PDF Accessibility and Compliance


6 Common Misconceptions about CommonLookThe Truth about CommonLook

6 Common Misconceptions about CommonLook The Truth about CommonLook

As the leader in document accessibility software tools, services, training, and support for over 22 years, we have been the document accessibility pioneer with many of our solutions in the market. 

As industry leaders, we often hear comments from competitors and potential clients, and some of that information is inaccurate. 

So, in this blog post, we will answer your questions and set the record straight with some answers and the “why” for some of the perceptions.

1 – CommonLook’s Pricing is not Public (or CommonLook is too expensive)

For a long time, our pricing was not listed on our website as there are many different pricing levels based on the GSA schedule, commercial or education pricing, and volume discounts. We have recently addressed this concern and now have a pricing page on our website

Regarding the “CommonLook is expensive” concern, you have to look at the total cost of the product, training, and the time savings compared to doing remediation using a manual tool such as Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. 

We have priced the tool so that it is inexpensive enough to be something anyone who is doing volume remediation of documents can easily justify because it saves them countless hours of work. With the newly available CommonLook PDF Self-Paced Modules, getting up to speed on CommonLook PDF has never been more affordable.

2 – CommonLook is not a standalone product (Why do I need an Adobe Acrobat Pro DC license?)

CommonLook PDF and CommonLook PDF Validator are both designed to integrate into Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. The reason is that most people are using Acrobat to edit and add tags to their PDFs. 

Accessibility features comparison between Adobe Acrobat Pro and CommonLook PDF
Accessibility features comparison between Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and CommonLook PDF

By integrating CommonLook PDF and PDF Validator into the Acrobat tool, we add the missing accessibility testing and remediation components that Acrobat lacks. The 100% free CommonLook PDF Validator tool adds accessibility testing to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to test documents against all the accessibility standards, including Section 508, WCAG 2.0 AA, WCAG 2.1 AA, HHS, and PDF/UA. 

Adding CommonLook PDF brings a proven process to remediate the document for accessibility, including verifying the tags and confirming all the manual checks required to ensure the document is 100% compliant with the standards. Final verification is provided by generating a checkpoint-by-checkpoint, element-by-element report, accepted by HHS and others.

3 – Isn’t CommonLook PDF only for a PC?

This is a true statement as the current version of CommonLook PDF and CommonLook PDF Validator are PC only. But many clients successfully use our solutions on a Mac using Parallels. We are looking at a Mac version of these tools in our future product roadmap.

4 – CommonLook does not validate against WCAG 2.1 AA

One of the features of CommonLook PDF and CommonLook PDF Validator is that we support all of the accessibility standards that are currently in demand, including Section 508, WCAG 2.0 AA, WCAG 2.1 AA, HHS and PDF/PDF UA. 

This means the tools can be used to remediate or verify your documents in North America and the rest of the world, where the standards may differ depending on your geographical location. 

CommonLook is constantly updating our software tools, including our support for the standards.

5 – CommonLook does not guarantee compliance for remediation work

CommonLook has always guaranteed compliance to the standard of the client’s choice as part of our remediation services. In fact, we not only guarantee our work, but we provide the CommonLook Report that proves compliance on a checkpoint by checkpoint basis to prove that we have gone through the entire document tag tree as well as done all the manual checks for alt-text, reading order, metadata, heading levels, etc. 

CommonLook guarantees 100% of our work is in compliance with the standard of the client’s choice.

6 – Isn’t all remediation work the same?

The truth is that all remediation work is not equal. Anyone can add tags to a document using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC; the difference is in the quality of the work after the tags are added. We always ensure that your document is fully accessible and works well with screen readers. 

CommonLook has provided remediation services for 22+ years. We are active on the standards’ boards that helped develop PDF/UA. The depth of our expertise is why so many organizations trust us with their projects. 

There may be several ways to tag a document that might technically comply with a standard such as WCAG 2.0 AA, but CommonLook’s experienced team follows best practices and provides a report to back up compliance.  

Using CommonLook’s tools or our remediation services is the best way to ensure you are doing the work correctly or to know that the files you are publishing to the public are accessible and standards-compliance.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this answers some of the questions you have on CommonLook solutions. Here are web pages that provide additional information:

For more information on our solutions, please reach out to info@commonlook.com