The Joy of Giving Accessible Documents

computer screen showing two hands holding a heart with the words give accessibility

Charles Dickens wrote, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” As you seek ways to lighten the burdens of others during this season, have you considered giving the inclusive gift of accessibility? Accessibility opens doors to information so everyone enjoys the same experience. Imagine holding the door for someone whose hands are full of packages. Without your help, it would be difficult, or maybe even impossible, to open a door. Providing accessible documents allows you to “open doors” so your important information is accessible to everyone regardless of ability.

How do I give the gift of digital accessibility?

In order to give a gift as amazing as accessibility, we recommend creating a plan; and we’re here to help. Answer the questions below to decide where you need to start. We’ve also included answers for you so you can get started right away. The most important part of this process is to start now. Once you take the first step, you are opening your doors to inclusion, allowing everyone to receive the benefits of all you have to offer.

Have my document specialists completed accessibility training?

Designers drawing website ux app development. User experience concept.

It is vital that everyone creating and/or editing your documents are trained in accessibility. The training should include what document accessibility is, who it affects, why it matters, and detailed instructions on how to create accessible documents. 

If you can answer yes to this question, then you are probably familiar with how accessible (or inaccessible) your documents are. If your document authors already know how to create accessible documents, you are ready to test the accessibility of your documents. Note: If you are a Get ADA Docs client, your answer is yes. Our document specialists are trained in accessibility and have made sure the content in your documents is accessible.

If your document specialists (or you) are not trained in accessibility, you can pretty much count on the fact that your documents are not accessible. Accessibility is not an automatic door that opens with a simple push of a button. If this scenario applies to you, you can stop reading here and contact us before you are known as the Scrooge of the season!

If you don’t know if your document specialists have been trained, this is also a pretty good sign you do not have accessible documents. Creating accessible documents is an amazing skill successful document specialists do not hide. Because we know the importance of accessibility, we highlight it proudly. 

If you find yourself in need of training, Get ADA Docs offers digital accessibility training.* In addition to basic accessibility training, instructions on how to create accessible Microsoft Office and Adobe documents, and how to create captions with YouTube, our training portal lets you view and print reports to show who has completed the training. If you are a School Webmasters website management client, we provide free accessibility training for all your district staff. Visit our Website Accessibility Training [/Document-Accessibility-Training] page to learn more about our training options. We are sure you won’t find it for a better price anywhere else. If you do, let us know, and we will match it.

*If School Webmasters or Civic Webmasters manages your website, training is included free. Contact our director of accessibility for access to the training portal.

Have I tested my documents for accessibility?

A trained document accessibility auditor uses both manual and automated testing procedures to verify the accessibility of a document. Automated tools such as Adobe DC’s accessibility checker and Access for All’s PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) are valuable tools for automated testing of PDF documents. Although these tools offer a general idea of the accessibility of your documents, remember that automated testing alone is not sufficient to determine accessibility. You will still need to perform manual testing to actually ensure accessibility. 

How do I fix accessibility errors?

The answer to this question depends on who manages your documents. If you are the sole provider of all your documents, the first step to correcting accessibility errors is training. Once you know how to create accessible documents, the easiest way to remediate errors is with the document’s original format. If it’s not possible to locate original documents, it is possible to remediate many documents in PDF format depending on the quality of the document. 

If you decide document remediation is not something you have the time or training to complete, we will do it for you. Document remediation is our specialty. You can have peace of mind knowing that our professional document remediation specialists are working around the clock to remediate your documents so you can provide your clients with the accessibility they deserve. 

Do I have a statement of accessibility available to my clients?

Whether you are in the process of remediating your documents, creating new documents, or have already verified accessibility, we recommend providing a statement of accessibility. The content of your statement depends on where you are in the process. If you are in the process of remediating your documents, state this so your clients know you care about their abilities and are working hard to provide inclusive services.

We also recommend providing a form (an accessible one, of course) so your viewers can easily contact you in the event they experience an accessibility barrier. This allows you to address and remediate any barriers as soon as possible. 

I’m not sure I have the budget for document remediation.

A young man sitting at a computer Desk in the office and looking at the calculator.

Paying for document accessibility may not be something you planned for and included in your company budget. However, failing to provide accessible documents may mean facing a budget item larger than your entire holiday budget because someone who can’t properly view your documents files a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. In addition to the cost of remediation, consider the legal fees you will encounter should you receive a civil rights violation complaint like the many we are currently seeing filed in the federal court system. 

Think of your accessibility budget as your emergency savings account. If you plan correctly (with Get ADA Docs), you will never have to actually use it. Once we provide you with accessible documents, you can sit back and enjoy the holiday festivities without the threat of restricting access lingering overhead. You will feel comforted knowing you are doing everything in your power to provide digital accessibility.

Don’t be the belated gift giver. Give the gift of accessibility now!

Child giving a Christmas present near her house door, snowy outside

We are ready to get started on your documents right away. Experience the joy of giving as you provide documents accessible to everyone. Contact us and learn how easy it is to not only provide accessibility but to also meet all the requirements of Section 508, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)!