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Section 508 Compliance: Tools for Checking Accessibility

A selection of resources and information on Section 508 Compliance.

NOAA Section 508 Policy

For more information on Section 508 requirements please contact the NOAA Coordinator Natalie Smith (natalie.d.smith@noaa.gov).

Testing for Accessibility

Testing is the final step in the accessibility process.  There are a variety of tools that can be used to test accessibility.  Below are a list of helpful resources based on the format of the information technology that is being produced or utilized.   

PDF Documents

Adobe Acrobat Pro (2017) Accessibility Checker: This documentation from Adobe offers step by step instructions on how to run accessibility checks and fix errors.

Electronic Content Testing Resources (Section508.org): This is a link to the Section508.org resources on testing for accessibility.  Not only does it include a variety of resources for checking PDF documents (How-Tos and even a YouTube video), but also resources for other forms of electronic content like webpages.   

Word Documents

Accessibility Checker-MS Word:  This documentation from Microsoft offers instructions on using the software's accessibility checker tool and how to correct some of the problems commonly encountered. 

Electronic Content Testing Resources (Section508.org): This is a link to the Section508.org resources on testing for accessibility and for baseline requirements.  Check under the heading for Word Documents. 

Web Pages

WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool: a service of WebAIM, WAVE is an evaluation tool to check the accessibility of websites.  Simply type in the URL and the site will produce a report of all accessibility issues.

Screen Readers

NVDA: NVDA, or NonVisual Desktop Access, is a free screen reader.  This can be used to check the reading order of your document or webpage, as well as elements such as alternative text and ordered lists.

JAWS: JAWS is the most widely-used screen reading technology on the market.  Much like NVDA, screen readers can help with determining if a document's reading order is correct and if certain elements are tagged correctly.  The drawback to JAWS is that there is a fee to use the software and the licensing can be expensive.   

VoiceOver: VoiceOver is the screen reader built into iOS enabled devices.  There are YouTube videos available on how to activate and use the service.