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 formats various features, including the Tagged PDF feature necessary for accessibility. PDF/UA solves this problem.
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.
The staff of the PDF Association are dedicated to delivering the information, services and value 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), Peter Wyatt (Chief Technology Officer), Thomas Zellmann (PDF Evangelist).