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About the contributor
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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What is a “Competence Center”?

The PDF Association started in 2006 as the “PDF/A Competence Center”. The mission was to identify – and thereby establish – a common interpretation of the PDF/A-1 specification. With that accomplished through meetings open to all members, the secondary …

“PDF can do THAT?!”

PDF files deliver a complete package of information that defines a document; everything that’s needed to represent the text, graphics and layout that the recipient receives. To most people, PDF is “electronic paper” – the digital expression of a cellul …

The only digital document format

What is a “document”? A document is a record of some (typically written) content – a publication, a contract, a statement, a painting – at a moment in time. Until the advent of computers (and scanners), the media typically considered useable for such r …

Save the Date: PDF Days Europe 2018, May 14-16, in Berlin

PDF Days Europe is the most popular PDF event of the year. It’s where the PDF industry meets, and where institutional and corporate users come to learn what else PDF could do for them. The first two PDF Days will offer a broad range of educational sessions focussed on current and perennial topics in the world of PDF technology implementation.

The Power of the Page

It’s a question that vexes vendors of web-based solutions everywhere: why do people still insist on PDF files? And why does PDF’s mindshare keep going up? “PDF is such antediluvian technology!” they say. “It’s pre-web, are you kidding me? It’s so old-f …

PDF/UA becomes an American national standard


Cover of the ANSI version of PDF/UA.The ISO standard for accessible PDF files is just 24 pages. Until now, this short document was available from the ISO and its member bodies at a cost of 88 Swiss Francs (about USD $90), or from individual ISO member organizations at some similar price.

As of March 28, 2016, PDF/UA is available from AIIM for USD $15.

PDF/UA conforming files make PDF content accessible to users with disabilities in compliance with federal and state regulations. When documents conforming to PDF/UA are supported by the user’s viewer software, the standard enables enhanced use of PDF in smart phones, desktop applications, search engines, taxonomy systems and more.

Although Portable Document Format technology is now 23 years old, and an ISO standard, vendors still differ substantially in terms of their attention to the format’s various features, including the “Tagged PDF” feature necessary for accessibility. PDF/UA solves this problem.

PDF/UA was created to provide a common, technically-specific understanding of what constitutes accessible PDF documents Since the specification’s original publication almost four years ago we’ve seen a remarkable degree of investment in tagged PDF by software developers, accessibility professionals and organizations worldwide. Mandates to produce accessible documents are proliferating in government and government-contractor organizations in North America, Europe, Australia and beyond. In the larger economy, accessibility best-practices for websites and electronic documents increasingly specify WCAG 2.0 for HTML/CSS/JavaScript content and video, and PDF/UA for electronic documents.

Based on the Access Board’s 2015 draft, it’s reasonable to expect that new Section 508 and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations in the United States will leverage PDF/UA to drive development of accessibility solutions for line-of-business content across the economy.

PDF/UA is consistent with WCAG 2.0, but far more technically specific, and provides a clear-cut means of affirming that a given PDF document meets high standards for accessibility.

Now available from AIIM as a PDF/UA-conforming document for just $15, the new ANSI edition of PDF/UA is just 17% the cost of the ISO original. It is anticipated that reducing the cost in this manner will serve to promote awareness of PDF/UA, and the development of technically consistent, standards-based approaches to the accessibility challenge in the years to come.

Going forwards, both document creation and consumption vendors are likely to hear more requests about their support of PDF/UA.

Purchase ANSI / AIIM / ISO 14289-1:2016 from AIIM.org.


Tags: AIIM, ANSI
Categories: PDF/UA, Standards development