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PDFs and accessibility

Proposal No: 3234

Bios & Handouts


  • Gian Wild, Ms, AccessibilityOz

Disability Area:          

Topic Area:                  

Length of Session (in hours): 1-hrFormat: Lecture Expertise Level: All Levels Type of session: Not provided

Summary of Session

Are PDFs inaccessible? If so, why? Do people really prefer PDFs over HTML? Aren't there always going to be times when you have to put a PDF up? Whether it be for security reasons, brand purposes or because it's just easy? Gian answers these questions and more.


Gian Wild looks into PDF use in the last year and the experiences of both the general public and people with disabilities. Do people really use PDFs? When given a choice do they prefer HTML? Gian will also talk about how to deal with the legacy PDF problem. She will explain how sometimes the best solution is not to make all your PDFs accessible, especially when resources are limited, and more importantly, how to meet accessibility requirements with thousands of untagged PDFs on your site.


  1. PDFs are not accessible
  2. People prefer HTML over PDF
  3. There are no valid reasons as to why a PDF is preferable to HTML

Speaker Bio(s)

Gian Wild

Gian works in the area of web accessibility: making sure web sites and mobile apps can be used by people with disabilities. She spent six years contributing to the international set of web accessibility guidelines used around the world and is also the CEO and Founder of AccessibilityOz. With offices in Australia and the United States, AccessibilityOz has been operating for five years. Its clients include the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Optus, Seek and Foxtel. A 2017 Australian of the Year award nominee, Gian splits her time between Australia the US. A regular speaker at conferences around the world, in 2015 she presented to the United Nations on the importance of web accessibility at the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


Download PDF accessibility (PowerPoint, 25 MB) or view PDF accessibility on Prezentt