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Artificial Intelligence: An Asset for Compliance with the PDF Accessibility Standards

Written by: Mandar

Jul 03, 2024

Artificial Intelligence: An asset for compliance with the PDF accessibility standards

The accessibility of PDF documents has become a significant concern both legally and ethically. The PDF/UA (Universal Accessibility) standard, also known as ISO 14289, is essential for ensuring that PDF documents are accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. This article aims to explore how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can facilitate compliance with the PDF/UA standard


Click to jump ahead:

What is PDF accessibility?

What is it?

PDF accessibility refers to the process of making PDF documents usable by individuals with various disabilities. This involves ensuring that the content within a PDF is structured in a way that screen readers and other assistive technologies can accurately interpret. The main goal is to provide an equitable reading experience for all users.

How it works?

PDF accessibility involves several key elements:

  • Tagging: Properly tagging elements such as headings, lists, and tables to ensure correct reading order.
  • Alternative text (ALT Text): Providing descriptive text for images and other non-text elements.
  • Navigation: Ensuring that the document is navigable with bookmarks and logical structure elements.

Who is concerned?

Everyone benefits from accessible PDFs, particularly individuals with visual, auditory, cognitive, and motor impairments. Organizations also benefit by adhering to legal requirements and promoting inclusivity.

The PDF accessibility standards: definition and issues

Definition of the PDF/UA standard and ISO 14289

PDF/UA is a subset of the PDF standard that ensures documents are universally accessible. ISO 14289 provides detailed guidelines for creating accessible PDF documents, covering elements such as text semantics, document structure, and metadata.

Importance of PDF document accessibility

Accessible PDF documents allow all users to access information, regardless of their abilities. This is crucial for educational materials, official documents, and any content intended for public consumption.

Legal and ethical issues related to PDF/UA compliance

Non-compliance with PDF/UA standards can lead to legal ramifications under laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Ethically, providing accessible documents promotes inclusivity and equal access to information.

Applications of AI for PDF/UA compliance

Automatic analysis and correction of tagging errors

AI can automatically detect and correct tagging errors in PDF documents, ensuring that the structure is correctly interpreted by assistive technologies.

Enhanced Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for texts and images

AI-driven OCR technologies can improve the accuracy of text recognition in scanned documents, making them more accessible.

Automatic generation of text descriptions for images (ALT text)

AI can generate descriptive ALT text for images, providing essential information for users who rely on screen readers.

With Venngage’s AI-powered alt-text generator, you can easily add alt-text to your images, charts, and maps.


Verification and adjustment of document structures for easier navigation

AI can verify and adjust the document structure to enhance navigability, ensuring that users can easily move through the document using assistive technologies.

Verification and adjustment of document structures for easier navigation

How to treat different document volumes with AI?

Managing large volumes of documents: Automation and efficiency gains 

For organizations dealing with large volumes of documents, AI-driven solutions like PDF SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms, such as DocAxess, can automate and streamline the accessibility remediation process.

Using AI to treat different document volumes

Processing low volumes of documents: Customization and precision 

For smaller volumes, AI can provide customized solutions that focus on precision and detailed remediation. PDF SaaS services or custom DocAxess solutions can address specific accessibility needs.

Using Venngage to help create documents from start

Venngage can be used to create accessible documents from the beginning, ensuring that new documents meet PDF/UA standards right from their creation.

Some of Venngage’s key features include:

  • AI-Powered Alt Text Generator – Effortlessly enhance accessibility with our AI-Generated Alt Text. Ensure your visuals have clear descriptions with the click of a button.
  • Color Contrast Checker – Easily assess and enhance color contrast in real-time with our Color Contrast Checker, built right in the editor.
  • Accessibility checker – Our built-in checker automatically detects compliance issues and allows you to edit the order in which your document is read.
  • Default tagging for text elements – To make designs created on the platform less prone to omissions related to accessibility, all text elements are tagged against their descriptors by default, while also providing users the ability to change the tags. 

How to select the right PDF Remediation software?

Advantages and limitations of AI for PDF/UA compliance


  • Time savings: AI can significantly reduce the time required to remediate documents.
  • Accuracy: AI improves the accuracy of tagging and other accessibility features.
  • Cost reduction: Automation can lower the costs associated with manual remediation processes.


Need for human supervision: Despite advancements, AI still requires human oversight to ensure quality. No tool can guarantee 100% compliance of an existing document with AI.

Complexity of certain documents: Some documents may be too complex for AI to handle entirely on its own.

Solutions to overcome current limitations

The combination of AI and expert human intervention can overcome current limitations and ensure high-quality results and usability by people with disabilities. Continuous improvement of AI technologies will also enhance their effectiveness.

DocAxess: An innovative solution for PDF/UA compliance

Introduction to DocAxess and its services

DocAxess offers a complete solution for achieving PDF/UA compliance through the use of advanced AI technologies. DocAxess uses AI to streamline the remediation process, from automatic tagging to ALT text generation and document structure verification.

By offering a complete software suite, every company can find the right solution for their organization. 

Specific advantages of DocAxess: Expertise, cutting-edge technology, personalized support

  • Expertise: Leveraging in-depth sector knowledge and experience in digital accessibility.
  • Cutting-edge technology: Using the latest advances in AI and developing proprietary technology to make it widely available.
  • Customized support: Offering bespoke solutions and support to meet specific customer needs.

Products and services to industrialize PDF remediation 

DocAxess provides scalable solutions to industrialize the PDF remediation process, making it efficient and effective for organizations of all sizes.

To find out more about DocAxess and request a demonstration.


In summary, integrating AI into the PDF/UA compliance process offers many benefits, including time savings, improved accuracy, and reduced costs. However, human supervision remains essential to ensure quality. By adopting AI solutions, organizations can improve their document accessibility efforts, thanks to innovative tools such as DocAxess, which offers comprehensive and effective remediation services, or Venngage and its powerful authoring tools.

Adopt AI-based solutions to meet PDF/UA standards and ensure your documents are accessible to all.