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NTL Section 508 Accessibility Guide to Digital Submissions

Federal Data on Disabilities

CDC estimates that one in 4 U.S. adults – 61 million Americans – have a disability that impacts major life activities, according to a report in CDC’s Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report 2018;67:882–887. DOI:  The most common disability type, mobility, affects 1 in 7 adults. With age, disability becomes more common, affecting about 2 in 5 adults age 65 and older.

Source:   CDC Press Release (August 16, 2018) 

What are assistive technologies?

What are assistive technologies and why are they important?

  • screen magnifiers, and other visual reading assistants, which are used by people with visual, perceptual and physical print disabilities to change text font, size, spacing, color, synchronization with speech, etc. in order to improve the visual readability of rendered text and images

  • screen readers, which are used by people who are blind to read textual information through synthesized speech or braille;

  • text-to-speech software, which is used by some people with cognitive, language, and learning disabilities to convert text into synthetic speech

  • speech recognition software, which may be used by people who have some physical disabilities

  • alternative keyboards, which are used by people with certain physical disabilities to simulate the keyboard (including alternate keyboards that use head pointers, single switches, sip/puff and other special input devices)

  • alternative pointing devices, which are used by people with certain physical disabilities to simulate mouse pointing and button activations

  • Source: W3C Web Accessibility Initiative WAI Accessibility Guidelines Working Group 

Accessibility and PDF

I'm new to Section 508. Where can I go to get an introduction to accessibility?

What features does Adobe Acrobat have for users? Features to Support the Reading of PDFs by People with Disabilities:

All versions of Adobe Acrobat DC, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, Acrobat Standard DC and Acrobat Pro DC provide support for the accessible reading of PDF files by persons with disabilities:

  • Preferences and commands to optimize output for assistive technology software and devices, such as saving as accessible text for a Braille printer
  • Preferences and commands to make navigation of PDFs more accessible, such as automatic scrolling and opening PDFs to the last page read
  • An Accessibility Setup Assistant Wizard for easy setting of most preferences related to accessibility
  • Keyboard alternatives to mouse actions
  • Reflow capability to temporarily present the text of a PDF in a single, easy-to-read column
  • Read Out Loud text-to-speech conversion
  • Support for screen readers and screen magnifiers
  • Support for high contrast and alternative foreground and background colors

What features does Adobe Acrobat have for document creators? Features to Support the Creation of Accessible PDFs: 

  • Creation of tagged PDFs from authoring applications
  • Conversion of untagged PDFs to tagged PDFs from within Acrobat
  • Security settings that allow screen readers to access text while preventing users from copying, printing, editing and extracting text
  • Ability to add text to scanned pages to improve accessibility
  • Tools for editing reading order and document structure
  • Tools for creating accessible PDF forms
  • Ability to set document properties including title and expose them through the title bar of the application

Source: Adobe accessibility features: