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While the primary focus of the SOAP site is to help you make Web sites and dynamic applications accessible, it is crucial to make documents posted online accessible, too. Often, these documents contain important instructions, policies, guidelines, or forms that are intended to be downloaded and reviewed/completed offline.

As with web sites, it is much easier to create accessible documents, from the start, than it it is to fix them once they have been posted (and perhaps even re-posted elsewhere).



Creating accessible PDF documents starts by following accessibility practices during the authoring process. Whether you are using word-processing applications like MS Word or Open Office, or desktop publishing and design tools, such as Adobe InDesign, integrating accessibility into the authoring process will improve PDF document accessibility and deliver content to a wider audience.

Microsoft Office


Microsoft provides extensive documentation in support of accessibility to many of its products and services. Not only does it offer guidance on making Office products accessible, as will be discussed further below, but it also offers direction for those who are developing Windows-based applications. Developers will want to explore the Accessibility Developer Hub.


The use of checklists, when conducting accessibility testing, is sometimes seen as controversial. Some view such checklists as stifling creativity. Others suggest that checklists minimize the needs of people with disabilities, who want to access the web, in favor of ticking off checkboxes. And sometimes, checklists created to supplement (or speed) testing against WCAG 2.0, or Section 508, are flawed or inaccurate.


Search Engine Optimization and Accessibility

For many years, those who work on accessibility have been saying that Google (and other search engines) are "blind." As a result, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and accessibility work together to enable users to find information and access it successfully.



Offering text captions that are synchronized with videos is an increasingly common practice on the web, in movies, on TV, and at live events. These captions are essential for those who cannot hear or have difficulty hearing the audio. Making transcripts available is an additional and important component of providing full access to all who are unable to use audio and video, including those who have limited bandwidth, people who lack time, or have a disability. It also improves comprehension and boosts SEO.

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