Important Laws and regulations

PDF/UA in a Nutshell


UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities: The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities defines in concrete terms the general human rights of people with disabilities. It has been in effect since 2008.

United States of America

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA): In 1990, the US Congress passed a federal law, ADA, which forbade all forms of discrimination based on disability.

Rehabilitation Act, Section 508: In 1998, the United States expanded the Rehabilitation Act to include Section 508. Since then, the federal government has been required to ensure that all its IT services are accessible for people with disabilities.


EU Mandate 376: With Mandate 376, the European Commission tasked the standardisation organisations CEN, CENELEC and ETSI with harmonising European public procurement laws. They are currently working on the EN 301459 standard which specifies requirements for universal accessibility in creating public-sector ICT products and services.

European Accessibility Act: The European Commission is currently preparing a European Accessibility Act.

Equal Treatment of Disabled Persons Act (Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz – BGG): Section 11 of the German federal law BGG has required since 2002 that federal authorities’ online presences and services be universally accessible. Some German states also have state-level laws which place similar requirements on local authorities.

Regulation for the creation of universally accessible IT in accordance with the Equal Treatment of Disabled Persons Act (Barrierefreie-Informationstechnik-Verordnung – BITV 2.0): BITV 2.0 specifies the minimum requirements for online information and services provided by federal authorities. They are mostly based on the recommendations of WCAG 2.0. Some German states have comparable state-level regulations regarding universally accessible IT services.

Regulation on equal rights for disabled persons (Behindertengleichstellungsverordnung, BehiV): Article 10 of the Swiss federal regulation BehiV requires federal authorities to make anything they provide online universally accessible so that people with disabilities can make use of it.

Federal Guidelines for Designing Universally Accessible Online Content (P028): The Swiss P028 guidelines require federal websites to conform to WCAG 2.0 and to meet compliance level AA.

Federal Law on the Equal Treatment of Disabled Persons (Bundes-Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz – BGStG): The Austrian federal law BGStG requires the Austrian federal government to make its services available in an accessible form.

Important Standards: 

  • PDF/UA (ISO 14289-1:2012): ISO standard 14289-1 defines all essential requirements for universally-accessible PDF documents, PDF programs and assistive technologies for using PDF/UA.
  • PDF 1.7 (ISO 32000-1:2008): ISO standard 32000-1 specifies the PDF file format.
  • WCAG 2.0 (ISO/IEC 40500:2012): ISO/IEC 40500 is a standard which is identical in content to the W3C’s WCAG 2.0, the guidelines for a universally-accessible web.

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About PDF Association

Founded in 2006 as the PDF/A Competence Center, the PDF Association exists to promote the adoption and implementation of International Standards for PDF technology.

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