Six Myths Busted Regarding Section 508 PDF/UA Compliance and Production Generation of PDF/UA Documents

hand writing accessibility with marker, concept backgroundMyth #1:  Section 508 compliance doesn’t apply to PDF documents.

FACT:  Since June 2001, the law has required all content on government hosted or contractor hosted websites and intranet sites to be 508 compliant. PDF files tend to be produced by someone other than the website developers or administrators. This content often goes overlooked with respect to accessibility – even though PDF files represent a huge volume of the documents that site visitors use every day.

SOLUTION: DocOrigin has advanced PDF/UA preprocessing capability.

Myth #2:  Good assistive technology can solve all accessibility problems.

FACT:  However advanced, Assistive Technology (or AT) can’t follow the continuation of an article split through multiple pages or guess what is meant by a particular graphic. That information has to be provided within the document structure. AT can only work with the information provided. Accessibility is nothing more than providing the information in a format that is easily understood.

SOLUTION: DocOrigin provides the capability of creating business forms and document templates in the correct logical document structure for AT to provide the highest level of positive user experience.

Myth #3:  A document is fully 508-compliant if it has passed Acrobat’s Accessibility Checker.

FACT:  Adobe Acrobat’s Accessibility Checker cannot verify compliance with Section 508 since, among other limitations, it is incapable of verifying correct logical reading order. A combination of automated and manual checks are required to test a document for 508 compliance.

SOLUTION: DocOrigin is capable of establishing the correct “logical” order for the reader to follow. This is done once at composition time using DocOrigin Design. In production, DocOrigin merges data (CSV, FRL, XML) from the line of business software without requiring changes to the data being generated today. The logic in the form design software dynamically structures the PDF/UA, so no post-processing step is required to produce the PDF/UA. This makes it possible to generate thousands of PDF/UA documents per minute.

Myth #4:  Section 508 compliance means it will read well in JAWS.

FACT:  It’s possible to tag a PDF to be compliant with Section 508 and still deliver a negative experience in JAWS or other screen-readers. The current Section 508 regulation permits, for example, a 100-page document to include nothing but paragraph tags, offering no navigational accommodations to AT users.

SOLUTION: DocOrigin will assist in providing a positive user experience in accessing the information contained in the PDF document using pre-document generation sequencing and tagging.

Myth #5:  A PDF is accessible if it can be read using Adobe’s Read Out Loud feature.

FACT:  Adobe’s Read Out Loud feature is not considered assistive technology and cannot be used to verify compliance with Section 508. This is because the Read Out Loud feature cannot represent the document’s logical structure (tags).

SOLUTION: With DocOrigin, the logical flow can be designed into the document.

Myth #6:  I can tag my PDF file to be 508 compliant by using the Advanced > Accessibility > Add Tags to Document function in Adobe Acrobat Professional.

FACT:  This is only the first step to creating a 508 compliant PDF file. Formerly, no software could achieve full accessibility and usability without human assistance.

SOLUTION: With DocOrigin’s advanced PDF/UA composition capability, the user is able to create a fully compliant PDF/UA document or form that can generate high volume production PDF/UA documents. The design of the PDF/UA is created in the composition software and once completed, it can be run in production without user intervention.  No post-processes software or PDF to PDF/UA conversion is required.

Finally, you can generate production PDF/UA statements, invoices, and order acknowledgements with a Design Once, Generate Many process you can rely on.

Learn more about DocOrigin’s PDF/UA capability here or contact us for more information here.