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How do I know what an accessible document is and what if I am just starting out?

 

An accessible document is one that can be accessed by any device, at any time, by any person. Typically this includes applying basic accessibility requirements to the document like headings, alternate text, table headers, etc. Every file type will have different requirements. You can check out the requirements for Microsoft Word or PDF in our custom courses. 

If you teach in Canvas - we have a course for that too; and its free!

There are several laws to consider when we begin to evaluate document accessibility but we like to focus on high-level accessibility practices that adhere to most of the laws simultaneously. This standard is called PDF / UA and of course, only applies to PDFs. 

MS Word, PPT, Excel, and HTML pages will have their own set of standards. In the US, these typically fall under Section 508 compliance which lays out specific guidelines for document accessibility. A comprehensive list can be found on the HHS Website.

When creating content, there are a few basic steps that should be followed in order to assure your content is accessible. The standard steps needed for accessibility are the same regardless of whether your document is in HTML, Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, or another document format:

  • Use headings
  • Use lists
  • Use meaningful hyperlinks
  • Add alternate text to images
  • Identify document language
  • Use tables wisely
  • Understand how to export from one format to another

If documents do not have the above-listed components, the information will not be translated to various assistive technology and will not be accessible. 

We offer free quotes for any document remediation service. Documents will be made accessible specific to their file type and tested with a screen reader. 

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