Accessibility Document Testers

This page contains information on hiring document testers to create accessible and usable documents.
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Ensuring our digital content is accessible is critical. An essential part of making content accessible is for users of assistive technologies to review that content. The City of Portland (City) has partnered with Community Engagement Liaison Services (CELS), a company that contracts directly with local native users of assistive technologies. Now, any government agency, business, or nonprofit can contract with CELS to have their digital content tested by a person with a disability who uses assistive technologies in their daily life.

How Do I Get CELS to Review My Content?

Contact CELS and express an interest in hiring a liaison to test electronic content. A liaison with CELS will respond to learn more about the project. After you and the liaison discuss the scope of the work, CELS will quote you a price. If your work is for the City, you will use an existing price agreement with discounted hourly rate. If you approve the quote, work can begin.

What If I’m Not Affiliated with the City of Portland?

If you want to contract with CELS to have your electronic content tested and you’re not a City of Portland employee, you will not be covered by the price agreement between the City and CELS. Instead, CELS will negotiate with you and at least one document tester and quote you a price for the project. 

If you use CELS to test your digital content and your work is not for the City, the City is not a part of your transaction with CELS, nor does the City have any say over the testers or anything related to projects that are not on behalf of the City.

What Happens After the Tester Reviews My Content?

Once the tester has finished their work, they’ll give you feedback on how accessible and useable your electronic content is. In some instances, they will even suggest ways to make your electronic content more accessible and useable. Most communication will be done by email, but City staff may also ask to meet with testers to go through recommendations in more detail. The City will be charged for this time.

Why Should I Get My Content Tested?

Web accessibility benefits all users. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a good Introduction to Web Accessibility page. On that page, you can learn more about the value of web accessibility and begin to understand how to make accessible web content.

It’s Required by the Americans with Disabilities Act

Local governments are covered by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Most businesses are covered by Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Department of Justice has published guidance reaffirming that the Americans with Disabilities Act covers web content of Title II and Title III entities. The page also links to settlements the Department of Justice has reached with businesses for not providing accessible web content. 

To learn more about what the Justice Department has considered when settling with local governments over their inaccessible web content, visit the Project Civic Access Page. Project Civic Access is the Justice Department’s primary tool for enforcing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Section 508

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires federal government agencies and their contractors to ensure accessibility of digital content for people with disabilities. In 2017, Section 508 was updated to better harmonize with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a set of voluntary international standards governing web accessibility. Since Section 508 covers what is known as information and communication technology (ICT), Section 508 applies the concepts of WCAG to things like electronic documents, hardware, and software. So, if you have content that meets the Section 508 standards, there’s a good chance your content will be accessible to and useable by people with disabilities.  

Even though the City of Portland is not a federal agency, by working with a user of assistive technologies through CELS, you can get feedback on the accessibility and useability of your electronic content from a community member who uses assistive technologies every day.

Meet the Testers

Trevor Attenberg

Pronouns are him, he, and his.

Trevor has been doing accessibility testing and related work for Portland Community College for about six years. He uses JAWS on a Windows 10 PC using the Chrome and Firefox browsers, as well as iOS with Voiceover on an iPhone 13 mini. He is also experienced with MS office, various iOS apps, and some research tools, such as ArcGIS, not all of which are accessible.

Pete De Vasto

Pete De Vasto moved to Portland in early 2017 from the San Francisco Bay area, where he spent his entire forty-plus-year career working with various aspects of computer technology. The last eleven years of that career involved projects centered around digital accessibility. He guided Apple’s Accessibility team in the initial design of the Voiceover application, which is now widely used both with Mac computers and with iPhone and iPad devices. He then moved to Adobe Systems, guiding the Acrobat Accessibility team as they worked to improve the reading and creation of PDF documents using Acrobat and Reader. Later, he took on the role of Accessibility Project Manager, during which he provided advice and guidance to several teams working with a number of different Adobe products. 

Because he happens to be totally blind, Pete needed to become very proficient with JAWS for Windows when working with his PC, and with Voiceover when using his Mac or iPhone. In addition, however, he is also familiar with NVDA, another very popular and low-cost windows screen reader available to the blind. Since retiring, Pete has had several opportunities to do accessibility testing of both documents and websites and is looking very much forward to being part of the CELs program.

Additional Resources

The Disability Division in the Office of Equity and Human Rights (Disability Division) has a page on creating accessible documents. To watch the video trainings linked to from the page, you must be a City employee with a Microsoft Office account.  

The Disability Division also has a page of resources you may find helpful. Specifically, the effective communication section of the page has information about more accessible Zoom meetings, the effective communication requirement under titles II and III of the Americans with disabilities Act, the City’s captioning and transcription policy, and a list of vendors that provide different services related to accessibility. 

The federal government has a host of resources on creating electronic content that complies with Section 508. There, you will find links to video trainings and documents about how to create accessible electronic content.

Citywide Accessibility Vendors

The City of Portland has entered into price agreements with Nelnet and The Viscardi Center to provide accessibility review and remediation services. Learn more about these vendors through presentations to the Citywide Digital Accessibility team:  Viscardi presentation and Nelnet presentation. Contracts are available on the Procurement Services Contracts page.