Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) – October 22, 2018
A coalition of blind advocates today filed a class action lawsuit in Federal Court against the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and three counties for failing to provide Medi-Cal notices in accessible formats, such as Braille. The plaintiffs are the California Council of the Blind and three individuals.
Inaccessible documents can be a major accessibility barrier for assistive technology (AT) users. At worst, some document accessibility errors can make online documents completely inaccessible for people with disabilities. Some common accessibility problems for documents include:
Scanned documents that contain no data for assistive technology devices
Untagged PDF documents that lack structure to be interpreted properly by assistive technology
Documents with images missing alternate text descriptions, headings, and other semantic information for AT users
To ensure that documents are accessible for people with disabilities, it’s important to test and verify document accessibility. Here are some steps to address document accessibility in your organization:
Take an inventory of electronic documents on your website – be sure to note the types of documents, and locate source documents (if available).
Remove documents that are no longer needed – the easiest way to address accessibility errors is to remove documents that are no longer needed.
Use the built-in accessibility checkers in MS Word and Adobe Acrobat to identify and address accessibility errors.
Request a Document Accessibility Audit – a document accessibility audit is invaluable to document and characterize accessibility errors, and develop a remediation plan to achieve compliance with Section 508 and WCAG 2.0.
Explore Professional Development Opportunities for your teams – professional development is the best way to proactively address document accessibility, and ensure that future documents are published in accessible formats.
Document Accessibility Solutions
Aurora provides document accessibility solutions for businesses and organizations looking to achieve compliance WCAG 2.0.
Documents are often overlooked when considering website accessibility—yet inaccessible electronic documents can be a significant barrier for people with disabilities.
Common Types of Document Accessibility Errors include:
Documents scanned to PDF format that contain no data for assistive technology devices
Documents authored using older versions of Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, or other software that is missing critical accessibility features (i.e. alternate text for images)
Documents authored using Apple pages or other software that is not accessibility supported
Documents authored using the latest publishing tools, but missing key accessibility features (i.e. structured headings, alternate text, etc.)
What Standards Apply to Documents
The Word Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) apply to documents published on the web and distributed in electronic formats. Specifically, WCAG 2.0 checkpoints that apply to documents include:
Checkpoint 1.1.1 – Non-text Content: All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose, except for the situations listed below. (Level A)
Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat both include an automated accessibility checker to help you identify errors in your documents. Automated accessibility checkers can help identify basic accessibility errors such as: missing alternate text descriptions, reading order problems, and more.
To get a complete picture of document accessibility, we recommend testing documents with a screen reader to identify barriers and determine compatibility with assistive technology devices. A screen reader can catch accessibility errors that automated scanners might miss including:
Alternate text that does not fully describe the content on an image
Documents with reading order problems caused by text boxes or table layouts
Tab delimited pseudo tables that are missing formatting for assistive technology devices
FREE Document Accessibility Audit
Aurora offers free document accessibility testing for MS Word, PPT, and PDF documents.