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  • Writer's pictureShelby Ruch

Accessibility Matters: An 8-Step Roadmap to Achieving 508 Compliance



Computer screen that reads, "Designers should always keep their users in mind," with people standing in the background.

One of the most significant challenges to website accessibility ­– particularly for individuals using assistive technology ­– is the PDF. This is because they often show up as blank documents when using assistive technology. Making these files ADA and Section 508 compliant requires a strategic approach, especially when dealing with a large backlog of files. We at Splash Box Marketing are here to help you and share these valuable recommendations to navigate the remediation process effectively.


Assign a supervisor:

Create a team or choose a coordinator for the project. They will be responsible for making sure your files are compliant. This may include compiling a list of all PDFs on your website, tracking those updates, communicating with external service providers or compliance agencies, and more. Splash Box Marketing offers complete 508 remediation services and even offers a free 508 checklist to get started. You can get the checklist here.

 

Evaluate and choose carefully:

Assess the PDF list and select tools based on document types. Some companies will promise to provide compliant documents, but won’t deliver. AI remediation often won’t pass compliance regulations either, so make sure to choose a team or a service that understands and abides the WCAG guidelines.

 

Remove old documents:

Review and eliminate outdated, unused, or duplicate PDFs. Make sure that your website only hosts accessible copies, avoiding multiple versions of the same document.

 

Post accessibility notice:

Clearly and simply explain how users can obtain accessible PDFs from your website. Make sure to respond promptly to inquiries, even if you don’t have the document remediated yet. While waiting for information or documents isn’t ideal, being ignored is even worse – and will probably damage your reputation, too. A posted notice enhances transparency and helps prevent digital accessibility litigation.

 

Prioritize the most important PDFs:

The remediation process can take several months, especially if you have a large number of documents. Because of this, you should begin remediation with the most used and visible PDFs. By starting with the largest number, you’ll impact the most people and reduce the risk of accessibility lawsuits. Focus on the documents that are most important to your clients – like invoices, reports, and medical information.

 

Add on with the easy files:

Next, tackle the simple documents. Look for small files and documents with few images, pages, and complexity and without complex tables, lists, infographics, and high-resolution images. Leave the complex files for last.

 

Follow a timeline:

Create a timeline for PDF remediation and track your team’s progress diligently. Completing the project in a timely manner demonstrates a commitment to resolving accessibility issues.

 

Train content creators:

To avoid gaining a backlog of inaccessible files, make sure your content creators understand the importance of accessibility and 508 remediation. Set a date to require all new content to be accessible, provide training on easy-to-use tools, and encourage compliance.

 

Mitigating the risk of digital accessibility lawsuits involves a comprehensive plan, from appointing a coordinator to training content creators. Whether working in-house or outsourcing, following these steps ensures legal compliance and broadens the reach of digital information. For assistance in building a plan or remediating, contact Splash Box Marketing at info@splashbox.com or by visiting our website at splashbox.com.

 

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