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About the contributor
Duff Johnson

A veteran of the electronic document space, Duff Johnson is an independent consultant, Executive Director of the PDF Association and ISO Project co-Leader (and US TAG chair) for ISO 32000 and ISO 14289.
More contributions
2018 PDF 2.0 Interop Workshop

Following the success of our previous interop workshops in Cambridge, England and Boston, Massachusetts in 2017, the 3rd PDF 2.0 Interop Workshop is taking place immediately following this year’s PDF Days Europe, in Berlin as part of the post-conferenc …

Post-Conference of PDF Days Europe 2018

On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, directly following PDF Days Europe, the PDF Days Post-Conference offers a variety of workshops on PDF 2.0 Interop or PDF/UA.

PDF Days Europe 2018 – schedule of sessions

Fittingly for the tenth anniversary of PDF’ becoming an ISO standard, standardization will play a significant role this year. The focus will be on recent developments, with an eye on the future. The agenda also includes PDF market analyses, next-generation PDF for mobile devices, universally accessible PDF files and the industry-supported veraPDF validator initiative.

Hotel Recommendations and Sightseeing Tips for PDF Days Europe 2018 in Berlin

You will visit the No. 1 PDF event – the PDF Days Europe 2018 in Berlin? Great! Here are some hotel recommendations and sightseeing tips near the event location (SI Hotel).

A double anniversary for PDF Days Europe 2018

Richard Cohn, Principal Scientist at Adobe, one of the two co-authors of the original PDF specification in the era of Acrobat 1.0 gives the keynote on 25 years of PDF during the PDF Europe 2018.

Forms Are Made for Filling


Just as a document is made for reading, forms are made for filling. In a workplace or workflow that requires accessible documents and forms, paper forms or TIF files aren’t acceptable because they cannot be made fillable by an assistive technology (AT) user.

It’s for this reason that any document used expressly to collect information (ie, a form) must include form-fields or other means of being filled by AT users. The form must provide equal access to its content, and must be fully interactive, with correct tab order, field attributes and so on, in order to conform with the law.

Let’s take a look at the Section 508 regulations:

Subpart B – Technical Standards SubSection 1194.21
Software applications and operating systems. (l) When electronic forms are used, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues.
Source: http://www.section508.gov/

This text (while appearing – unaccountably – in the “software applications” section), clearly states that if you deliver an “electronic form” for “use” it has to be fillable in order to comply with the regulation.

There’s no provision for intent. “Fill with a quill” forms are simply not an option in Section 508 or WCAG 2.0 conforming applications, and good riddance to them.

A form is ALWAYS made for filling, ergo, all forms must be AT-usable fillable forms.


Tags: Section 508, accessibility, assistive technology, compliance, regulations
Categories: Forms, Government, PDF/UA