Accessibility in Adobe RoboHelp

Introduction

Accessibility refers to making products usable for people with visual, auditory, motor, and other disabilities. 

Examples of accessibility features for software products include screen reader support, text equivalents for graphics, keyboard shortcuts, and change of display colors to high contrast.  

The current support for accessibility is detailed in the RoboHelp Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR).

The ACR describes accessibility compliance for RoboHelp according to Section 508, EN 301 549, and WCAG 2.0/2.1. 

It can be used as a reference when creating accessible knowledge-based content with RoboHelp and is also provided for 508 compliance verification.

You can create output that is compliant with Section 508 for users who have visual or hearing impairments, mobility impairments, or other types of disabilities. You can also take steps at the design level to remove obstacles for people with disabilities viewing your Adobe RoboHelp projects.  

These solutions support government agencies in meeting their users’ needs through Section 508 compliance, as well as companies who are committed to improving accessibility.

Worldwide accessibility standards

Many countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, and countries in the European Union, have adopted accessibility standards based on those developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). W3C publishes the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, a document that prioritizes actions designers should take to make web content accessible. For information about the Web Accessibility Initiative, see the W3C website at www.w3.org/WAI

In the United States, the law that governs accessibility is commonly known as Section 508, which is an amendment to the U.S. Rehabilitation Act. Section 508 prohibits federal agencies from buying, developing, maintaining, or using electronic technology that is not accessible to those with disabilities. In addition to mandating standards, Section 508 allows government employees and the public to sue agencies in federal court for noncompliance. 

What is Section 508- compliance? 

Section 508 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requiring that federal agencies develop, maintain, acquire, or use electronic and information technology to make the systems accessible to people with disabilities. The most recent (1998) version of Section 508 establishes enforceable, government-wide standards.

What does accessible mean?

In general, an information technology system is accessible for people with disabilities if it can be used in various ways that do not depend on a single sense or ability. For example, users should be able to navigate with a keyboard, in addition to a mouse (not with a mouse only). Also, the visual and auditory elements of a user interface must accommodate both hearing-impaired and visually impaired users.

What other types of assistive software do end users need? 

Screen readers or text-to-speech utilities (which read the contents of the active window, menu options, or text you have typed) and screen review aids translate onscreen text to speech or to a dynamic, refreshable, Braille display. This assistive technology can provide keyboard assistance or shortcuts, captions for speech and sound, and visual warnings such as flashing toolbars. Tools available include Windows Eye and JAWS.

Adobe RoboHelp accessibility web page

For the latest information on creating and viewing accessible Adobe RoboHelp content, visit the Adobe RoboHelp Accessibility Overview page on the Adobe website.

Create accessible content in RoboHelp

Create 508-compliant projects

Create an Adobe RoboHelp project using the Section 508 option to view and test the output. Generating the Adobe RoboHelp project updates source files containing information about your project and creates output files that you can publish for users. Read the tips for authoring and use the following procedure.

In RoboHelp, you can generate the following output:

  • HTML Frameless
  • Microsoft HTML Help
  • EPUB

For more information on generating output in RoboHelp, see Generate output.

In newer versions of RoboHelp, the output is Section 508-compliant.

If you are using RoboHelp, use these tips to create accessible web output, such as, Frameless and Responsive HTML.

  • Give your project a meaningful title.
  • For users with hearing impairment, ensure that the WebHelp contains text equivalent, for example, captions, subtitles, or screen tips, for audio element.
  • Ensure that color is not the only means of conveying information. For example, if you use blue to indicate active links, also use bold, italics, underlining, or some other visual clue. In addition, make sure that foreground and background contrast sufficiently to make text readable by people with low vision or color blindness.
  • Use screen tips on buttons in forms.
  • For users with either visual or mobility impairment, ensure that controls are device independent or accessible by keyboard.
  • Create screen tips (or "text labels") for any images and image maps that you add to topics so that assistive software can read the images and image link.
  • Document keyboard shortcuts and other methods of accessibility (for example, see the keyboard shortcuts for using the WYSIWYG Editor).

For more information, see Accessibility best practices in Adobe RoboHelp.

Support for screen readers and screen magnifiers

A screen reader recites text that appears on the computer screen. It also reads non-textual information, such as button labels and image descriptions in the application, provided in accessibility tags or attributes. 

RoboHelp offers limited support for assistive technologies (which includes screen readers and screen magnifiers).

Adobe RoboHelp supports the following screen readers:

  • JAWS + Firefox
  • NVDA + Chrome
  • Voiceover + Safari

Support for Keyboard navigation

Users can use the Tab and arrow keys to navigate through the pages. This helps users navigate elements on the page and read content using a screen reader. 

Support for color contrast

Adobe RoboHelp supports 3:1 color contrast for User Interface controls and 4.5:1 for text-based content and graphics. 

Visit Adobe RoboHelp Accessibility Conformance report to know the details of Adobe RoboHelp’s support for above capabilities. 

Accessibility support for specific needs

Let’s look at the accessibility features that users can utilize based on their specific needs.

Users who are blind or with low vision

  • Use of screen readers like NVDA or JAWS to read out the information on the web page. 
  • Use of keyboard to navigate through the web page.
  • Use of screen magnifiers to zoom the screen to improve readability.
  • Color contrast conforming to WCAG standards.
  • All fields have visible labels or instructive text.

Users with photosensitive epilepsy

Adobe RoboHelp does not contain content which may trigger seizures.

Users who have difficulty with color perception

Adobe RoboHelp strives to provide users with a User Interface that is clear and readable in accordance with WCAG 2.1 standards.

Users with limited reach

Adobe RoboHelp intends to be functional with limited reach by providing comprehensive support for keyboard users. 

Accessibility (Section 508 compliance) enhancements in RoboHelp (2020 release) Update 4

We've enhanced features that are related to accessibility. Most of the features are a part of the new improved, more Section 508-compliant User Interface. Some of them are:

  • Navigation using Tab, Shift + Tab, Arrow, and Enter keys.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for context menu.
  • Alt key support for main menu.
  • Improved color contrast for highlight colors.

What will be addressed in a future release

There will be further enhancements to the following:

  • Section 508 compliance of Frameless output, HTML5 output, and PDF output.
  • Section 508 compliance of the authoring application and other areas.
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