March 3, 2017

Document Accessibility: What You Need to Know From a Consumer and an Expert

By: Katrina Fox, Marketing Coordinator Kevin Craine from the Document Strategy Podcast recently interviewed Dr. Judy Dickson and Dennis Quon to find out what businesses need to know about Document Accessibility from the consumer and expert’s perspective. Dr. Judith Dickson from the National Library of Congress is a user herself of accessible documents. She says … Continue reading “Document Accessibility: What You Need to Know From a Consumer and an Expert”

By: Katrina Fox, Marketing Coordinator

Kevin Craine from the Document Strategy Podcast recently interviewed Dr. Judy Dickson and Dennis Quon to find out what businesses need to know about Document Accessibility from the consumer and expert’s perspective.

Dr. Judith Dickson from the National Library of Congress is a user herself of accessible documents. She says that what companies are doing right is the willingness to produce different formats of documents for the blind and partially sighted. What companies still need to keep in mind is that one size does not fit all. There are consumers who are braille readers, computer users or prefer paper documents. Companies producing documents need to be aware of these preferences. She also states that PDF/UA is a good format for companies to be producing their documents in because PDF/UA (also described as accessible PDF) allows for screen readers and other assistive technology to read them. PDF/UA is an accessible PDF document that is appropriate for someone who has the right equipment.

Dickson advocates that not everybody has computers and other alternatives need to be considered as well, such as, audio CD, paper braille, and paper Large Print. As an organization that is sending documents out to consumers you need to know your population and their preferences for how they want to receive their documents. One last consideration that companies need to understand is having their websites accessible for all users to read and understand.

For the expert side of this conversation Kevin interviewed Dennis Quon, EDP, Crawford Technologies Business Development Manager for Document Accessibility. For Dennis, Document Accessibility means to have the ability to provide documents to all users. Organizations need to know how to provide transactional and static documents to their consumers. These consumers want to be independent and be able to read their private documents without somebody elses assistance. Document Accessibility is a growing need, with Large Print being the most widely used format among our rapidly growing community of older individuals.

Some of the requirements and legislation that has been recently put in place is also creating the need for companies to produce documents for all customers. These legislations includes the American Disability Act’s section 508, The Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare) Section 904, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, and the UK, Europe and Australia all have their own legislation as well. It can be very costly for companies if they don’t comply with these regulations. The implications of doing nothing around Document Accessibility could be litigation and damages in the millions of dollars, the loss of your customers and the loss of productivity to your internal workforce if you don’t have accessible forms of documents for them as well.

This is just a quick summary of what both Dr. Judith Dickson and Dennis Quon had to say about Document Accessibility. We encourage you to listen to the full broadcast of the Document Strategy Podcast: Document Accessibility for the Blind. Where Dr. Judith talks in more depth about her favorite assistive technology and other considerations that organizations should know from a consumer perspective.

Learn More - Join our live webinar

If you are interested in hearing more from Dennis Quon, join him and his team on December 3 at 1pm EST for an educational webinar on “Implementing Accessible Documents in your Organization”.