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ISO 14289-1 (PDF/UA-1)

PDF files may be created natively, converted from other electronic formats, or digitized from paper. Businesses, governments, libraries, archives, and other institutions and individuals around the world use PDF to represent considerable bodies of important information. These PDF files should be made accessible to users with disabilities.

Beyond alternative descriptions for images the accessibility of an electronic document depends on a variety of semantic information describing the logical structure and organization of the page content into sections, paragraphs, lists, tables and so on.

The PDF feature that represents the semantic information necessary for accessibility is known as “Tagged PDF”.

The ISO 14289 (PDF/UA) family of standards consists of:

  • ISO 14289-2: ISO TC 171 SC 2 WG 9 is presently at work on PDF/UA-2. Publication is expected in March, 2024.
  • ISO 14289-1:2014: This “dated revision” includes a variety of corrections. It is available from both ISO and the PDF Association.
  • ISO 14289-1:2012: The original PDF/UA specification published in 2012 is no longer available.

Context and limitations

PDF/UA operates as a companion standard to be used in conjunction with ISO 32000-2 (PDF 2.0). A common source of accessibility requirements are the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). PDF/UA provides a means of making PDF files that conform to WCAG, and may be used in conjunction with WCAG 2.x.

By itself, conformity to PDF/UA does not necessarily ensure the accessibility of a document’s content.  Cases not covered by PDF/UA include, and are not limited to:

  • Authors may have used colour or contrast in an inaccessible manner
  • ECMAScript present in the file may generate inaccessible results
  • Text content may not be accessible to those with certain cognitive impairments.

PDF/UA does not cover conversion, or how to achieve conformance; the standard simply states the technical features of accessible PDF documents.

The PDF Association maintains extensive technical resources, including a best practice guide and other educational materials to guide developers and users of PDF/UA.

RESOURCE INFO

Buy ISO 14289-1


INFO

ISO 14289-1:2014 (PDF/UA-1) defines the use of tagged PDF in files conforming to ISO 32000-1:2008 (PDF 1.7) to ensure accessible content.

PDF/UA icon

PDF Association author(s): PDF/UA TWG

ISO Working Group: ISO TC171 SC2 WG9

ISO Status: status of all PDF-related ISO work

Related PDF Association publications:

October 7, 2014


PDF/UA

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