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Remediate and Acrobat: Purpose-Built Tool Versus Acrobat Plugin

Introduction

Miranda is a Document Accessibility Specialist with the LBB Corporation. She is responsible for remediating everything from annual reports to product brochures. Miranda and her team have been using Acrobat Acrobat for several years, but as volumes increase she is finding it much more difficult to meet internal and external timelines. Because of her many years of experience with PDF remediation, Miranda has been asked to review her team’s procedures and come up with some recommendations to improve efficiency. She determined that although some tweaks to their order management process would be helpful, the biggest challenge is the length of time it takes to tag each file.

The Current Situation

The remediation team at LBB Corporation uses Acrobat Acrobat to tag PDF files for accessibility. This software can get the job done and has some advantages, but as Miranda has discovered, there are also some inefficiencies.

A typical PDF contains lists, tables and graphics, and most of the documents are a minimum of ten pages in length. Miranda and her team members often spend several hours remediating a single document, especially when they factor in QA. Even with Acrobat’s new autotagging feature the remediators still have to make numerous changes to the tags and the read order. Making these adjustments can be cumbersome and time-consuming. As one team member put it, “You’re always multiple clicks away from where you need to be.”

Miranda’s report concluded with the following statement: “What we really need is a purpose-built remediation tool that is easy to use and has some automated tagging capabilities to help speed up the remediation process.”

As a result of her findings, Miranda was then tasked with comparing Acrobat Acrobat with AccessibilityNow Remediate®.

The Solution to the Problem

AccessibilityNow Remediate is a graphical user interface tool for quickly and easily tagging documents to make them accessible. A fundamental difference between Acrobat Acrobat and AccessibilityNow Remediate is that while remediation is one aspect of Acrobat Acrobat, AccessibilityNow Remediate was specifically built with the goal of creating accessible documents. To put it another way, the tagging component of Acrobat Acrobat is like a PDF plugin. On the other hand, AccessibilityNow Remediate is a standalone tool that is purpose-built to produce documents that comply with all of the relevant PDF standards and guidelines.

How AccessibilityNow Remediate Works

This tool focuses on tagging PDF documents to ensure accessibility for individuals who are blind or partially sighted. It provides a user-friendly approach to quickly and easily tag elements such as lists and tables, adjust read order, apply alt text to images and check for compliance.

AccessibilityNow Remediate’s user interface consists of four main areas:

  1. The Page Content Pane (Tag Tree) lists all the tagged content in the document and displays the read order as well. Users can scroll through this list and select specific tags so they can view the associated content, which is then highlighted in the document view pane.
  2. The Details Pane shows details for the selected tag, providing additional information and context to assist the remediator.
  3. The Document View Pane displays the content of the file and updates the appearance as the tags are modified.
  4. The Tagging Assistant/Validation Pane displays all the options for creating or changing a tag from one type to another, and also enables the user to check for any compliance errors in the process.

AutoSense and Tagging

AccessibilityNow Remediate has the ability to automatically tag many of the elements that are found in PDF documents, such as paragraphs, lists and tables. This is yet another time-saver, particularly because lists and tables are becoming more and more prevalent. Even in cases where Remediate’s AutoSense functionality doesn’t tag these elements perfectly, making the necessary adjustments is both intuitive and efficient.

Unlike Acrobat, users of Remediate can select a block of text and designate it as a list or a table with just one click. Remediate’s table editor automatically tags header IDs and associations, and it’s easy to adjust them if needed.

The Face-Off

Miranda decided that the best way to determine whether Remediate could address her team’s concerns would be to have one colleague tag a file with Acrobat Acrobat and have another tag it with Remediate. The results were striking:

  • Acrobat’s autotagging feature was not very accurate and required the user to make several adjustments, whereas Remediate’s AutoSense significantly decreased the amount of time it took to properly tag the file.
  • Acrobat’s interface required the user to constantly switch between different panes to accomplish various tasks, but the Remediate user could complete the tagging process within the same view.
  • Acrobat retained tags from the document design phase, but as many of them needed to be edited or deleted, this just added to the length of time it took to tag the file.
  • The tag tree in Acrobat does not necessarily reflect the read order, requiring extra vigilence on the part of the user to ensure that the read order in the file is correct. This is not the case in Remediate, where the user can clearly see the read order by viewing the tag tree.
  • It took 14 minutes to tag the Table of Contents in Acrobat, but this was done almost instantaneously in Remediate.
  • Both tools require a certain level of accessibility knowledge, but Remediate has some built-in guidance to help users who may be less familiar with the tagging process.
  • The Adobe Checker is a useful tool to verify compliance, but AccessibilityNow Validator (built into Remediate) is much more thorough. It also enables users to test for WCAG, PDF/UA and HHS, or all three if that is required.
  • The Remediate user took 11.5 minutes to tag the 10-page file used in the face-off. After 45 minutes the Acrobat user was only on page 5, and it took approximately one hour and 15 minutes to tag the whole file with Acrobat. It was clear that Remediate had won the challenge.


Adobe
Acrobat

AccessibilityNow Remediate

Time
Saved

Time To Remediate Document

75 Minutes

11.5 Minutes

85%

Minutes Per Page

8 Minutes

1 Minute

87.5%

Accessibility and Technical Support

The LBB Corporation does business with government entities, so it’s important that any software they use is tested for accessibility. Screen reader users can edit tags in Acrobat but they cannot work with an untagged file because this can only be done using a mouse. By contrast, Remediate has keyboard shortcuts enabled and screen reader users can navigate through the various panes and menus.

Overall Findings

After comparing these two products, Miranda concluded that her team’s efficiency would improve dramatically if LBB Corporation purchased AccessibilityNow Remediate. Its intuitive interface and AutoSense capabilities make it a valuable tool for organizations striving to create accessible documents in a manner that is both timely and cost-effective.

Find out more about AccessibilityNow Remediate.

To view an actual face-off between Acrobat and AccessibilityNow Remediate, watch this webinar.

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