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37th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Accessible Documents for Small Government Agencies

Date & Time
Friday, March 18, 2022 - 9:20 AM PST  
Platinum 7-8  

Local governments churn out documents constantly, and it is never a linear process. Often, multiple departments are submitting reports, with their spreadsheets, data, and images compiled in a larger document, oftentimes spanning hundreds of pages. How can such a compilation ever become accessible when there are so many cooks in the kitchen?

While there are hundreds of accessibility and remediation presentations around documents, we will direct this session toward unique issues faced by small government agencies, like municipal and city governments. The documents created and distributed are varied: sometimes they are graphical, very financial, or decades-old, scanned copy. Our presentation will look at various scenarios from our government clients and best strategies to make these documents more accessible for users with disabilities.

From the start, we will help members of the audience figure out which accessibility standard is best appropriate for their agency, whether it is Section 508, WCAG 2.0/2.1 A/AA/AAA or something else entirely. We will provide a brief introduction to the standards and the differences as they apply specifically to documents.

One of our primary focuses will be the year-end budget books, especially the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report or CAFR. A Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is a set of U.S. government financial statements comprising the financial report of a state, municipal or other governmental entity that complies with the accounting requirements promulgated by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) . Despite so much formulaic structure, often accessibility is not a factor into these documents. Our presentation will look at table structure when derived from Excel tables uploaded by authors in multiple pages of a PDF, especially with multiple columns and complex structure. We will also dive into organizational charts and color contrast, as well as document hierarchy structure with headings and creating a table of contents with bookmarks.

Other document types will include informational materials like flyers, forms, and brochures. Using tools within Adobe Acrobat, we will discuss best tips for form creation and infographics, as appropriate for their structure. Additionally, we will help content authors tweak document properties, like title and language attributes. We will also provide helpful suggestions for OCR and alternative text for scanned text and images from legacy documents.

The presentation will pivot between fixing accessibility issues in the source files, like Microsoft Office and Excel, as well as more complicated remediation fixes using accessibility tools in Adobe Acrobat. We will teach the audience how to validate their efforts using the Adobe Accessibility Checker, as well as basic ways to validate using assistive technologies like screen readers and keyboard only usage so that anyone, regardless of experience with assistive technology, can begin to check.

Geared specifically for a municipal government worker, we will share our best tips and tricks to author accessible content from the onset and remediate source files to ensure accessible output year after year to better serve your constituents. Our actionable suggestions will include modifying templates, authoring alternative text, table design, and more accessibility methods specifically geared for city and municipal government documents.

This Presentation Link is provided by the Presenter(s) and not hosted by the Center on Disabilities at CSUN. The Center on Disabilities has confirmed, as of March 14, 2022, content linked is relevant to the presentation, but has not been reviewed for accessibility nor will the Center on Disabilities attempt to remediate any accessibility issues in the linked content. Please contact the Presenter(s) with any accessibility concerns.

  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Government
  • Finance & Banking
  • Media & Publishing
  • Administration & Business Support
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
Actionable suggestions to create and remediate documents specific to municipal government agencies, including budgets, infographics, flyers, forms, and more.  
Session Type
General Track  
  • Blind/Low Vision
  • Design
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Evaluation & Remediation


  • Sharon Rosenblatt
    Accessibility Partners
  • Dana Marlowe
    Accessibility Partners

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