October 16, 2013

Accessible Document Technology and its Importance in Customer Communications Management (CCM)

There are more people that have document accessibility needs than most realize; it is also a critical component of any Customer Communications Management strategy. There are approximately 25-million individuals in the United States, 1-million individuals in Canada and over 30-million individuals in the European Union who have difficulty reading bills, statements and other customer communications. And that number is projected to grow.

Today, new technology is helping companies deliver accessible documents in formats customers can read and understand. PDF/UA, an ISO standard, is one of these new technologies and is a way to provide accessible electronic documents to your customers while helping your organization meet regulatory obligations, while providing the best possible experience. We should note here that some organizations talk about accessible PDF in this space. When looking at the solutions available, there are important reasons to make sure that any "accessible" PDF solutions is adhering to the PDF/UA ISO standard.
How does PDF/UA help my customers?

There are several issues PDF/UA can solve:
  1. A PDF/UA file can also be a PDF/A file, offering a single approach to address both your long-term archiving requirements, as well as, accessible PDF requirements. 
  2. A PDF/UA file, due to its content tagging, makes the user experience on mobile devices much better due to text reflow as an alternative to zooming in on content in order to read it
  3. A PDF/UA file can make content re-use easier due to the fact that the content is tagged. For example, copy & paste or extracting to HTML is more easily achieved. 
  4. A PDF/UA file can provide better search results. If your archive or search tool can utilize PDF tags, the ability to find what you are looking for can be based on the complete set of actual PDF document content.
  5. PDF/UA is the only electronic document format specification that has been approved and governed to make sure it is compliant and easy to use for people with vision trouble.
It is important to note that your document-accessibility strategy cannot be fulfilled by PDF/UA alone. The needs of individuals requiring document accessibility are diverse and consideration should be given to Braille, Large Print documents, audio and e-text to ensure that you meet the needs of all your customers. 
We invite you to learn more about the other important channels of document accessibility such as Braille, Large Print, Audio and eText by downloading our Document Accessibility Whitepaper

Join us at the 2013 CNIB National Braille Conference!

Crawford Technologies will be exhibiting at this year’s CNIB National Braille Conference in Toronto. The theme for 2013 is Refreshing Braille: UEB and Technology. Be sure to stop by our table and talk to Document Accessibility practice leader Dennis Quon. We will have examples of transactional documents transformed into Braille as well as information on how your organization can provide Braille and other document accessibility formats in a cost effective and efficient business process.
More information on the conference can be found here: CNIB Event Website