Accessible Documents and Forms

The BITV-requirements (BITV 2.0 and WCAG) also apply to documents, PDF-files and forms and are especially important in the public sector. To facilitate the implementation of digital accessibility, you can access an overview and two guidelines in the following which contain the key points of the WCAG-standards for creating accessible documents and forms.

Accessible documents

These comprise in particular of accessible Word and PDF-files. The PDF-files are part of the web presence and thus need to be accessible according to the deadlines. PDF-files created before September 2018 are exempt: Unless they are essential to active administrative procedures, they do not need to be made accessible retroactively.

The 10 most important steps to creating these documents:

  • Working with style sheets,
  • Indicating document information (“File”, then “Properties” to e.g. Indicate a title, an author or a comment),
  • Adding alternative texts for illustrations,
  • Adjusting hyperlinks,
  • Preferred use of black-and-white contrasts (pictures with a high contrast difference),
  • Using fonts like Arial,
  • Indentation by using the tabulator key and creation of page breaks by CTRL+Enter,
  • Setting the right document language (e.g. English (United States)),
  • Checking the accessibility (“Review”, then “Check Accessibility”),
  • Possibly converting the file to PDF (for a better online depiction).

Here is a checklist for creating accessible documents: Checklist_accessible_documents

Accessible forms

In general, forms can be created using Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat DC. Thus, the following information is based on the document “Checklist_accessible_documents”. There are also forms which are directly integrated in the website or which are of a different origin. However, the same criteria apply to all forms.

Forms are particularly accessible if:

  • They are structured clearly.
  • They clearly indicate what the user is supposed to insert.
  • The texts and/or designs stay the same for the same functions on the website.
  • Mandatory and input fields were identified by text and a given value range.
  • There is no time limit for the completion of the form.
  • Every form can be completely operated via keyboard.
  • They offer the chance to check the inserted data before submitting the form.

Here is a checklist for creating accessible forms: Checklist_accessible_forms

To check the accessibility of PDF-files in accordance with the Universal Accessibility Guideline (UA, a substandard of the PDF-standard ISP 32000-1), you can use the complimentary tool “PAC 3”.