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PDF Association

Mission Statement: To promote Open Standards-based electronic document implementations using PDF technology through education, expertise and shared experience for stakeholders worldwide.
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Have we passed ‘peak PDF’?

How do we gain insight into how users’ views of documents are shifting? Google Trends is an increasingly interesting source of high-level marketplace data. By aggregating Google’s search data over time, reporting a term’s popularity as compared with all other searches.

Participating in the PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit’s objective is to establish a broad-based understanding of how PDF files should be tagged for accessibilty. It’s an opportunity to focus on establishing a common set of examples of accessible PDF content, and identify best-practice when tagging difficult cases.

Members supporting PDF features!

The typical adoption curve for PDF technologies until approximately 2007 tended to track with that of the original PDF developer. Since then the marketplace has shifted; it’s no longer clear that Adobe drivesPDF feature support worldwide. Accordingly, we are happy to report that adoption of PDF 2.0 continues apace, with new vendors announcing their support every month.

Modernizing PDF Techniques for Accessibility

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit will identify best-practices in tagging various cases in PDF documents. Questions to be addressed will likely include: the legal ways to tag a nested list, the correct way to caption multiple images, the appropriate way to organize content within headings.

Refried PDF

My hospital emailed me a medical records release form as a PDF. They told me to print it, fill it, sign it, scan it and return it to the medical records department, in that order. In 2018? To get the form via email (i.e., electronically), yet be asked to print it? Did the last 20 years just… not mean anything! So I thought I’d be clever. I’d fill it first, THEN print it. Or better yet, never print it, but sign it anyhow, and return it along with a note making the case for improving their workflow. The story continues…

Important Laws and regulations


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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Tags: ADA, Americans With Disabilities Act, Section 508, UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities:
Categories: PDF/UA