Overview of Accessible PDFs and WebPubs


ICI disseminates hundreds of products each year. Historically, much of our work has been created as PDFs. PDFs have been the standard in higher education for many years. As our lives move more and more online, it has become apparent that PDFs have been excluding people. There’s more awareness about the inaccessibility of PDFs and how that effects people trying to access information. What’s a person to do?


ICI has two primary solutions for your document dissemination needs: accessible PDFs and web publications (WebPubs).

Accessible PDFs

Accessible PDFs are PDFs that have accessibility strategies applied when they are created. Some of these strategies include appropriate heading structure, tag structure, table structure, and color contrast. Making accessible PDFs requires a person trained in PDF accessibility to assess the document and ensure it is meeting accessibility standards before it heads out the doors of ICI.  


WebPub stands for web publication. WebPubs are designed on a foundation of inclusion. WebPubs have built in accessibility components that make them accessible to users with a wide variety of disabilities including auditory, visual, motor, physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities. WebPubs are created on the web and live on the web. 

How to Use This Resource

As an institute that focuses on inclusion, we want to make sure everyone is able to choose the right type of dissemination format for their needs. This resource is designed to help you decide between using an accessible PDF, a WebPub, or both.

Help Me! 

If you’d rather chat about why you’d choose an accessible PDF or a WebPub, you can schedule a consultation by emailing iciwebhelp@umn.edu. We're happy to help!