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Welcome to the November issue of the CommonLook Accessibility Newsletter!

What do the United Nations, retail websites, and the NFB have in common? They’re all topics in CommonLook’s November newsletter!

But first, a major announcement …

We’re excited to be debuting a new software release this month: CommonLook Office GlobalAccess is officially here! The content authoring accessibility tool builds upon its predecessor, CommonLook Office, adding support for a variety of accessibility standards accepted around the globe. Users can now choose to verify Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files against the WCAG 2.0, Section 508, PDF/UA (also referred to as ISO 14289), and HHS standards! Read more and request your free trial.

And, many of us may know about Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) which is held in May of each year, but how many of us have activities planned for the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), taking place in a month’s time on December 3? Read on to learn more about how you can participate.

Plus, an important reminder for those designing retail websites that will eliminate frustration for blind and disabled users when it comes to accessing digital user guides and manuals.

Finally, we’re excited to be sponsoring a couple of great events in the accessibility industry this month: NFB’s Web Accessibility Training Day on November 4 in Baltimore, MD and AHEAD’s Accessing Higher Ground November 16-20 in Westminster, CO. Check out the events section for more information on each and to schedule a free consultation with a CommonLook rep.

As always, we welcome your suggestions for upcoming topics and would like to know what you think of NetCentric’s CommonLook Accessibility Newsletter.

Use this link to share your comments or story ideas with the CommonLook Accessibility Newsletter staff.

We Hope You Enjoy!

Your CommonLook Team


CommonLook Releases New Office GlobalAccess

CommonLook, the PDF Accessibility Authority, is pleased to announce the availability of CommonLook Office GlobalAccess. CommonLook Office GlobalAccess builds upon previous versions of the popular CommonLook Office product and adds support for a wide array of accessibility standards, thus allowing users to create accessible PDF files originating from Microsoft Word or Microsoft PowerPoint that can conform to a variety of accessibility standards accepted around the globe. Users can now choose to generate WCAG 2.0 AA, Section 508, PDF/UA (also referred to as ISO 14289), and HHS — the standard used by the United States Department of Health and Human Services — compliant PDF documents from Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.


Monir ElRayes, Founder and CEO of CommonLook describes this latest release as building upon the company’s strong portfolio of electronic document accessibility solutions.  “CommonLook Office GlobalAccess, gives authors who use the world’s most popular word processing and presentation software the ability to create accessible content that will conform to global accessibility standards.  This builds upon the foundation established with CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess for the validation and remediation of PDF files. Now content authors are no longer limited to remediating previously created PDF files, they can author the Word and PowerPoint sources in accordance with the relevant accessibility standard. This results in both an accessible original and a PDF that conforms to the most popular accessibility standards used around the world.”


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About CommonLook

CommonLook is a leading provider of software products, training, and professional services enabling government agencies, healthcare, higher education and corporations to meet their obligations for electronic document accessibility compliance with Section 508, WCAG 2.0, PDF/UA and other accessibility standards.

CommonLook’s customers include a wide range of government agencies, educational institutions and corporations around the world. The company maintains offices in Washington, DC; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; and Melbourne, Australia. Learn more at


CommonLook is a trademark of parent company NetCentric Technologies Inc. All other brand/product names are trademarks of their respective holders.





Accessibility of User Guides and Manuals

How many of us have gone online to find specifications of a product we want to buy or to find a user manual because we’ve misplaced the print version that came with our product? More retailers and manufacturers are providing information on their websites in PDF format for the convenience of customers. Those PDF documents need to be accessible by any consumer who wants to access them.

When we are designing our websites for retail, we often forget that all of those supplemental documents that provide valuable information to our customers must also meet any legislation or standards of accessibility for customers with disabilities.

In 2015 it is easier for those of us with disabilities to gather user guides or user manuals on our devices for fast access. People with visual disabilities or who are blind can access accessible digital content faster than looking through drawers or filing cabinets for the instructions on how to adjust the timer on your furnace control or how to clean an appliance.

A by-product of having accessible PDF user guides and manuals is the ability to search for specific topics or documents on devices which can also lower frustration levels when you are trying to find those “simple” instructions you forgot!

International Day of  Persons With Disabilities


Many of us may know about Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) which is held in May of each year, but how many of us have activities planned for the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD)?

As a bit of background, 1981 was the UN International Year of Disability which started the decade of People with Disabilities. In 1992, the United Nations established December 3 as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The day is a way for those of us with and without disabilities to raise awareness and advocate for action on issues important to the inclusion and empowerment of people with disabilities.

This year’s theme is “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.” One of the sub-themes is the promotion of awareness of invisible disabilities.

There are many events at the United Nations to celebrate IDPD including a film festival and photo exhibit. Several countries have already identified events to promote inclusion and empowerment of people with disabilities for IDPD. As part of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, a panel discussion on an accessible new urban agenda and the inclusion of persons with disabilities and a panel discussion on invisible disabilities are planned at UN Headquarters in New York.





AHEAD:  Accessing Higher Ground

Westminster, CO

November 16-20, 2015

See Presentation By CommonLook Accessibility Expert:  Bob Hall

A Standards Based Approach To Accessibility



More Events



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