of you who have been around a while). You make text boxes

> and add pictures and manipulate layout, and come up with a file that can be

> printed onto paper. Ala 1990. InDesign and Pagemaker were a replacement

> for the manual labor of physically creating the paper print using exacto

> knives and glue and light boards (for those that have been around even

> longer). In operation, it is not intended to be a program that provides

> all that accessibility for the outputted file. I do not fault Adobe for

> this. There is, as far as I know, NO program that will do this completely

> effectively.


> If you want to have an accessible output, you will have to do what you've

> always done - work it out in Adobe Acrobat Pro on the completed file.

> InDesign is not a text-based program, like Word is. Word is easy to output

> into a reasonably accessible PDF. InDesign was never intended for that

> purpose, and runs on an old Pagemaker backbone that would have to be

> written from the ground up.


> And the only way for that to be a priority for companies like Adobe is if

> there is money in it. No one is clamoring to Adobe to make InDesign

> produce accessible PDFs. Until they are, that won't change.


> Susan Kelmer

> Alternate Format Production Program Manager

> Disability Services

> Division of Student Affairs

> T 303 735 4836

> www.colorado.edu/disabilityservices


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-*- Dan Comden danc at uw.edu <danc at washington.edu>
Access Technology Center www.uw.edu/itconnect/accessibility/atl/
University of Washington UW Information Technology
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