Overview of Technologies and Formats

Different technologies and document formats offer varying levels of accessibility and ease of access for all users. Some issues to consider for each technology and document format are the following.

  • How much accessibility support is built-in?
  • How many different types of devices and platforms support it?
  • How easy is it to make the content accessible and maintain its accessibility over time?

For content that is primarily text and graphics based, the following list orders the most common file formats in terms of their accessibility support and maintenance from the most accessible to the least accessible.

  1. HTML
  2. Office Documents
  3. PDF

Note: You don’t have to provide your content in a single format. You do have the option of providing content in multiple formats and allowing the user to choose which format they would like to interact with. Some formats are more accessible than others and this might help your users. Doing this requires extra work and maintenance on your part, but that might be a trade off you are willing to make in order to achieve a certain goal.

Techniques for creating technology-specific accessible content are given later in this guide.