The power of PDF/UA (Lecture session)

Bios & Handouts

Scheduled at 9:15am in Standley I Lab on Friday, November 16.



  • Naveesha Maharaj, Accessiblity Consultant/SME, Deque

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Intermediate
  • Type of session: General Conference


The question has been in the air from people of all roles. Does a PDF need to just comply with the Adobe Accessibility Checker or does it need to conform with WCAG 2.0 & PDF/UA? Let’s look at the importance of not only producing a universally accessible document, but also a usable high-quality document instead of only conforming with a standard


What is PDF/UA and why can’t we just make all our documents conform to WCAG 2.0? In this lecture, I will explain and demonstrate what WCAG 2.0 does not cover in making a PDF universally accessible. I will guide you through the overlap, and the tools needed to produce a fully accessible PDF. If you are a developer, author or even an analyst who may be involved in tagging PDF documents and forms, then this presentation is meant for you. Let’s discuss when its best to address specific requirements in PDF/UA and WCAG during this process. Is PDF/UA with WCAG a concern that we should address now instead of waiting for changes to be formalized? Let’s talk about what is required by the law today, and the risks of being non-conformant. From this presentation, you will leave with an understanding of how the two standards apply to your PDF creation, the checkpoints provided in PDF/UA and which ones fall under WCAG 2.0, how to apply certain features to a PDF to ensure full compliance and usability


  1. importance of not only producing a universally accessible document, but also a usable high-quality document
  2. what is required by the law today, and what are the risks of being non-conformant
  3. when its best to address specific requirements in PDF/UA and WCAG 2.0

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Alternate Format, Assistive Technology, Information Technology, Legal, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Naveesha Maharaj

Naveesha currently consults primarily for Deque Systems, The Carrol Center for the Blind, Ogilvy, and Brightworks on web, mobile and PDF accessibility, ensuring clients are producing not only compliant content but usable to as well . Previously she worked as a Web Accessibility Analyst at TD and as an Accessibility Systems Testing/QA Specialist at the Ministry of Community and Social Services Children, Youth and Social Services I&IT Cluster testing internal and external sites against WCAG 2.0 standards. Technical writing, presentations and assistance in remediation were also part of her daily activities. She was an active member of the Accessibility Consulting team at CNIB focusing on internal and external AODA and WCAG 2.0 Compliance. Since 1999 she has also worked in the Pharmaceutical, Financial and Corporate Retail industries where her responsibilities have ranged from, Technical Team lead, Merchandise Business Associate to E-Business Specialist. Naveesha graduated from both University and College as a Computer Programmer/ Technical Administration receiving Leadership, Best Speaker and Communication Awards thus; enabling her to bring forward the knowledge and expertise to CNIB in order to organize Accessibility training, Seminars as well as providing continuous support. In her current role as an Accessibility Consultant, Naveesha provides accessibility audits for clients, Usability assessments, Document conversion and promotes accessibility awareness & services to organizations within Ontario while assisting anyone in need of accessibility information ensuring compliance with the current Section 508 of the U.S. Rehab Act, WCAG 2.0, W3C and AODA standards. These duties compliment her interests of volunteering for fundraising events and helping others in need either internationally or in local organizations.