Volume PDF Accessibility Checklist

 In Articles, Compliance, PDF Accessibility

Website with Multiple Documents graphic

In previous discussions, we have talked about the overall strategy regarding discovery of documents and determining their accessibility. Today, we will discuss in greater detail what to do when you find out that you have a large number of PDF documents on your website that have accessibility issues.

This is a common problem and many organizations have years’ worth of PDF documents on their website that are a liability in regard to ADA requirements for web accessibility. These documents need to be properly tagged for accessibility, so what does that entail?

How to Make a PDF Accessible

8 Steps to PDF Accessibility

STEP 1: Tags. Ensure that the document has tags, the tags are correct for the content, and that they are in a logical order as compared to the visual layout of the PDF.

STEP 2: Metadata. Verify and fix the Metadata.

STEP 3:Color. Confirm that color (format, font, etc.) is not the only way that information is being conveyed and there’s sufficient contrast between the content on the page and any background colors.

STEP 4: Alt Text. Provide alternative text to links and images that convey important information; artifact decorative images.

STEP 5: Lists. Double-check that lists are correctly structured according to standards.

STEP 6: Tables. Make sure that data tables, and Tables of Contents tags are correctly structured according to standards.

STEP 7: Other Tagging Issues. Address any other tagging issues that may exist.

STEP 8: PDF Checker or Validator. Use a reliable checker that tests against recognized standards such as WCAG 2.0, HHS or PDF/UA to make sure there aren’t any other issues with the PDF.

infographic showing the 8 steps to pdf accessibilityIf this sounds complicated, it’s because ensuring a PDF is accessible the right way is an involved process. The remediation of existing PDF documents that were not created for accessibility during the authoring process is labor intensive, and since most people don’t follow all the steps, they end up with a PDF that is not 100% accessible.

What about using Adobe Acrobat for PDF accessibility?

The accessibility and testing tools within Adobe Acrobat are incomplete; they cannot ensure that the final result meets the required standards. Tools such as CommonLook PDF  for remediation of existing documents and CommonLook Office for authoring accessible Microsoft Office documents can make the process much more methodical and  the resulting files are guaranteed 100% in compliance with the standards. Proper training through CommonLook, especially for remediation, will verify that you get maximum benefit from your investment, which is key to a successful program.

PDF remediation services

Many organizations will have the most recent and important documents professionally remediated due to time and resource limitations. CommonLook has been remediating PDF documents for over 20 years. CommonLook Service comes with a 100% guarantee of compliance and a complete accessibility report showing the work meets all checkpoints of the standards you require, including WCAG 2.0, HHS and/or PDF/UA.

The only complete solution for PDF accessibility

CommonLook offers a unique combination of software tools for discovery, creation, remediation and verification of compliance, combined with 100% guaranteed accessibility remediation services for time sensitive and mission critical documents. It is no wonder that we are the “go to” partner for Federal Government Agencies, State and Local Government and many public and private sector organizations for ensuring their documents are accessible.

If you have any questions on document assessment, remediation or compliance, please contact one of our accessibility professionals today.

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