Adobe® RoboHelp® software is a professional authoring tool for developing help systems, eLearning content, knowledgebases, and policies and procedures. Its enhanced editing and layout capabilities enable you to create engaging interactive content and to publish to multiple channels — even as an Adobe AIR™ application — for an integrated online and offline user experience.



Adobe® RoboHelp® helps you to create WebHelp output for users who have visual or hearing impairments, mobility impairments, or other types of disabilities. You can also take steps at a design level to remove obstacles for people with disabilities using your Help system.

These solutions support government agencies in meeting their users' needs through Section 508 compliance, as well as companies who are committed to improving accessibility in their Web-based Help systems.

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.

If you need to make your WebHelp Help system 508 compliant, you should read this topic, read the tips for authoring compliant Help systems, and become familiar with Section 508's requirements.


What does accessible mean?

In general, an information technology system is accessible for people with disabilities if it can be used in a variety of ways that do not depend on a single sense or ability. For example, users should be able to navigate in a WebHelp system 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 does WebHelp do to be Section 508 compliant?

WebHelp output has a Section 508 Compliant option that provides "alt" text (alternative text) for images, dynamic elements, frames, forms, and more. This text allows visually impaired people using a screen review aid (or assistive software) to "hear" where they are in your Help system and to know what buttons they are pushing.

  • In WebHelp Section 508, images that have alt text are TOC books, pages, and the plus/minus icons, TOC/Search/Index/Glossary tabs or panes, navigation buttons (Show, Hide, browse sequences, WebSearch, Sync TOC), and buttons from design-time controls (See Also and Related Topics.)
  • Other elements that have alt text are expanding and drop-down text, triggers and targets, and popups.
  • WebHelp Section 508 navigation frames have "names" and "titles." The title is readable by assistive software.
  • WebHelp Section 508 HTML tables are generated so that row and column headers can be identified by screen review aids.
  • WebHelp Section 508 forms designed to be completed online will be generated and comply with assistive technologies.
  • WebHelp Section 508 does not require speech, or auditory, visual, or mobility ability alone - it can be used by more than one mode of operation and information retrieval. For example, mobility-impaired people can use the keyboard or the mouse, whichever method of navigation works best for them.

What Should WebHelp Authors do?

While WebHelp Section 508 output is compliant for framesets and navigation, you need to make sure you develop Section 508 compliant topics.

For more information, see Adobe RoboHelp Best Practices Overview and Making your WebHelp output accessible.


Export to accessible PDF

RoboHelp 11 can also generate tagged PDF files that are partially accessible with the primary language defined. You can use Adobe Acrobat to complete the process by adding alternative text to images in the PDF file and specifying the language for the PDF file.

To generate accessible PDF files from RoboHelp select File > Generate > PDF from the RoboHelp menu.


Adding alternate text to images

To create accessible content, create alternative text for images so that visually impaired users can access the content through screen readers. If you link or import completed FrameMaker books into RoboHelp for publication, add alternative text to graphics used in the FrameMaker documents. These entries are not visible in PDF files, but they appear in online content when the mouse hovers over the images. See FrameMaker Help to learn about setting alternative text for graphics and images.