Accessible Documents: Impact for Everyone


By MATP Staff Member Laura Hall

faceless drawing of a person, hands to head, looking at a computer in frustration

Many people believe that providing documents in accessible formats may only affect a few people, and misjudge the importance of creating these documents correctly the first time.  The reality is that inaccessible documentation creates a barrier for people to obtain jobs, benefits, services, medical treatment and a whole host of other things that many take for granted.

Did you know many people have Print Disabilities? Accessible documents provide access to readers with all types of disabilities, not just blindness or low vision – that is a common misunderstanding. Here are some characteristics that can lead to a print disability:

  • Vision Related, Blind, Low Vision, Color Blind, Perceptual
  • Physical: Difficulty lifting, positioning, or holding books and paper and turning pages, navigating a document with fine motor issues
  • Learning Disability/Dyslexia/Processing IssuesCognitive: Unable to read or to gain meaning from standard print materials

Microsoft Word has tools you can use to make sure they can read your documents.  Once you take some initial steps and learn to use these tools, accessible documents will be so much easier! If fact, these tools can make producing all your documents easier and adaptable for future use.

Are your documents accessible?  Interested in learning more?  The Association of Technology Act Program’s (ATAP) webinar on Document Accessibility in Word is a great place to start.


What do you think? Let us know!