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Two hundred portable document format (PDF) articles from four Web of Science‐indexed disability‐related journals were analysed to assess their accessibility. Fifty articles from each journal published between 2014 and 2018 were examined using expert manual inspection, Adobe Acrobat Pro XI, PDF Accessibility Checker 3 and NVDA screen reader. Results show that only 15.5% of the documents were tagged, only 10.5% had alternative text for images, 74.5% had bookmarks to facilitate navigation, and 87% had meaningful titles in their title fields. However, image alternative texts were meaningless, and title fields were not displayed when the document was open. However, all the documents had accessibility permissions enabled; hence, they could be read with Adobe Acrobat Pro XI Read Out Loud feature and NVDA screen reader. All the articles had an alternative HTML version of their full text in the same location on their website as the PDF versions. The inconsistency with which each PDF was produced suggests the need for an improvement in the workflow process to improve accessibility.


Nganji, J.T. (2018). An assessment of the accessibility of PDF versions of selected journal articles published in a WCAG 2.0 era (2014–2018). Learned Publishing 31 (4), 391-401

Julius T. Nganji's Profile


Julius T. Nganji, PhD

Researcher, passionate about digital accessibility & usability and improving user experience.

Adjunct Lecturer

Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto



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