Welcome to the world of digital accessibility readiness – a comprehensive guide to ensuring inclusive online experiences for individuals of all abilities. In this discussion, we will explore the importance of digital accessibility readiness and how it serves as the foundation for creating accessible digital platforms, services, and content. By prioritizing digital accessibility readiness, we empower individuals with disabilities to navigate and engage with the digital realm on an equal footing. Let’s delve into the key principles and strategies of digital accessibility readiness, and embark on a journey towards a more inclusive and accessible digital landscape.

Digital accessibility enables individuals with disabilities to effectively perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with digital content, applications, and technologies. It encompasses a broad range of disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological impairments. Implementing accessibility best practices bridges the digital divide, empowering millions to fully participate in the digital realm.

Embracing digital accessibility fosters an inclusive society with equal access to information, services, and opportunities. Let’s embark on this journey together, taking the first step towards a more inclusive digital future. This whitepaper on digital accessibility aims to provide you with a foundational understanding of this critical field.

Why do you need digital accessibility readiness?

In recent years, the importance of digital accessibility has gained significant attention due to the legal landscape surrounding it. Two key legislations that address digital accessibility are Title II and Title III of the ADA. Understanding these laws and the associated lawsuits is crucial for organizations and businesses operating in the digital realm.

Title II of the ADA

This law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments, including their services, programs, and activities. It applies to ensuring that digital spaces are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Government websites, online forms, and digital documents must prioritize accessibility in their design and development.

Failure to comply with Title II can result in legal consequences, including lawsuits and financial penalties. In recent years, several municipalities and government agencies have faced legal action due to inaccessible websites or digital services. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has also emphasized the need for digital accessibility in its settlements with various government entities.

Department of Justice Announces Settlement with UC Berkeley

The DOJ investigates UC Berkeley for violating Title II of the ADA for not providing accessible online content. A proposed consent decree has been announced, requiring UC Berkeley to make both future and most existing online content accessible.

This includes courses, university websites, and video/podcast content on various platforms. UC Berkeley will revise policies, train staff, and appoint a web accessibility coordinator. It must conduct accessibility testing, and hire an independent auditor to evaluate content accessibility.

Title III of the ADA

Title III of the ADA prohibits disability-based discrimination in public accommodations, encompassing privately owned businesses and nonprofit organizations. In the digital realm, this includes websites and online services of businesses and organizations classified as public accommodations.

In spite of no specific federal regulations for digital accessibility, courts have recognized that inaccessible websites can impede equal access. This has resulted in a surge of lawsuits against businesses and organizations with inaccessible websites or digital services.

Courts have generally taken the position that websites should be accessible to individuals with disabilities. They must follow the principles of web accessibility standards such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

These lawsuits have led to significant financial settlements and legal obligations for businesses. This highlights the need for proactive digital accessibility efforts. Additionally, some states have introduced their own accessibility laws, further reinforcing the importance of providing accessible digital experiences.

Gil vs. Winn Dixie Stores

Gil, who is legally blind, regularly visits physical Winn-Dixie grocery stores for shopping and prescription needs for over fifteen years. He found their website incompatible with his screen reader software.

On July 1, 2016, Gil took legal action by filing a single claim under Title III of the ADA. He alleges Winn-Dixie’s website was incompatible with screen reader software. He argues that the website qualified as a “place of public accommodation under the ADA.” Therefore it had a direct connection to Winn-Dixie’s physical stores and pharmacies.

Consequently, he claimed that Winn-Dixie had violated Title III of the ADA. As a result of the court proceedings, Winn-Dixie was subsequently ordered to ensure accessibility on its website.

How can you tell if you are accessible across PDFs, Websites, etc.?

Ensuring accessibility across various digital formats, including PDFs, websites, and other online platforms, is essential. This provides an inclusive user experience to individuals with disabilities. To determine if your digital content is accessible, you can employ several evaluation techniques and tools. Here are some methods to help you gauge the accessibility of your PDFs, websites, and other digital assets.

Conduct Accessibility Audits

Performing accessibility audits is a systematic approach to evaluating the accessibility of your digital content. These audits involve reviewing your PDF documents, website pages, and other online resources.

Accessibility auditing tools, both automated and manual, can help identify potential issues and provide insights into areas that require improvement.

Use Accessibility Validators

For websites, web accessibility validators can be utilized to automatically check the accessibility of web pages. These validators assess your website against WCAG criteria and generate reports highlighting potential accessibility concerns. Similarly, there are specialized tools available for PDF accessibility, enabling you to identify and rectify any barriers.

Perform User Testing

Conducting user testing with participants who have different disabilities provides valuable insights to the accessibility of your digital content. They can navigate your website, access PDFs, or interact with other digital assets to evaluate their usability.

Consult Accessibility Guidelines

Consulting established accessibility guidelines such as WCAG can serve as a comprehensive resource to ensure compliance and accessibility. WCAG provides a set of internationally recognized standards for making digital content accessible.

It covers a wide range of accessibility requirements, including perceivable content, operable functionality, understandable information, and robust implementation. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that PDFs, websites, and other digital resources are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Engage Accessibility Experts

Seeking guidance from accessibility experts or consultants can be beneficial, especially if you have limited experience or expertise in accessibility. These professionals can conduct thorough accessibility assessments and provide recommendations for improvement. They will offer customized solutions based on your specific digital assets. Their expertise can help you ensure that PDFs, websites, and other digital platforms meet the necessary accessibility standards.

How to evaluate if you are accessible?

Evaluating digital accessibility makes sure your websites, applications, and digital content are inclusive and accessible to individuals with disabilities. By following these steps, you can effectively assess the accessibility of your digital assets and identify areas that require improvement.

codemantra offers a free compliance check for your documents. Use this link & sign up to check if your documents are compliant.

Familiarize Yourself with Accessibility Guidelines

Before evaluating digital accessibility, it is important to familiarize yourself with recognized accessibility guidelines. WCAG provides a comprehensive set of criteria for making digital content accessible. Understanding these guidelines will help you evaluate your digital assets against the established accessibility standards.

Use Automated Accessibility Evaluation Tools

Automated accessibility evaluation tools streamline the evaluation process by scanning your websites or digital documents for potential accessibility issues. These tools analyze the code and content, and based on predefined rules, they generate reports highlighting accessibility violations. Automated tools are useful but limited in identifying accessibility issues. Manual testing remains essential for a comprehensive assessment.

Conduct Manual Accessibility Testing

Manual accessibility testing involves reviewing and testing your digital content using a combination of assistive technologies and manual interaction.

Ensure that all functionality, including navigation, form inputs, and interactive elements, can be accessed and operated using only a keyboard. Test for proper focus management and logical tab order.

Screen reader software such as NVDA (Nonvisual Desktop Access) help to navigate and interact with your digital content. Pay attention to proper reading order, alternative text for images, and correct pronunciation of content.

Assess the visual design of your website to ensure readability and appropriate use of headings, and other structural elements. Verify that content is not reliant solely on color for conveying information.

Review the alternative text (alt text) used for images, charts, and other non-text elements. Alt text should provide meaningful descriptions to convey the content and context to individuals who cannot see the visual elements.

Perform User Testing with Individuals with Disabilities

User testing with individuals with disabilities is invaluable for obtaining direct feedback and insights. Recruit participants with a range of disabilities relevant to your target audience. Such as visual impairments, hearing impairments, motor disabilities, or cognitive impairments.

Observe their interactions, note any difficulties or barriers they encounter, and collect feedback on their user experience. This firsthand feedback can provide unique perspectives and help identify accessibility issues that may have been overlooked.

Seek Expert Accessibility Audits and Consultation

Engaging accessibility experts or consultants can provide you with professional insights and recommendations. These experts can conduct thorough accessibility audits, identify accessibility gaps, and offer guidance on how to address them. They can also assist in developing accessibility strategies and implementing best practices.

Continuously Monitor and Improve

Digital accessibility is an ongoing process. Regularly monitor your digital assets for accessibility compliance, especially when making updates or introducing new features. Stay updated with the latest accessibility guidelines and industry practices to improve the accessibility of your digital content.

How can codemantra help?

codemantra is a leading Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) Solutions Provider. Its AI-driven platform, accessibilityInsight automates digital document accessibility compliance. It captures, classifies, and extracts data. It can transform the output to any format.

The platform uses artificial intelligence to make PDFs compliant with PDF U/A standards and WCAG guidelines. The accessibilityInsight™ platform includes three solutions. accessibilityCheck is an accessibility compliance validator for PDF and MS Office documents. It enables user intuitive reporting across multiple categories.

accessibilityFix performs large-scale automated remediation of documents. It executes artificial intelligence based accessibility prediction in the uploaded PDF document. The output is a fully remediated output without any human intervention.

accessibilityReview includes automated prediction and user intuitive interfaces. It provides automatic support for custom alt text for equations. Let’s take a look at each module in detail.

About accessibilityCheck

accessibilityCheck offers a thorough audit of digital documents in any format using a cloud-based multi-document audit and compliance report module. The documents are assessed for accessibility compliance against PDF/UA standards and WCAG guidelines.

Why accessibilityCheck?

  • Validation – Comprehensive manual validation across all document types to comply with PDF U/A standards and WCAG guidelines.
  • Compliance report – Users can generate document accessibility compliance report.
  • Speed – Identifies all accessibility errors effectively in a detailed compliance report with great speed.
  • Integration – Easily integrates into any business application or platform through a REST API.
  • HITL – No Human intervention required.

About accessibilityFix

accessibilityFix is an automated PDF accessibility remediation module. It enables AI-powered document structure creation, metadata extraction, and automated tagging. The output complies with federal ADA, Section 508, and state laws, without human intervention.

Why accessibilityFix?

  • No human intervention is required – Automated remediation powered by AI and machine learning can help you achieve compliance.
  • Integration – Easily integrates into any business application or platform through a REST API.
  • Alt text – Auto-generated syntactic Alt text for figures, tables, and formulas. MathML content for equations with a click of a button.

About accessibilityReview

accessibilityReview offers document remediation with machine learning suggestions along with human oversight. It provides Alt Text writing and ensures accessibility compliance through PDF/UA and WCAG validation reports.

  • Human assisted intervention – Users can provide alt text for images and review auto-generated math descriptions.
  • Turnaround time – Reduces time taken to make PDFs accessible.

Digital accessibility readiness checklist

Use this checklist to evaluate the accessibility of your digital assets, including websites, applications, and digital content. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your digital properties are inclusive and accessible to individuals with disabilities.


Page and site navigation can become intricate, but there are two crucial aspects to consider for accessible pages.

Individuals with disabilities often rely on keyboard navigation, using the tab key to navigate through a page. In a well-structured website, tabbing follows a logical order. This allows keyboard-only users to navigate through a page and site in a logical and intuitive way.

Content Structure

Similar to an outline, a well-structured page effectively communicates relationships between different content areas. Here are some key elements of a well-structured page.

  • Each page should have a distinct and clear title, displayed in the browser’s tab and above the web address bar. No two pages should share the same title.
  • Headings follow a logical order, such as, “Heading 1” or “H1” and so on. They must provide meaningful descriptions of the content they introduce.
  • Bulleted and numbered lists helps users understand the list structure and the number of items it contains.
  • Tables can be categorized as data tables or layout tables. Data tables should be marked up in a way that defines column and/or row headers.


Clear presentation of hyperlinks is essential in web design. Users of assistive devices typically depend on a list of identifiable hyperlinks rather than contextual reading.


Providing alternative text (“alt text”) or detailed descriptions for images ensures equal access to visually conveyed information. This is particularly important for explanatory images, flowcharts, schematics, graphs, etc.

Non-informative or redundant images that do not add relevant content should be skipped. They provide no value to users and may cause unnecessary distractions.


Ensure accessibility of forms, whether online or within documents. Users should navigate logically and intuitively, efficiently moving between input fields using the tab key. All form fields and controls should have clear labels indicating expected information or actions. Allow users to extend their time with the form if needed. Some individuals may require more time to complete it successfully.

Documents and Other Files

Various files posted online, such as navigation, content structure, hyperlinks, text, images, and forms, should adhere to accessibility principles. Microsoft Office products and Adobe Acrobat Professional offer built-in accessibility checkers. These help to identify and address issues, but manual review may still be necessary for certain elements in some files.

Word processing documents (e.g., WordPerfect, Word) should be structured similarly to web pages, with clear headings and hyperlinks. Form fields need proper labeling, and images should have appropriate alternative text.

When you scan text into a PDF file, verify it as actual text using optical character recognition (OCR) software. This ensures that screen readers can read the content accurately. PDF documents should also be well-structured and tagged for easy navigation.

Presentations often combine elements found in web pages and word processing documents. Multimedia elements like audio, video, and animations should be considered. Spreadsheets with merged cells, calculations, and graphs require careful attention to label table headers and rows. The effort required to make a spreadsheet accessible varies depending on its complexity.


Video content should include captions and transcripts for individuals in the Deaf community or with hearing loss. Describing sound effects or audio within the video may be necessary in text form. Audio descriptions are beneficial for visually impaired or blind individuals. Videos should also offer audio descriptions to convey visual information.

Animations, alerts, and on-screen movement can be distracting for individuals with cognitive disabilities. Therefore, non-animated versions or options to pause or disable animations should be available.


Digital accessibility readiness is crucial for ensuring equal access to online platforms, services, and content, regardless of disabilities.

In conclusion, digital accessibility readiness serves as the foundation for an inclusive digital environment. By prioritizing digital accessibility readiness, we can ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to online content and services. It is essential to invest in training, tools, and policies that promote digital accessibility readiness. By embracing digital accessibility readiness, we pave the way for a more inclusive and accessible digital future. Let’s continue to prioritize digital accessibility readiness and empower everyone to fully engage with the digital world.

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