Comparing WCAG 2.0 to PDF/UA: Understanding the Standards and Mitigating Risk


Scheduled at 11:15am in Meadowbrook I/II on Wednesday, November 15 (2017).



  • Paul Rayius, Director of Training, CommonLook

Session Details

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


This session will give you a well-rounded understanding of PDF accessibility regulations and their differences, the risks associated with non-compliance, and various solutions you can implement right away to improve the accessibility of your PDF documents and reduce your legal risk!


Deficiencies in web and electronic document accessibility have become increasingly apparent over the past few years. As a result, more lawsuits have been filed and fines have been levied. Colleges and universities, in particular, are at risk for discrimination lawsuits when students, faculty, and/or staff cannot access electronic content required for application, class, or to complete work related duties. As new and improved legislation is introduced, digital content accessibility guidelines are becoming clearer. Because PDF content is one of the most widely used digital formats to communicate information online, it is important to make sure that those PDF documents are truly accessible to everyone. Unfortunately, Many questions abound regarding PDF accessibility, testing, and compliance. Where does one start to understand document accessibility? How do we address it? This presentation will focus on the issue of PDF accessibility and how to get started addressing accessibility.


  1. Risks associated with noncompliance.
  2. Compare and contrast of WCAG 2.0 with PDF/UA as applied to PDF.
  3. Available tools and suggested workflows to assess and address document compliance.

Disability Areas

Topic Areas

Alternate Format, Other, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Paul Rayius

Since 2013, Paul has helped a variety of organizations, including healthcare, government agencies (local, state and federal), financial institutions, and colleges and universities meet their PDF accessibility needs. In addition to his expertise with the CommonLook suite of tools for testing, creating and remediating PDFs, he is also well versed in accessibility standards including Section 508 (including the recent “refresh”), Health and Human Services (HHS), WCAG 2.0 and PDF/UA. Paul is a member of the IAAP (International Association of Accessibility Professionals) and serves on various committees for the CPACC exam, WAS, and BOK. In addition, he is a member of the PDF Association and participates in the PDF/UA Competence Center and the PDF/UA Technical Working Group. Paul also participates in, and moderates, several online accessibility groups and forums. Prior to joining the CommonLook team, Paul graduated with a BMe in Instrumental Music Education from Florida State University and taught middle school band for 11 years. In his spare time, he enjoys various outdoor activities and is an avid lacrosse player and geocacher.