Testing PDF Documents with NVDA for Usability & Accessibility

Presented at 9:00am in Independence on Tuesday, November 15, 2022.



  • Dax Castro, Accessible Document Specialist, Chax Training and Consulting
  • Chad Chelius, Accessible Document Specialist, Chax Training and Consulting

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 5-6-hr
  • Format: Bring-your-own Device Workshop: NVDA, PC laptop, Ear Buds or headphones
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


Testing PDF documents with a screen reader like NVDA is a great way to evaluate the expected user experience and uncover possible gaps in presentation. But using a screen reader can be daunting at first. This class focuses on the tools you need to know and the testing methods that will efficiently evaluate key metrics in your document for usability. Students leave the class with screen reader shortcuts and a 3-page checklist for evaluating a document usability and compliance.


This session walks users through the basics of navigating NVDA controls and then teaches attendees how to apply testing methodologies to PDF documents using a systematic checklist to maximize usability and validate things like logical structure, meaningful alt-text and several key compliance checkpoints.

This hands-on lab will kickstart your screen reader capabilities. Every attendee will be given an NVDA Shortcut Key Basics cheat sheet and a Testings for Accessibility/Usability Checklist they can use to move through any document with confidence.

Accessibility Topics Covered:

  • NVDA Interface/Settings
  • Basic screen reader shortcut keys for success
  • How to walk through your document
  • Key areas to check
  • Usability pitfalls almost no one ever catches
  • Checking tables for usability


  • Screen Reader Shortcut Key Basics cheat sheet
  • Screen Reader Usability Checklist


  1. There are many usability issues that are not caught by WCAG or automated checkers.
  2. Assistive Technology can be overwhelming for first-time users.
  3. Testing your document with a screen reader helps evaluate the expected user experience.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Assistive Technology, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Dax Castro

Dax is an Adobe Certified PDF Accessibility Trainer, Accessible Document Specialist and member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals. He has more than 25 years experience creating digital content using InDesign, Acrobat and other creative software. Dax specializes in user-centered accessibility approaches that push the envelope of technology to produce more robust accessible documents that still meet Section 508, WCAG 2.0/2.1 and PDF/UA compliance. Dax is also the co-host of the accessibility podcast Chax Chat streaming on all major podcast platforms.

Chad Chelius

Chad Chelius is a trainer, author, consultant, speaker and Managing Partner of Chax Training and Consulting. He resides in the Philadelphia area and has been using Adobe products for over 25 years. He began his career in the design and publishing industry. As an Adobe Certified Instructor and consultant he teaches and advises on all Adobe print and web products, specializing in InDesign and InCopy workflows, Illustrator, automation, and PDF accessibility using InDesign, Word, and Adobe Acrobat. He works with clients both large and small in and outside of the United States, helping them to solve design, workflow, and accessibility challenges using Adobe products. Chad is a LinkedIn Learning author and co-host of the accessibility podcast Chax Chat streaming on all major podcast platforms.