Make Illustrator PDFs more automatically accessible
Accessibility is incredibly important. Obviously Adobe wants to help but it is incredibly limited in Illustrator. If you supply multiple artboards, character and paragraph styles and great text placement options, you should make the PDF export carry those options through. What's the point of using InDesign when you only have two pages? Who needs to files for every project?
Bevi Chagnon | PubCom.com commented
This is a critical need for graphic designers.
Please add accessibility tools/features to Illustrator so that:
1. It will export to an accessible PDF/UA-1 compliant PDF with live machine-readable text, tags, Alt-text on individual graphic elements, File Info metadata, and reading order.
2. All of these accessibility features will be retained when an AI file is imported into InDesign for a larger sized document. Must retain the live machine-readable text, tags, Alt-text on individual elements, and reading order. (At this time, AI files become static graphics when imported into InDesign and they lose their live text and all capability of being fully PDF/UA-1 compliant.)
This is extremely critical for info graphics, maps, posters, technical drawings, and similar complex graphics.
I vote YES! Accessibility features in Illustrator are an essential need for the many reasons listed in prior comments.
David Swisher commented
I agree that this is an essential need. While InDesign is the natural solution for page layouts and Illustrator is often seen as just a tool for creating drawings that get placed within InDesign (and thus wouldn't need accessibility), the reality is that LOTS of illustrations ranging from infographics to maps to charts to explanatory graphics are best designed in Illustrator natively and NOT in InDesign.
In both higher education and government, making all documents accessible is a mandate. It's also fundamental to UDL and a general expectation most places, whether or not it's a requirement.
It requires quite a bit of post-production editing to tag PDFs with accessibility features that Illustrator ought to be able to handle natively. Further, for many projects (especially those mentioned above), it makes zero sense to build a page structure in InDesign just to enable accessibility when 95% or more of the illustration is done in Illustrator. Doing so is essentially a workaround to what really ought to be a core function.
Likewise, yes, we can add tags in Acrobat to enable accessibility on the post-production side, but if ANYTHING changes in the original and needs to be updated, all of that post-production work in Acrobat has to be re-done on a newly-exported PDF. This makes it an inefficient workaround, not a legitimate solution.
Illustrator needs this tagging for accessibility functionality natively.
I agree with the original post. My designs are required to pass the Adobe Accessibility Check in Acrobat, but Illustrator gives me no options to do this.
For a one-page flyer, it is too cumbersome to create flyer in Illustrator, strip it of all its text, and then re-add add the text again in InDesign just so the text passes the Accessibility check. And if the layout changes from that version due to revisions, I then have to juggle half of the layout in Illustrator and the other half in InDesign.
I should be able to tag and export a PDF from Illustrator that passes the Acrobat Accessibility check.
DC Carr commented
I was just handed a PDF poster that was created in Illustrator. Looks like there are no features here to meet WCAG, PDF/UA, or 508 compliance? These sure would be wonderful. In order to use this product, I would need the doc to pass Matterhorn Protocol checkpoints. Doing all of this in Acrobat would be a real pain, so I'm just not going to use the product. Would love to have more Illustrator options in the future for tagging and other accessibility needs, please!
Mark Wahlsten commented
This would be incredibly useful for infographics and diagrams.
Currently only option is to export ai files as a flattened raster image (and manually write Actual Text for it) before creating the final PDF in InDesign, otherwise screen readers try and read the diagram text in it (and terribly).
This isn't a workable solution though, because asking the engineers to write a paragraph of Actual Text in addition to every diagram they create isn't a feasible request to make. (Arguably it would be best-practice, but it's just not something they have time to do, and I'm not really in a position to make demands)
Yes, I'd like to see the same robust accessible options available. I produce Scientific posters etc. using Illustrator for the Federal Government and have to manually produce accessible content after exporting to illustrator which by the way some times applies correctly but most of the time there are issues especially when you have a background image.