What is the impact of conditional processing on assistive technologies (e.g., screen readers) in DITA outputs?

Understanding the impact of conditional processing on assistive technologies, such as screen readers, is vital when working with DITA outputs. While conditional processing allows for tailored content delivery, it can present challenges for users relying on assistive technologies for accessibility. Here are some key considerations and strategies to address the impact:

Hidden Content Accessibility

Conditional processing often involves hiding or filtering content based on certain conditions. While this can be beneficial for customization, it can lead to issues for screen reader users. Content that is hidden or filtered may not be accessible to these users, potentially causing information gaps. To mitigate this, it’s essential to ensure that hidden or filtered content remains accessible. For example, providing alternative text for images that may be hidden ensures that screen reader users receive the necessary information even when the visual content is not displayed.

Logical Content Structuring

Screen readers rely on logical content structuring to interpret and present information to users. When using conditional processing, it’s important to maintain logical structuring. Ensure that the order of content remains coherent and that content specific to certain conditions is appropriately marked. Consistent labeling and structuring help screen readers navigate through the content effectively, providing a better user experience for individuals with disabilities.


Here’s an example of addressing the impact of conditional processing on screen readers:

<condition id="condition-a">Condition A</condition>
<condition id="condition-b">Condition B</condition>
<para conref="content.dita" conkeyref="condition-a condition-b"/>

In this example, conditional content from “content.dita” is referenced with conditions “condition-a” and “condition-b.” To ensure accessibility, ensure that each condition is accompanied by clear labeling and logical structuring within the referenced content. This approach helps screen readers understand the conditional content and provide a more accessible experience for all users.