Confidence in Compliance

August 6, 2019

How can we be sure a document is fully accessible and compliant? This is a topic Accessibil-IT is asked about often. The two most common questions we hear are:

  1. Document accessibility suppliers “guarantee compliance” but what does this really mean?
  2. How can compliance be “proven”?

Choosing the right Standard for the document is the first step. Understanding global accessibility standards and their intent, as well as having the know-how to implement them is critical to achieving compliance.

How do we know if the Standards have been implemented properly? There are testing tools to assist with this. PAC3 is a free testing tool that is an industry standard for testing accessible PDFs. Other testing tools include Adobe Acrobat DC Accessibility Checker and Foxit PhantomPDF Accessibility Checker which provide a quick test for accessible PDFs, although they aren’t viewed to be as thorough as PAC3. Microsoft Accessibility Checker tests WORD, Excel and PowerPoint for conformance with best practices for accessibility for this software.

Testing tools shouldn’t be used alone. Manual checking is still required to ensure that the document complies with global accessibility Standards however valid testing tools are an important part of the testing process.

Let’s keep in mind the whole point of complying with document accessibility Standards is to ensure adaptive technology can interpret the document correctly, allowing users to navigate and comprehend the content. If you want to be sure the document is accessible with adaptive technology, there is one way to be sure. Test it with adaptive technology!
When Accessibil-IT is asked for proof of compliance and usability, we offer the following reports:

(1) Evidence the document has met global accessibility Standards:

  • PAC3 testing results for accessible PDFs
  • Adobe Acrobat DC Accessibility Checker Report when requested
  • Microsoft Accessibility Checker Report for documents in Microsoft software

(2) Evidence an accessible document compliant with the Standards is interpreted properly by screen readers:

  • The Paciello Group JAWS Inspect Report and/or NVDA’s written report which shows the transcript of what JAWS or NVDA are reading. They can be reviewed for completeness, reading accuracy and kept on file as evidence the document is interpreted properly.

Whether you are the document accessibility expert within an organization, or you outsource your document accessibility to an outside supplier, obtain confidence in the compliance by using the proper tools or view the Reports/transcripts. Don’t hesitate to ask your supplier to provide this evidence.

Contact Accessibil-IT at for more information.

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