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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.

Section 508 Now 10 Years Old!


Millions of US citizens use assistive technology (AT) to read electronic content. A decade ago, the US Federal government’s Section 508 regulations, designed to ensure equal access to information, went into effect.

10 years later, it’s time to reflect, both on how far we’ve come and on some of the little surprises along the way.

Section 508 was based on WCAG 1.0, which assumed that all web-based content was HTML. Since PDF documents are generally created by users, few content managers elected to undertake responsibility for the PDFs posted on their websites.

Today, no one doubts that all documents posted on US Federal websites, whether HTML, PDF, DOC or other, must comply with Section 508.

Ten years after Section 508 went into effect there’s been substantial progress towards universal access to electronic content. It’s no longer just a Federal government objective; the Section 508 regulations spawned not only technological innovations, but a variety of similar rules in Canada, Australia and elsewhere. For users, things aren’t changing fast enough, and who can blame them for complaining? If you doubt the frustration that inaccessible PDF documents impose on blind, low vision, motor-impaired and other users, try reading a page that’s been shredded.

A key development of the last decade was the 2008 publication of WCAG 2.0. Technology-neutral, WCAG 2.0 is applicable to all technologies, including PDF, and it’s rapidly becoming “the law” for accessible electronic content. WCAG 2.0 will be integrated into the forthcoming “refresh” of the original Section 508 regulations.

Written primarily to define PDF accessibility in software development terms, the forthcoming ISO 14289, better known as PDF/UA (Universal Accessibility) provides technical answers to the question “how does WCAG 2.0 apply to PDF”.

Now at the “Draft International Standard” stage, PDF/UA heralds a new generation of software for creating accessible PDF documents and forms. The committees responsible for ISO 14289 are now hard at work finishing the text of the Standard. They are also developing implementation and best-practice guides to help developers, policy-makers and end-users ensure that PDF documents conform.


Tags: Section 508, WCAG 2.0, accessibility, regulations
Categories: Government, PDF/UA