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What is accessibility design and Section 508?

Accessible document design makes information available to all people, no matter their specific vision, mobility, or cognitive conditions. An accessible document has code in it that works with technologies that are able to assist, such as screen readers that will read out loud.

In the U.S., Section 508 is a set of standards and requirements that address access to information and communication technology.

About 20% of the population of the United States has a disability. It could be a permanent condition such as being born blind, or situational, such as having a broken arm. The conditions of disability can be anything from blindness, low-vision, deafness, and hard-of-hearing, to cognitive, dexterity, or physical disabilities.

An accessible document is prepared by carefully creating a document with attention to color, letter size, and all the other things in a typical well-designed document. The difference is that the designer will work using the best practices to achieve accessibility for all.

In addition to the design, there is other work involved such as tagging, remediation, and testing. Tagging involves assigning codes to the different parts of a page, such as headers, paragraphs, and images. The document is then converted to a PDF. Remediation is the next step, where we solve other problems that come up during testing. The final output is a document that can be utilized by screen readers, and other technologies that assist people with disabilities.

How I can help

You have a new project, an existing InDesign file, or a PDF—and they need to be accessible.

  • I can add accessibility to your document from the very beginning of the process.

  • I can take an existing InDesign document and adjust it for accessibility.

  • I can take an existing PDF and analyze it. It may only need remediation, but it may also need to be reworked back in InDesign.

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