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PDF File 508 Checklist (WCAG 2.0 Refresh)

This checklist is based on the new WCAG 2.0 requirements that will be in effect starting on January 18, 2018.

In addition to Section 508 requirements, HHS has policies, standards, and requirements for electronic documents that include but aren’t limited to the following: 

  • Document file name should not contain any spaces or special characters.
  • Document file name needs to be concise, generally limited to 20-30 characters and should clarify the contents of the file.
  • All Document properties should be filled out Title, Author, (an HHS OpDiv, StaffDiv, or Program Office---not an individual’s names) Subject, and Keywords
  • Use electronic version for any signatures (see http://webstandards.hhs.gov/standards/41)  
  • Use Exit Icon disclaimer for all non-government sites

Please refer to our Policies and Standards section for additional guidance.

Last Updated: February 2018

Additional Resources:

Compliance Checklist

The checklist below, a series of tables, is based on the content of the PDF. Acceptable answers are: Yes, No, or N/A. If ‘No’ is the answer to any item, then the document is not 508 compliant.

Section A: All PDFs

These checks should be performed on all PDFs no matter of what is present in the actual content:

ID

Requirements

Traceability to 508

Result

A1

Is the PDF tagged?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1

 

A2

Is the Document Title filled out in the Document Properties?

WCAG 2.0 Success criterion 2.4.2

 

A3

Is the correct language of the document set?

WCAG 2.0 Success

criterion 3.1.1

 

A4

Did the PDF fully pass the Adobe Accessibility Checker?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 4.1.1

 

A5

Is the document free from content that flashes more than 3 times per second?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.3.1.

 

A6

Are accurate bookmarks provided for documents greater than 9 pages?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.5.

 

A7

Is the document free from review-related content carried over from Office or other editing tools such as comments, track changes, embedded Speaker Notes?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1

 

A8

Is the order in the tag structure accurate and logical? Do the tags match the order they should be read in?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.2.

 

A9

Is all informational content contained in the tag structure?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1

 

A10

Are all non-standard tags appropriately mapped to standard Adobe tags?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 4.1.2

 

A11

Is all the text within the tags correctly formatted? (Free from line breaks and split words) Learn more about finding and fixing backend text errors.

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 4.1.1

 

A12

Do paragraph tags accurately represent visual paragraphs?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1

 

A13

Can text be resized and considered readable when magnified to 200%?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.4.4.

 

 

Section B: PDFs containing Color

ID

Requirement

Traceability to 508

Result

B1

Is information conveyed by methods other than color alone?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.4.1.

 

B2

Does all text (with the exception of logos) have a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 or greater no matter the size?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.4.3. (Size stipulation not considered by HHS)

 

 

Section C:  PDFs containing Links

ID

Requirement

Traceability to 508

Result

C1

Are links tagged correctly in the tag structure? (Contain visual link text and link OBJR within the Link tag)

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

C2

Are links distinguished by a method other than color?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.4.1,

 

C3

Can all link text be understood out of context? If not, does generic link have sufficient context?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.4,

 

 

Section D:  PDFs containing Images

ID

Requirement

Traceability to 508

Result

D1

Are all images conveying information tagged as figures and included in the tag structure?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

D2

Do all images conveying information have alt text that provides the same level of understanding a visual user would gain?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.1.1.

 

D3

Are all decorative images tagged as artifact/background?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.1.1.

 

D4

Do complex images have an alternate accessible means of understanding?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.1.1.

 

D5

Is the document free from images of text? (Picture of an informational table, screenshot of text from another source, etc.)

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.4.5

 

D6

Are groups of related images tagged in a way assistive technology users would understand?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.1.1.

 

 

Section E:  PDFs containing Tables

ID

Requirement

Traceability to 508

Result

E1

Does the document use table tags only for data tables?

 

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

E2

Does the table structure in the tag tree match the visual table layout?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

E3

Are all header cells tagged with the TH tag? Are all data cells tagged with the TD tag?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

E4

Do all Header cells contain text?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

E5

Are merged cells correctly spanned with Colspan and/or Rowspan?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

E6

Do data tables with 1 set of both column and row headers appropriately use scope to associate to data cells?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

E7

Do data tables with more than 1 set of column and/or row headers appropriately use id/headers to associate to data cells?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

 

Section F: PDFs containing Lists

ID

Requirement

Traceability to 508

Result

F1

Are all visual lists tagged correctly with the List, List Item (LI), and LBody tags?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

F2

Does the number of items in the tag structure match the number of items in the visual list?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

F3

Are nested lists appropriately nested in the tag structure?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

 

Section G:  PDFs containing Headings

ID

Requirement

Traceability to 508

Result

G1

Is text intended to act as a visual heading tagged with the heading tags (H1 through H6)?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

G2

Do heading tags follow a logical hierarchical progression? (Do not skip heading levels)

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

G3

Are heading tags used only on text that defines a section of content?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

G4

Does the Heading text accurately describe the sectional content?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.6

 

 

Section H:  PDFs containing Forms

ID

Requirement

Traceability to 508

Result

H1

Are all form fields correctly tagged?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 3.3.2

 

H2

Do all form fields contain understandable labels and tooltips?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 3.3.2

 

H3

Do tooltips contain all formatting requirements that will be automatically flagged as an error?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 3.3.2

 

H4

Are required fields programmatically set?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 3.3.1

 

H5

Is the tab order of the form fields logical?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.2.

 

 

Section i:  PDFs containing other common elements

ID

Requirement

Traceability to 508

Result

i1

Is any nonstandard text (glyph) tagged in an accessible manner?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.1.1.

 

i2

Was OCR successfully performed on a scanned image document?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.4.5.

 

i3

Was the language appropriately set for all foreign words or phrases?

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 3.1.2

 

i4

Is the table of contents tagged with appropriate tags? (TOC, TOC Item (TOCI))

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

i5

Are all internal links/TOC entries functioning correctly (if linked)?

 

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.5.

 

i6

Are citations and footnotes/endnotes tagged with appropriate tags? (Reference, Note)

WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.

 

Content created by Digital Communications Division (DCD)
Content last reviewed on February 15, 2018