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Portrait of Chris Whysong.

Chris Whysong, PHD

IAAP Certified Accessibility Expert

Two images are displayed below. Each image displays a simple PDF document. The visual content of the documents is identical. However, the hidden content is different. Click the play button below the image on the left to hear a screen reader read a regular PDF document that has missing and incorrect accessibility features. Click the play button below the image on the right to hear a screen reader read an accessible PDF document.

Regular (Inaccessible) PDF Document:

Left Image. Image is the same as the Right Image. Image is a screenshot of a PDF document. The document consists of: a title (A Pre-History of Linear B), 3 paragraphs of text, Graphic 1, 1 paragraph of text, Graphic 2, 1 paragraph of text.


Some of this PDF's accessibility problems:

  • Title incorrectly announced as “Heading Level 2.”
  • The word “blank” is announced after Paragraph 3.
  • Reading order is incorrect.
    • Paragraph 4 is read before Image 1 is announced.
  • Images do not have alt text.
    • Image 1 is announced as “Graphic 164.” Image 2 is announced as “Graphic 165.”

Accessible PDF Document:

Right Image. Image is the same as the Left Image. Image is a screenshot of a PDF document. The document consists of: a title (A Pre-History of Linear B), 3 paragraphs of text, Graphic 1, 1 paragraph of text, Graphic 2, 1 paragraph of text.


Accessibility improvements include:

  • Title correctly announced as “Heading Level 1.”
  • The word “blank” is not announced after Paragraph 3.
  • Reading order is correct.
    • Image 1 is announced before Paragraph 4 is read.
  • Images have concise alt text.
    • Each image is announced as a “graphic.” Descriptive alt text is then read.

Chris is an IAAP Certified Accessibility Expert

Logo for the International Association of Accessibility Professionals' CPACC certification