“Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.” – §1194.22(d)

Why it matters

While PDF doesn’t use style sheets, this checkpoint is universally understood as requiring that content appear in a logical reading order when presented by assistive technologies.

EXAMPLE: Sentences and even words can be garbled, with characters and words – and occasionally paragraphs and headings – out of order.
RESOLUTION: Re-order tags in the tags tree and text runs within tags to ensure assistive technologies read them in a logical manner. 

While presenting content in the right order doesn’t seem like too much to ask, the PDF format has some distinct features that can made ensuring readability a challenge in some cases. In addition, not all software can read PDF tags.

For the greatest accessibility for the broadest range of software, content order should be aligned with the logical order defined by tags to the extent possible. CommonLook PDF provides this functionality.

What happens when I verify this Checkpoint?

You can either review the tags in the logical structure editor or walk the reading order using Verify and Remediate, Section 508 or OK Standards modes.

When to Pass or Fail this Checkpoint?

Pass The logical reading order matches the page’s content.
Fail The logical reading order does not match the page’s content.
Remediation Adjust the text runs and tags in the Logical Structure Editor.

Checkpoint Type

This checkpoint is partially automated.

Lightbulb icon. The Logical Structure Editor can also be invoked directly by clicking the Plug-Ins > CommonLook PDF > Logical Structure Editor menu item within Acrobat.

If you start up the Logical Structure Editor directly (instead of via Verify and Remediate), you can edit the structure but you will not be able to assign a Pass/Fail status to the Readability checkpoint.

Verify and Remediate: Walk the reading order

To review the content reading order, double click the readability issue on the Issues tab and CommonLook PDF will begin highlighting each element in the order of presentation. You can adjust the reading speed by changing the value in the Speed dialogue box.

Once completed, the Verify and Remediate mode will ask you if the logical structure (reading order) on the page corresponds to the reading order on the physical page. The appropriate answers are as follows:

  • If you answer Yes the Readability checkpoint will get a value of Passed for the page.
  • If you answer No you can then choose whether or not to set the status to failed.
  • If you are simply reviewing the file for errors, select Yes so a report can be generated listing pages with invalid reading orders for later remediation.
  • If you are the Remediator and you plan to fix the reading order problem immediately, select No and proceed to fix the reading order in the Logical Structure Editor.

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