In most cases, when institutions look to understand what's expected from website designers in term of accessibility the answer is the same: WCAG 2.0, a standard developed under the auspices of the W3C.
Conspicuous among these is PDF.
WCAG 2.0 not only sets out normative language defining requirements for accessibility in web content, the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group that created WCAG specifications also created Techniques for applying these specifications in various types of content.
WAI clearly indicates that other techniques for determining conformance with WCAG 2.0 may be specified, and provides clear instructions on how to regard Techniques as "sufficient", "advisory" or otherwise. To model the idea of techniques for accessibility, and to provide a set of references for developers to consider when creating or assessing their own, WAI created Techniques for HTML, CSS, Flash, Silverlight, ARIA and PDF, as well as server-side scripting.
These formal PDF Techniques have been slightly tweaked over the ten or so years of their publication, but as of August 2018 still contained some significant limitations:
These concerns are about to be addressed.
Hosted by the PDF Association, this event is designed to bring experts in PDF accessibility together to introduce, debate and agree upon a wide variety of examples of properly-tagged and therefore accessible PDF files in order to establish a baseline understanding of what constitutes “semantically appropriate tags in a logical reading order”, to quote PDF/UA-1, 7.1, paragraph 2.
The event will focus on identifying best-practice when tagging difficult or edge-cases in PDF-encoded content. Questions to be addressed will likely include:
The results of the summit's conclusions will be edited for publication by the PDF Association’s PDF/UA Technical Working Group, part of the PDF/UA Competence Center. The target is a new Tagged PDF Implementation Guide focusing on tagging.
Once structured appropriately, this guide will be used as basis for a proposed replacement to the current set of PDF Techniques for WCAG 2.0, and as the default set of PDF Techniques for WCAG 2.1.
The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit event page includes the registration form and other information specific to attending this event.
The staff of the PDF Association are dedicated to delivering the information, services and value the members have come to expect. Staff members of the PDF Association include: Alexandra Oettler (Editor) Betsy Fanning (Standards Director) Duff Johnson (Chief Executive Officer) Matthias Wagner (Operations Director) Nicole Gauger (Editor) Peter Wyatt (Chief Technology Officer) Thomas Zellmann (PDF Evangelist)