November 2, 2017

The exception or the rule – how accessible is your business?

Jane Black | Business Development and Channels, International
hands holding ipad with various floating images

Consider this. You run a large business, and most of your customers have access whenever they want, but there’s one group of customers that you’ve locked out. The only way that these customers can gain access is to make a special arrangement with you in advance. How do you think they feel? Different than the rest? Unfairly disadvantaged? Ready to take their business elsewhere perhaps?

My guess is you probably answered yes to at least some of these questions. In fact most businesses wouldn’t dream of treating one group of customers so differently. The truth however is that many are doing so without even knowing it.

For the 285 million individuals worldwide who are blind or partially sighted, even in 2017 there is still no real parity of access to information when compared to their sighted peers. It is true that things have improved. The advance of accessible websites, for example, gives all of us the same 24/7 access to information. The problem really becomes apparent however when you look at what it takes for your blind and partially sighted customers to access important customer communications and transactional documents. The online portals used to deliver communications like invoices, statements, and other important customer information are often not usable by those who are print disabled because the documents that lie behind many accessible websites are themselves not accessible. Digital formats such as Accessible PDF or Accessible HTML5, although readily available, are not yet being adopted as the format of choice by companies to store or present these vital documents.

Contributing to this is the fact that on the whole, sophisticated customer preference management is still not fully available to customers online. So the reality is that receiving a bank statement in Accessible PDF, braille or large print requires a phone call during business hours followed by a 2 week wait. Despite legislation, accessible documents are still very much the exception to business communications rather than the rule.

Here at Crawford Technologies however, we enabling enterprises and government bodies in addressing this issue head on, with a 21st Century vision and innovative technology solutions that help make accessible documents part of doing ‘business as usual’. Having helped companies to manage, print and digitize their customer communications for over 20 years, we are now proud to be leading the way in the field of document accessibility.

For this reason too we have chosen to sponsor Sight Village, London on 7th and 8th November, where visitors from all over the UK and Europe come to find out more about the latest technology, equipment and support services available to people who are blind or partially-sighted. CrawfordTech is committed to a world where all documents are accessible documents and we’re excited to show visitors our range of solutions, including automated accessible document production in digital and traditional formats, tools to capture real time customer preferences online, and our brand new Auto Tagger for Accessibility.

If you’re a forward thinking company within easy reach of this important event why not drop by and see us?