For the 30th anniversary of ADA, Google highlighted various assistive features that it has built into its products. Among the latest features is one that is being added to Chrome and generates tagged PDFs with better accessibility.
Usually when printing a webpage, the 'Save As PDF' option is used to make a local copy. Chrome will upgrade the file being saved to include all the information about its structure that includes headings, lists, tables, paragraphs, and image descriptions. The tagged PDF will have extra metadata this way, which will make it more accessible for users that require a screen reader.
The update will also benefit software that needs to automatically process and extract data from PDFs, hence making its task easier.
Google believes that with the help of this feature in Chrome, organizations will be able to just rely on the web instead of dedicated third-party software. Organizations that already use HTML as part of their document workflow will be able to generate compliant PDFs more easily.
To integrate this new feature into Chrome, Google's Chrome team has worked with CommonLook. The development of the new tool took about 2 years.
The feature can be enabled with the flag chrome://flags/#export-tagged-pdf in version 84 and will be officially launched in late August as part of Chrome 85.