Have you ever had to convert a document into an accessible format? Before I started my deep immersion into the accessible document industry, the first thing I would think about when I needed an accessible document was braille. The reality I soon discovered is that there are many formats and braille is an important, but very small part of the accessible document landscape.
If your organization is considering providing accessible transaction documents such as statements, invoices, letters or client correspondence, you need a game plan to determine how you will meet your needs and in what formats. There are many formats, including braille, large print, eText, audio, accessible PDF, and Voiceye. If you need to provide your clients with accessible documents, what should you provide?
If we look at the numbers, there are key formats that should be considered. These include braille, large print, audio, and emerging formats like Voiceye and accessible PDF. Large Print is presently the most commonly consumed physical format, as people who are going blind, have partial vision or have a cognitive disability use this format the most. Braille is a must, as those who are blind generally have learned to read braille. Audio allows all auditory dependant users to listen to their documents.
For those who are blind, partially sighted or have cognitive disabilities, there is no single alternate format or single language like print. Accessible documents are a world of preferences. As such, when an organization wishes to meet compliance and legislation, one single format just won’t work. Documents need to be provided in various formats to meet “reasonable accommodation” requests which inevitably factor into dealing with clients.
There are many accessible document services providers out there. Many provide manual transcription. For each format, conversion can be costly and labor intensive since each document must be converted manually to each alternate format.
Automated accessibility document service providers allow high volume, structured documents to be transformed into each of the formats but again, each alternate format needs to be set up separately. If there is a requirement for multiple formats, this setup cost can add up quickly.
Crawford Technologies offers a solution for producing Accessible PDF through its software PRO Transform Plus Accessible PDF, which is available as software or as a service. This allows a one-time configuration or business rules to be set up on a per document type basis that can then be applied to all the alternate formats listed above, enabling system based structured documents to be converted into accessible documents at high speed. This is accomplished using Crawford Technologies’ knowledge of transforms and the commonality of an accessible PDF to the alternate formats. Accessible PDFs carry the read order, structure and rules, enabling us to convert documents into braille, large print, eText and even audio using Crawford Technologies’ service bureau.
When it comes to deciding on a solution to provide accessible transaction documents, you need to consider the costs to provide various alternate formats for each document. With PRO Accessibility Express, creating a single accessibility configuration file is significantly cheaper than setting up each document type for automation, and can save you 70% or more of your set up costs. When comparing manual costs, manual transcription costs grow exponentially for high volume documents, while turnaround times become lengthier when volumes are high.
PRO Transform Plus for Accessible PDF allows those creating and delivering electronically Accessible PDFs to meet their physical format accommodation requirements by taking the business rules to create an accessible PDF and applying them to common physical alternate formats like braille large print, eText, audio, and Voiceye. This can be done through licensing our software or through our service bureau services.
To learn more about Document Accessibility register for our educational webinar, June 23, 2016 at 1 PM EST, on Document Accessibility 101.