Standards

Introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993, Portable Document Format (PDF) is widely used for publishing and reading digital documents and became an ISO standard in 2008. PDF/UA (Universal Accessibility) is a revision of the PDF standard that defines guidelines for making PDF documents accessible and became an ISO Standard in July 2012 (updated in 2014). PDF/UA is referenced by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.

PDF/UA includes several features in support of accessibility the core of which is the ability to determine the logical order of content in a PDF document, independently of the content’s appearance or layout, through tags. Hence the term tagged PDF. This makes it possible for an assistive technology like web browsers to read a PDF out loud, reflow it for a small screen and facilitate users who rely on the keyboard control.

PDF has the benefit that it can faithfully render printed material on a digital devices and on print media. PDF/UA ensures that documents are fully accessible when they use the guidelines, however, there are still many examples of bad PDF that fail to reach accessible standards.

UKAAF’s aim is to ensure that PDF/UA is adopted successfully in the UK market in industries such as publishing, government, healthcare, financial services and utilities.

UKAAF is a strategic partner of the PDF Association and provides guidance to the UK market on how to leverage the PDF/UA specification for producing high quality digitally accessible documents.