Guide to an Accessible Submission


The Executive Council of SIGCHI, as well as the CHI 2014 Program Committee, have committed to making SIGCHI conferences more inclusive for researchers, practitioners, and educators with disabilities. As part of this, the CHI 2014 conference committee is attempting to improve accessibility in a number of ways: a more accessible web site, a more accessible conference venue, and more accessible mobile apps. As a part of this goal, the CHI 2014 conference committee asks all authors to work on improving the accessibility of their submissions.

For CHI 2014, ensuring that your paper is accessible will not be required. However, in the future, it is expected that this will become a requirement, so we strongly encourage all authors to familiarize themselves with existing guidelines, and to submit an accessible PDF to CHI 2014.

The key thing to remember is that minor enhancements will make a paper far more usable for someone with a print-related disability (such as blindness or low-vision). Improving the accessibility of your submission not only aids readers of your paper, but can assist any potential reviewer with print-related disabilities.


Specifically, we encourage authors to carry out the following five steps:

    In Microsoft Word (Windows Only)
  1. Add alternative text to all figures
  2. Mark table headers
  3. Generate a tagged PDF

  4. In Adobe Acrobat
  5. Verify the default language
  6. Set the tab order of all pages to "Use Document Structure"

After you have completed these steps, you can use the full version of Adobe Acrobat to check the file for accessibility problems. If you don't have the full version of Adobe Acrobat, you can use a free tool, such as the PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC).

Word for Mac

Although steps 1 and 2 can be completed in some versions of Word for Mac, there is no way to generate a tagged PDF using Word for Mac. So any information added in steps 1 and 2 will be lost. Authors therefore have two choices for completing steps 1-3.

The best choice is for authors to open their completed Word file on a Windows machine. Authors can then complete steps 1-3, generating a tagged PDF, using the Windows version of Word.

The other choice is to create an untagged PDF using Word for Mac. Then, within Acrobat, authors can add tags to the PDF. Finally, within Acrobat, authors can add carry out step 1 and step 2.


Unfortunately tools do not yet exist to complete steps 1-3 in LaTeX. Authors using LaTeX will need to first create an untagged PDF. Then, within Acrobat, authors can add tags to the PDF. Finally, within Acrobat, authors can add carry out step 1 and step 2.


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Digital Accessibility Chair, Jonathan Lazar.

Additional Resources

The WebAIM guidelines on PDF accessibility:

The WebAim Guidelines on Creating Accessible Word Documents:

The PDF Techniques for WCAG 2.0:

The SIGACCESS guidelines on making an accessible ACM Conference paper:

Adobe's resource center for PDF accessibility:

Written by Jonathan Lazar and Tovi Grossman. Portions of this guide have drawn on the SIGACCESS guidelines on Creating An Accessible ACM Conference Paper. Originally published on the CHI 2014 website.