508 Compliance Audit: PDF Document
As with any form of communication produced by the DoD, PDFs must be 508-compliant. When preparing a PDF document, use this quality assurance check to comply with 508 requirements.
If you're using Adobe Acrobat Pro, use their automated accessibility check before finalizing your PDF. To do so, open the file with Adobe Acrobat Pro and enable the Accessibility feature under Tools > Protect & Standardize. Then run an Accessibility Check to verify these items below. For instructions, refer to Adobe Acrobat Support. Use this checklist to confirm manually that all PDFs are 508-compliant.
Setting the appropriate document properties, e.g., the document language, optimizes the output for screen readers and other assistive software. If using Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can access these properties within the window under File > Properties.
Screen readers use tags to interpret the document structure. Content that is repetitive or decorative should be changed to an artifact so screen readers can skip over it. If using Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can view a document’s tag structure by enabling it within View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Tags. Refer to Adobe Support for instructions to edit structure within the Content and Tags panels.
Images and Other Non-text Content
Screen readers cannot infer meaning from images and other objects, e.g., pictures, images of text, charts, diagrams, shapes, icons with hyperlinks, etc. To be compliant:
Data tables in PDFs must be tagged appropriately. To be compliant:
Links and Controls
Color and Sensory Characteristics
Color contrast is an integral part of accessibility, particularly for users with visual disabilities. Use a tool such as https://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/ to determine if contrast ratios are sufficient.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). hhs-508-pdf-checklist.
Social Security Administration. (n.d.). AED COP PDF Test Check Sheet.