David Berman Communications
David Berman will help you repeat your successes

Accessible PDF by Design: WCAG 2.0

(Standard On Web Accessibility / W3C WCAG 2.0 / AODA / Section 508) course

For a fully keyboard-accessible alternative for this video, either view it in Chrome or any Android or iOS device, view in Firefox with the YouTube ALL HTML5 add-on installed, or disable Flash in current Internet Explorer.


Course Description

PLEASE NOTE: When we present this topic in a public course, it is part of our comprehensive course that ALSO include accessible Web pages — when we present it for your organization we can make it exclusively about accessible PDF: you’re choice!

It used to be that the only way to comply with Web accessibility standards for persons with disabilities or difficulties was to publish content in HTML. One of the most exciting parts of the new Standard On Web Accessibility and WCAG 2.0 is that it has become feasible for you to choose PDF as the only container for certain content on your Web site … but only if you know how. We’ve worked with Adobe and other experts to put together this comprehensive and powerful course, where attendees walk away with immediately-applicable tips and techniques to make PDF files that are accessible.

De-mystify how to make PDF accessible whether your source is Word, Excel, Powerpoint, InDesign… or existing PDF! Sometimes the best way to provide content in an accessible format is to choose PDF, whether to reduce costs, or to share knowledge and processes more effectively.

Most adults suffer from some level of disability or difficulty that can be mitigated through accessible technologies. And when we design for the extremes, everyone benefits.

Not only will you comply with the standards (AODA, WCAG 2.0, Standard On Web Accessibility, Section 508, …): you’ll be broadening the audience for your content while enriching the experience of existing users.

“Techniques I can use.”

– Liv Stenersen, Government Administration Services, Oslo (Norway)

David Berman will convince you of why accessibility is important for everybody, then provide in-depth familiarity with federal and international guidelines that will help your PDF content be a more effective resource for your entire audience. You’ll also gain familiarity with assistive technologies that help people with specific disabilities and difficulties.

Canada’s federal government led the world when it first introduced its accessibility-centric Common Look & Feel (CLF) policy, now replaced with its Standard On Web Accessibility and Standard on Web Usability. Our full-day course includes a thorough review of every pertinent standards that apply to accessible PDF, including other policies which call for WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA compliance (such as U.S. Section 508 and Ontario’s AODA). These new standards allow PDF to be your primary format, but only if your PDF is truly accessible … and that is poorly understood. We’ll cover everything from tables to charts to fillable forms and testing recommendations.


Not only will you leave with ideas you can use right away, you may also gain a whole new attitude towards how technology can improve lives. By the end of the day you will not only be aware of why accessibility and standards affect everyone: you’ll be equipped with a thorough understanding  of what needs to be done and how, including tools and testing techniques. Each full-day participant leaves with a comprehensive 160+ page learning guide, detailing every relevant accessibility success criterion.

This course incorporates adult learning principles and activities appropriate to a variety of learning styles, and qualifies for CEUs (certified by organizations such as the Center For Plain Language and PPAC).

“Excellent… knowledge I can use.”

– Sandra Clark, Ministry of Trade and
Industry, Oslo (Norway)

“Focused and easy to follow.”

-Jason Hollett, gordongroup

“Great. He kept me listening and understanding.”

– Matthew Brunetti, Lixar IT


– Morten Budeng, King Design


– Sylvie Nyman, Indian and Northern
Affairs Canada

What’s Wrong

Computer-mediated accessibility to information represents the greatest liberation in human history. Most people in our societies have some sort of physical or mental difficulty which can stand in the way of clear Web communication unless proper design steps are taken.

Now that PDF is recognized as a legitimate primary format for accessible publishing, there’s a need for people to understand what constitutes sufficiently-accessible PDF, and the steps to get there with the least expense and effort. Although most professional developers now create content with some awareness of browser incompatibilities
and platform dependencies, they still experience difficulties with emerging accessibility standards. Much PDF continues to be developed based on assumptions that don’t address the specific needs of people with
disabilities and difficulties and thus fail to deliver the promise of accessible PDF.

“Very good speaker – good sense of humour.”

– Johan Fong, House of Commons


– Sjur Kristiansen, Telenor Telecommunications

“Eye-opening. Love your method of teaching.”

– Jean Descrochers, National Research

What Makes This Course Unique

Our course leader, David Berman, is a consultant on accessible for large IT projects, and has worked on Web accessibility projects for many large organizations including Statistics Canada, the National Research
Council, and IBM.

He is a high-level advisor to the United Nations on how accessible IT can help fulfill the Millennium Development Goals more rapidly.

He has been the project manager of numerous accessible Web projects, has developed strategy and design for CFIA, CRA, CMHC, Health Canada, Canadian Heritage, Industry Canada, and the International Space Station … as well as many private sector and non-profit organizations.

By addressing and understanding accessibility issues, publishers can more effectively deliver their message to their entire audience, regardless of physical or mental impediments, while complying with legal and moral responsibilities.

“I enjoyed it all.”

– Robert Hallat, Public Service Commission

“Right on target.”

– Marius Monsen, Reaktor ID

“He knows what to do!” “This will guide us for the AA Standards”

– Bassil Wehbe, Agriculture Canada

What You Will Learn

You will learn how to make your current communications more accessible by complying
with emerging standards and guidelines. Specifically, you will learn:

First Half (morning of a full-day course)

  • why accessibility matters to everyone, not just those with disabilities
  • the major disabilities and challenges: what they are and how most of us have some level of difficulty that can be assisted by accessible design
  • assistive technologies we can typically use to mitigate these issues
  • examples of accessible multimedia
  • how accessibility will help your bottom-line
  • overview of regulations

Second Half (afternoon of a full-day course)

  • W3C WCAG 2.0 success criteria
  • draft standards on developing accessible PDF
  • specific technologies and design techniques used to satisfy core PDF accessibility issues
  • how to make PDF files more accessible
  • understanding of how enterprise-wide document development processes can save money and time while automating PDF generation
  • testing frameworks for PDF accessible

“Very good: made me think…”

– Bente Mollevik, Norwegian Savings
Bank Association

“Great: very comprehensive. Touching on all aspects of accessibility.”

– Marc Iafelice, CFIA

“David really knows his topics. Very well done: got the point across in a way that can be apply to everyone.”

– Sean Strasbourg, CFIA


At the end of this event, you will:

  • know many techniques you can apply right away to make PDF content more accessible
  • have a comprehensive understanding of W3C WCAG 2.0 and current government accessibility policies,
    and how to meet them
  • be able to make informed decisions as to when PDF is the right medium
  • be able to make informed decisions as to when to make PDF accessible on your own vs. outsourcing
  • understand better the experience of those with disabilities using
    the Web and software apps
  • know you’re doing the “right thing” by ensuring accessibility for all


– Steinar Sandum, Adax, Svelvik (Norway)

“Interesting content, really well delivered. Visual and engaging. Gives us a common language and approach.”

– Chris Cook, CFIA

“This will change the way we work.”

– Sharon Drolet, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Typical Agenda for Full Day Course

9:00 to 10:15: PDF idealism, Why We Should Care, Deficits, Assistive Technologies

10:15 to 10:30: break

10:30 to 11:45: Overview of sustainable PDF, Section 508, AODA, and the new Standard on Web Accessibility, WCAG 2.0 Principle 1

11:45 to 12:45: lunch

12:45 to 14:15: WCAG 2.0 Principles 2 and 3 through the PDF lens

14:15 to 14:30: break

14:30 to 16:30: WCAG 2.0 Principles 4, QA tools for PDF, Beyond AA


What You Get

When David Berman Communications hosts this course*, regular ticket holders receive:

  • a complimentary, comprehensive 160+ page learning guide, detailing every applicable accessibility standard (also
    available separately for $89, with optional 1-on-1 distance coaching)
  • complimentary meals, snacks and beverages throughout
  • a thirty-minute one-on-one personal coaching tele-session with David within a month
  • the option to attend this course again in the future, as a refresherat no additional cost
  • the option to attend the first half on one date and the second half at a future date
  • a money-back guarantee: if, after coaching and refresher, you don’t think you’ve got your money’s worth, we’ll refund your entire fee
(*If you are attending one of our courses hosted by another organization, confirm which of these items apply.)

Register (at https://www.davidberman.com/register ) or call 1-613-728-6777… or bring this event to your site: for a keynote, half-day, or full-day event, customized for your group.


Prerequisites: None

Berman speaking in Oslo, Norway on Web accessibility

Berman speaks on accessibility in Oslo, Norway


“Clear and entertaining: will allow more strategic planning rather than just reactionary stumbling.”

– Steve Doody, Justice Canada

“This will make us better communicators.”

– Luc Bergeron, SSHRC


– Jean Leclair, Environment Canada

About the Expert Speaker

David Berman is the principal of David Berman Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in graphic design and strategic communications. He has worked extensively in adapting the printed word for electronic
distribution, including software interface development.

David was appointed a high-level advisor to the United Nations on how design and accessible IT can help fulfill the Millennium Development Goals more rapidly.

He has extensive experience as a senior consultant in applying accessibility and standards to government Web sites, as well as to private sector clients such as IBM, both as a strategist and compliance testing leader. He regularly teaches accessibility principles as part of his professional development workshops, and developed a custom two-day workshop for the National Research Council on common look and feel. His plain writing, design, and accessibility work include award-winning projects for the City of Ottawa, the Ontario government, and Canada’s federal government.
Clients include IBM, Justice Canada, HRDC, Canada Revenue Agency, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Region of Ottawa-Carleton and the Ontario Literacy Coalition.

David has been featured in the Financial Post, the Globe And Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, the Montreal Gazette, Marketing, Applied Arts, HOW, and Communication Arts magazines, as well as ABC and CBC.

In addition to operating as one of the leading design strategists in Canada’s capital, David ranks #1 on speakerwiki.org on this topic for a reason. His arc as an internationally-celebrated expert speaker has brought him to over 30 countries. David is a National Professional Member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) and the Global Speakers Federation (GSF).

David is currently Ethics Chair of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, was named a Fellow (the highest professional honour for graphic designers in Canada) in 1999, and has served as a director and sustainability chair of Icograda, the world body for graphic and communications design.

Guest Presenters

David will often include guest subject matter experts within a full-day course. For instance, in 2011 he has been joined by:

  • Jeff Braybrook (CEO, Blueprint), former Deputy Chief Technology Officer for the Government of Canada, and responsible for CLF

Who Should Attend

This course is targeted to all project managers, Webmasters, production coordinators, IT professionals, strategists, and controllers, involved in developing documents and Web sites.

  • senior departmental officials
  • chief information officers
  • heads of communication
  • Web and document managers
  • people who need to get their Web presences compliant with current and future government accessibility standards
  • people who manage or plan Web sites and electronic publishing
  • people who coordinate people who build Web sites and documents
  • people who design or program Web sites, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or InDesign documents
  • people who represent clients who hire others to develop Web sites and documents
  • people involved in: IT project management, analysis, architecture, interaction design, graphic design, prototyping, writing, development, quality control
  • developers of online applications, games, mobile apps

This course delivers knowledge required for WCAG 2.0 Level A and Level AA awareness training as documented in the Government of Canada’s Accessibility Responsibility Breakdown (WCAG 2.0) .


English (French available upon request)


One-day course, half-day course, or keynote presentation (we also provide this course customized on-site for your organization).


“I love David’s approach.”

-Carole Dubuc, Canadian Armed Forces

“Clear, concise, and very useful.”

-Annette Kallevig

“Excellent, eye-opening, and not preachy!”

-Carrie Walker-Boyd, Canadian Food Inspection Agency


Subscribe to our e-news to be notified when we schedule new instances of this topic.


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*Discount packages for non-profits, and travel subsidies available. Additional discounts available for groups over 3 people. Call (613) 728-6777 for details.

All prices, offerings, and dates subject to change without notice.

To register for a course given by our own organization, register
or call (613) 728-6777.

Event Schedule (all events)

“Very understandable and fun.”

– Liz Breines, Ministry of Trade and
Industry, Oslo (Norway)

“Highly valuable.”

– Maureen Quirouet, Parliament of Canada



For the convenience of attendees, we provide this list of hypertext links and books cited in this course's learning guide:


Assistive Technologies

Microsoft's search tool for assistive technology products

JAWS for Windows (warning: the demo is 5o+ megabyte download)

Best source in Canada for JAWS software

NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) open source screen reader

On-screen keyboard example: ScreenDoors 2000 on-screen keyboard

Mouse grid software example: Hippocampus Mouse Grid plug-in for Dragon Naturally Speaking


Comparison of accessibility features in various versions of Microsoft Windows

Zimmerman Low Vision Simulation Kit by Dr. George J. Zimmerman

Read Regular font, by Natascha Frensch


Standards: Section 508

“Section 508″ of USA's federal Rehabilitation Act Amendments (1998)

“Section 508″ full standards


“Stop Stealing Sheep” (by Erik Spiekermann ISBN: 0-201-70339-4)


Government of Canada CLF 1.0 and 2.0 (both now replaced by Standard On Web Accessibility)

CLF 2.0 Part 1

CLF 2.0 Part 2

CLF 2.0 (all 4 parts in 1 document)

CLF 2.0 Standard 3.1

CLF 2.0 Text Equivalents Repository

CLF 2.0 Toolbox


CLF Sample Help page

Government of Canada bilingual welcome page template

Goverment of Canada unilingual welcome page

CLF 2.0 Compliance Checklist for Web sites

Government of Canada Common Look and Feel 2.0 Template Technical Guide

CLF 2.0 skip navigation link

CLF 2.0 institutional menu bar

Government of Canada Treasury Board CIO Common Look and Feel for the Internet

Government of Canada CLF 2.0 Guidelines

Sample Accessibility Features Statement

Government of Canada CLF Guidelines 1.1 for intranets and extranets

Government of Canada Internet Guide – Universal Accessibility

Crosswalk table from CLF 1.1 to CLF 2.0

Canada CLF 1.1 Standard 6.1

Canada CLF 1.1 Standard 6.2

CLF 1.1 Sample Common Menu Bar

Treasury Board Secretariat Common Look and Feel Self-Assessment Guide (1.1)

Treasury Board of Canada Pages Templates for CLF 1.1

Treasury Board Secretariat  model cascading style sheets for CLF 1.1


Government of Canada samples and policies

Goverment of Canada institutional signature

Government of Canada Directive on the Use of Official Languages on Web Sites

Government of Canada Directive on the Use of Official Languages in Electronic Communications

“Canada” wordmark

Government of Canada Communications Policy

Government of Canada Sample Accessibility Notice

Government of Canada Sample Accessibility Notice on the “Help” Page

Government of Canada auto-acknowledgement template

Government of Canada Copyright/Permission template

Government of Canada privacy template

Government of Canada Privacy Notice for the Collection of Personal Information template

GC.CA Subdomain Registry

Government of Canada FIP Symbols of Government

Government of Canada FIP Signatures for GoC Web Sites


International standards

ISO 639-2 codes


W3C Resources

W3C HTML validation service

“Making Text Legible”

W3C CSS Validation service

W3C Markup Validation

W3C Link checker

W3C RSS feed checker



Tables techniques

Making Tables Accessible

Forms techniques

Making Forms Accessible

Replacing Radio Buttons With Selects


Testing and reporting

Browser compatibility testing

Browser emulator for really early browsers

Screen size testing

Checking for broken links

Link maintenance

Checking for bad links, HTML syntax, broken tags: ChangeAgent

Color deficiency simulator

Accessibility Testing

aDesigner (Flash and Flex accessibility checker)


Accessibility resources sites


HTML Writers Guild – AWARE Center


IBM Human Ability and Accessibility site

Designing Web Content For Persons With Disabilities

Accessible Initiative Link Solution

Welcoming People With Disabilities To Your Workplace

Employment Equity and Diversity for Managers

30 Days To A More Accessible Web Site

Web Accessibility Checklist

The Web Page From Hell


Plain Language

Writing Readable Regulations by Thomas A. Murawski, Carolina Academic Press, ISBN: 0-89089-849-9

Beyond Readability by Dr. Janice C. Redish, American Institutes for Research (no ISBN number)

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, ISBN: 1-592-40087-6

“The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information” (by George A. Miller, 1956,no ISBN)

CLAD Readability Mark certification

More Reading on clear English:
“Eats, Shoots & Leaves” (by Lynne Truss ISBN: 1-592-40087-6)
“Writing Readable Regulations” (by Thomas A. Murawski, Carolina Academic Press ISBN: 0-89089-849-9)
“Beyond Readability” (by Dr. Janice C. Redish, American Institutes for Research, no ISBN)





Australian government web accessibility standards and guidelines

Other International Government Policies Relating to Web Accessibility (CH, DE, DK, ES, EU, FI, FR, HK, IL, IN, IT, JA, NZ, PT, UK)

UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

Government of Canada’s new Standard on Web Accessibility

Associating a graph and its description with the longdesc attribute

WET Media Player

Sample Transcripts/Captions (Timed Text)

National Center for Accessible Media rich media samples

Color Oracle (colour blindness simulator)

ColorChecker WCAG Contrast checker Firefox Add-on

Contrast Analyser from The Paciello Group that has eyedropper for graphics … and in both official languages

Check my Colours

Luminosity Colour Contrast Ratio Analyser (Juicy Studio)

Photosensitive Epilepsy Analysis Tool (PEAT) Testing Tool

Core Techniques for Web Accessibility Guidelines 1.0


HTML5 differences from HTML4

WAI-ARIA 1.0 technical specification

WAI-ARIA 1.0 primer

Web Experience Toolkit (WET)

YUI Graded Browser Support

Standard on Web Accessibility Assessment Methodology

W3C's Understanding WCAG 2.0

W3C HTML Test Suite for WCAG 2.0

Adobe Browserlab

Fangs (Firefox extension) screen reader emulation

Colour deficiency simulator (iPad/iPhone)

WAVE Toolbar for Firefox

WAVE for Dreamweaver

Web Accessibility Toolbar for IE

Web Developer Toolbar (Chrome and Firefox extensions)


Some sites that respect text size well:


David Berman Communciations


eNorway 2009: Norwegian Ministry of Modernization strategy for e-government

Roundup of how Canada ranks in international studies

W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)

W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0)

WCAG2.0 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Comparison of WCAG 1.0 Checkpoints to WCAG 2.0 in Numerical Order

WCAG2 1.1

WCAG2 1.2

WCAG2 1.3

WCAG2 1.4

WCAG2 2.1

WCAG2 2.2

WCAG2 2.3

WCAG2 2.4

WCAG2 3.1

WCAG2 3.2

WCAG2 3.3

WCAG2 4.1

Treasury Board of Canada's Web Experience Toolkit (WET)

Government of Canada's Accessibility Responsibility Breakdown (WCAG 2.0)

WebAIM's WCAG 2.0 Checklist

Techniques and Failures for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0

W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 1.0)

Techniques for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (1.0)

W3C WCAG1 1.1

W3C WCAG1 1.2

W3C WCAG1 1.3

W3C WCAG1 1.4

W3C WCAG1 2.1

W3C WCAG1 2.2

W3C WCAG1 3.1

W3C WCAG1 3.2

W3C WCAG1 3.3

W3C WCAG1 3.4

W3C WCAG1 3.5

W3C WCAG1 3.6

W3C WCAG1 3.7

W3C WCAG1 4.1

W3C WCAG1 4.2

W3C WCAG1 5.1

W3C WCAG1 5.2

W3C WCAG1 5.3

W3C WCAG1 5.4

W3C WCAG1 6.1

W3C WCAG1 6.2

W3C WCAG1 6.3

W3C WCAG1 6.4

W3C WCAG1 6.5

W3C WCAG1 7.1

W3C WCAG1 7.2

W3C WCAG1 7.3

W3C WCAG1 7.4

W3C WCAG1 7.5

W3C WCAG1 8.1

W3C WCAG1 9.1

W3C WCAG1 9.2

W3C WCAG1 9.3

W3C WCAG1 10.1

W3C WCAG1 10.2

W3C WCAG1 11.1

W3C WCAG1 11.2

W3C WCAG1 11.4

W3C WCAG1 12.1

W3C WCAG1 12.2

W3C WCAG1 12.3

W3C WCAG1 12.4

W3C WCAG1 13.1

W3C WCAG1 13.2

W3C WCAG1 13.3

W3C WCAG1 13.4

W3C WCAG1 14.1

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 AODA Integrated Accessibility Standards (Ontario Regulation 191/11, April 2011)

National Center for Accessible Media rich media samples

Magpie (for creating captions and audio descriptions for rich media)

Colour deficit palette tester

“Effective Color Contrast”

Colour Contrast Check

Colour Blind People and Link Colours

“How To Design Web Accessible Page For The Colorblind”

SMIL to create multimedia presentations:
What is SMIL

Accessibility Features of SMIL

SMIL example


Migrating to XHTML 1.0 Strict

Alternatives for deprecated elements and attributes


Browser support for CSS Properties

User Agent Accessibility Guidelines

Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative

Metadata harvesting

Treasury Board of Canada Recommended Policy for Common Look and Feel for Intranets (CLFIE)

Government of Canada Metadata Implementation Guidelines for Web Resource Discovery

TBITS 39: Treasury Board Information Management Standard, Part 1: Government On-Line Metadata Standard

Complete list of Health Canada metadata

Writing Effective Web Documents


Great Books about Usability Testing:
“Don’t Make Me Think” (by Steve Krug, Que Publishing, 2000 ISBN: 0-7897-2310-7)
“Handbook of Usability Testing” (by Jeffrey Rubin, John Wiley & Sons, 1994 ISBN: 0-471-59403-2)

Great Books about Information Architecture:
“Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-scale Web Sites (2nd Edition)” (by Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville, 2002, O’Reilly ISBN: 0-596-00035-9)
“The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint” (by Edward R. Tufte, 2003, no ISBN)
Great Books about Typography:
“Stop Stealing Sheep” (by Erik Spiekermann ISBN: 0-201-70339-4)

Clear reading on clear writing:
Writing Readable Regulations by Thomas A. Murawski,
Carolina Academic Press, ISBN: 0-89089-849-9
Beyond Readability by Dr. Janice C. Redish,
American Institutes for Research (no ISBN number) Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, ISBN: 1-592-40087-6

Crosswalk table from CLF 1.1 to CLF 2.0

CLF Standard 3.1

Part 2

Canada CLF 1.1 Standard 6.1

Canada CLF 1.1 Standard 6.2

CLF 2.0 Compliance Checklist for Web sites

UXBlog's Five Best & Worst CLF 2.0 Designs

Institutional signature

Directive on the Use of Official Languages on Web Sites

Directive on the Use of Official Languages in Electronic Communications

AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429/07) Compliance Manual

“Making Text Legible”

Auto-acknowledgement template

Copyright/Permission template

Privacy template

Privacy Notice for the Collection of Personal Information template

CLF 1.1 Sample Common Menu Bar

‘Skip navigation link’

Institutional Menu Bar

W3C HTML validation service

GC.CA Subdomain Registry

Bilingual Welcome Page template

FIP Symbols of Government

FIP Signatures for GoC Web Sites

Unilingual Welcome Page


Web Audits

Where to buy usability testing

Total Validator

W3C RSS feed checker

CSS Analyser (Juicy Studio)


TBS Pages Templates for CLF 1.1

TBS Model cascading style sheets 1.1

Browser compatibility testing

Browser emulator for really early browsers

Making Tables Accessible

Making Forms Accessible

Replacing Radio Buttons With Selects

Government of Canada Treasury Board CIO Common Look and Feel for the Internet

Government of Canada CLF 2.0 Guidelines

Government of Canada CLF Guidelines 1.1 for intranets and extranets

Government of Canada Internet Guide – Universal Accessibility

Accessibility Testing

Article example on accessible accordion view

Sample Accessibility Features Statement

Accessibility evaluation tools

Evaluation, Repair, and Transformation Tools for Web Content Accessibility

Additional browsing

The Web Page From Hell

Time watch by Julien Bergignat

Introduction to Ontario's Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation

a href=”http://www.systemscope.com/news/clean-out-the-rot-in-your-web-closet/” target=”_blank”> ROT (Redundant, Outdated, Trivial)

ROT (Redundant, Outdated, Trivial)




PDF and accessibility

Free online PDF conversion tools

Creating Accessible Adobe PDF Files

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC)

Assessing PDF files for accessibility

Creating accessible PDF files

Guide to the essentials of creating accessible PDFs with Microsoft Word and Acrobat Professional 8

PDF and WCAG 2.0 Webinar

Using accessibility features with Acrobat

Adobe’s WCAG2 techniques for PDF

Adobe’s PDF Reference (fifth edition, for Version 1.6) [Warning! 1236 pages!]

Adobe’s Accessible PDF from Microsoft Word (2007)

WCAG2 technique PDF1

WCAG2 technique PDF4

WCAG2 technique PDF9

WCAG2 technique PDF10

WCAG2 technique PDF11

WCAG2 technique PDF12

WCAG2 technique PDF23

WCAG2 technique PDF21

WCAG2 technique PDF6

WCAG2 technique PDF20

WCAG2 technique PDF17

WCAG2 technique PDF3

WCAG2 technique PDF7

WCAG2 technique PDF18

WCAG2 technique PDF13

WCAG2 technique PDF2

WCAG2 technique PDF16

WCAG2 technique PDF19

WCAG2 technique PDF15

WCAG2 technique PDF14

WCAG2 technique PDF5

WCAG2 technique PDF22



“>Speaker introduction for this event [50KB]


David speaks on the importance of accessible design, Virginia Foundation for The Humanities, Charlottesville VA, November 2010


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11 Responses to “Accessible PDF by Design: WCAG 2.0”

  1. David Berman says:

    Fantastic course this past Friday March 23 at Adobe Canada! Thank you all for attending (and thanks again to Nicole and Shawn for providing your technically-amazing space for the event!).

    As promised, I’m sharing the best follow-up Q&A…

    Q1. How does QuarkXPress compare to InDesign in terms of being able to produce accessible PDF?
    A1. QuarkXPress is really poor at producing accessible PDF: the resulting PDF from the export is not even tagged (a basic of any accessible PDF file). So InDesign wins this one hands down.

    Q2. Can PrinceXML produce accessible PDF?
    A2. PrinceXML is an amazing tool for converting HTML/XHTML to PDF with your choice of CSS, but unfortunately the resulting PDF files aren’t tagged. We’re talking to its inventor Michael Day about remedying that!

    Q3. May I repeat H1 in my Word files and resulting PDF files?
    A3. There is no rule saying that you must have one and only one H1 in an accessible page, though this is the best practice for many enterprises and governments.

    Q4. Must I have consecutive heading levels in my files? (e.g. can I have 1 H1, 3 H2, 0 H3, 4 H4?)
    A4. WCAG 2.0 has no rule saying that you cannot skip header levels, though avoiding skipping them is a best practice (and I’m going to ask our friends at W3C to make this clearer on their site!). However, regarding PDF, the ISO standard for accessible PDF, which will be published almost certainly this summer, does demand that you not skip heading levels. Therefore your PDF (or HTML) file with skipped heading levels will comply with WCAG 2.0, though it will not comply with the current draft of PDF/UA (should that be a concern for you).

    More questions? Bring them on! And I hope to see you at our upcoming Web accessibility courses produced by T-Base in New York and Toronto (also supported by our friends at AIGA and RGD Ontario)! ( http://www.tbase.com/en/web-accessibility-matters )

  2. Jeff Epp says:

    Hi David,

    Just wondering if you’ll be having any upcoming Accessible PDF By Design classes in the near future, anything in Toronto?



    • David Berman says:

      Hi Jeff,

      I’m giving a public Web accessibility course at the Strathcona Hotel on May 8 in Toronto. It will include PDF though not be exclusively about PDF. We’re also thinking of scheduling a PDF-specific on in Toronto. And of course if you have a group it may be worth choosing your own date and have me come on site. How many of you are there?

  3. Doug Jackson says:

    Hi David,

    I’m looking forward to your course. I’m sure it will clarify things for me. We have been experiencing a lot of confusion around the requirements for accessible PDF content. Many of our government clients, at all levels, are under the assumption that all their PDFs must be WCAG 2.0 AA compliant, even if they make equivalent HTML content available. As well, since PDF accessibility is a relatively new area, many graphic design professionals are also confused by the issues, requirements, remedial tools and processes, and how to advise or lead our clients through the process.

    With all that said, I wanted to propose an idea for public discussion. Please bear with my thought trail on this. As an RGD member, I am happy that our organization put forth an official position, in writing, years ago on the issue of speculative work. They created an official document that members could send to clients or prospects stating it was unethical to request work for free for services rendered. This has been a very helpful and educational tool.

    Now to my point, perhaps the issues around accessible PDFs could be articulated in a similar open letter, coming from the RGD, that clarifies what constitutes accessible standards. For instance, stating that if publishers provide equivalent WCAG 2.0 A or AA HTML content, an accessible PDF is not required online as well. A letter could also define accessibility and succinctly state compliance guidelines, as they exist currently, or any other relevant information on the subject that design professionals could use to educate ourselves and our clientele on accessibility standards.

    I feel there is a lack of standards and that many of us are flailing in the wind as we try to find our way through the landscape and advise our clients. I also feel this is an excellent opportunity for the RGD to provide some leadership and support to the membership on how to manage the issues.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    • David Berman says:

      Hi Doug,

      I’m looking forward to seeing you at the course on March 23, and I’m confident I can completely clear up the confusion that your government clients are experiencing (bring them if you’d like! :) ) around accessible PDF. I agree that there is a general lack of awareness about accessible PDFs, and not just in the standards but also in the techniques that are best applied in the source documents (Word, InDesign, Powerpoint,…) to drive down costs and increase quality. It’s never been easier to create accessible documents!

      And, Doug, I think that your idea of an open letter from RGD Ontario that clarifies direction on minimum standards for accessible formats (PDF, HTML, etc.) would help both professionals and our community. It fits very well with the leadership role RGD has already exhibited in working with the Ontario government to help clarify various aspects of universal design and the new AODA regulations. I’d certainly be pleased to assist in whatever way I can to help communicate this.

      … it’s not just about regulations… when we design for the extremes, everyone benefits. Whether you’re doing it to fulfill regulations, to broaden your audience, to improve your SEO, for HR reasons, or simply to be proud to be in a society where no one is left behind, we as a profession have an opportunity (and thus a responsibility) to use our position and our power to do good with design.

      Warm regards,

      • Doug Jackson says:

        Hi David,

        Thanks for the response. I’m confident at the end of next week’s course I’ll have a clearer picture of how to proceed on issues surrounding the whole accessibility universe. I’m looking forward to collaborating with you, and hopefully the RGD, in the next weeks to pen something that helps clarify the waters that are muddy for some of us in the design profession.


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