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AccessibilityNow®

AccessibilityNow provides high levels of automation and integration into any environment, the platform includes software solutions and a wide range of tailored services to meet the document accessibility needs of all organizations, large and small, private sector and governments of all levels.

Solutions

Document Accessibility

Streamline Your Document Accessibility with Crawford Technologies Comprehensive Solutions

Contents

Introduction to Document Accessibility

Welcome to the world of document accessibility, where every individual, regardless of their abilities, can access and understand information with ease. At CrawfordTech, we understand the importance of creating accessible documents that meet the needs of all users, including those with disabilities. By embracing document accessibility, you not only ensure compliance with accessibility regulations but also foster a sense of belonging and empowerment within your organization and the communities you serve.

Documents are considered accessible when they can be accessed by everyone regardless of tools or ability. Ensuring accessibility is easy with the right tools software and education.

An accessible document offers a multitude of benefits, such as:

  • Improved readability and comprehension for all users
  • Enhanced user experience and satisfaction
  • Expanded reach and inclusivity
  • Compliance with legal requirements and industry standards

However, keeping up with ever-changing rules and regulations can be a daunting task, and managing large amounts of data and various data types into accessible and compliant formats can be time-consuming and costly if not done right. Non-compliance with worldwide regulations governing document accessibility can lead to costly consequences, making it imperative for businesses and organizations to find the right solution that can properly and efficiently manage the many required alternate formats.

Challenges Faced Due to Document Inaccessibility

To understand the importance of ensuring accessibility in documents, one must understand the challenges that can arise due to document inaccessibility:

  1. Ambiguous Language: Many inaccessible documents are written in vague and ambiguous language that can be difficult to understand..
  2. Inadequate Formatting: Inaccessible documents often lack appropriate formatting and structure, such as proper headings, meaningful paragraphs, and a table of contents. This makes it challenging to navigate the document while using a screen reader or other assistive technology.
  3. Lack of Alternate Formats: Many documents are only available in PDF format, Which can make it impossible for individuals to access the content without specialized software or assistance from someone else. Some people can’t access an electronic document, therefore alternate formats may be required for access to information.
  4. Lack of Awareness: Images within documents can present an accessibility challenge because they may not include alternative text describing their contents. This means that users of assistive technology might not be aware of that content!
  5. Readability Issues: Documents with small fonts and low-contrast backgrounds might decrease readability for partially sighted users.

Working on document accessibility from the start can help eliminate these challenges.

Key Concepts for Creating Accessible Documents

To create truly accessible documents, it’s essential to understand the key elements that contribute to their usability. Some of the fundamental concepts include:

  • Proper headings: Use a hierarchical structure of headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to organize your content and make it easier for users to navigate.
  • Alternative text: Provide descriptive alternate text (alt text) for images, charts, and graphs to ensure that blind or partially sighted users can understand the content.
  • Color contrast: Ensure sufficient color contrast between text and background to improve readability.
  • Metadata: Include relevant metadata, such as document title and author to make it available to the end user, and language, to ensure correct pronunciation by the assistive technology.

Crawford Technologies’ AccessibilityNow platform simplifies the process of implementing these accessibility best practices across various document formats, including Microsoft Word, PDF, braille, large print and more. With AccessibilityNow, you can ensure compliance with accessibility guidelines while streamlining your document creation and remediation processes.

Recommendations for Ensuring Document Accessibility

The basic steps for creating accessible documents are similar regardless of whether the document is in HTML, Microsoft Word, PDF, or other formats. These steps are:

  • Ensure non-text content such as images and logos have alternative text or text descriptions to provide context.
  • Include tagging structure that is accessible by assistive technology.
  • Properly label form fields, so it’s accessible to keyboard-only users.
  • Ensure all links and interactive content are labeled and work when activated.
  • Format tables properly and designate table headers.
  • A text size of 12 points or higher will benefit most users.
  • Numbers from one to nine are easier to read if written as words, while numbers from 10 upwards should be presented as numerals.

Addressing Common Document Accessibility Challenges

Organizations often face several common challenges when dealing with document accessibility, such as:

  • Concerns about customer-facing documents not being compliant: CrawfordTech’s solutions ensure that all your customer-facing documents are fully compliant with accessibility regulations, protecting your organization from potential legal risks.
  • Difficulty managing the delivery of various alternate formats: AccessibilityNow supports a wide range of document formats, making it easy to manage and deliver accessible versions of all your documents.
  • Spending too much time and money on managing document accessibility communications without achieving full compliance: CrawfordTech’s automated solutions streamline the accessibility process, saving you time and money while ensuring full compliance.
  • Considering adding additional resources to resolve accessibility issues: With AccessibilityNow, you can efficiently manage your document accessibility needs without the need for additional resources, allowing your team to focus on core business activities.

CrawfordTech’s comprehensive solutions address these challenges head-on, providing organizations with the tools and expertise needed to succeed in their document accessibility initiatives.

Ensuring Compliance with Accessibility Regulations

Compliance with accessibility regulations is a critical aspect of document accessibility. In addition to the regulations mentioned, it’s important to note that WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 are the key standards to follow for PDF accessibility. CrawfordTech’s solutions are designed to help you meet the requirements of various accessibility guidelines and standards, such as:

  • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act: Our solutions ensure that your electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities, as required by Section 508.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Our services support your compliance with the ADA, ensuring that your documents are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • EN-301: We help you achieve conformance to EN-301, ensuring accessibility for your ICT products.
  • AODA: By partnering with Crawford Technologies, you can have peace of mind knowing that your documents are compliant with the latest accessibility regulations and best practices.
  • CMS Final Rule: This rule mandates materials and content sent to members adhere to health equity goals, requiring translation into foreign languages based on enrollee preferences and accessible formats like large print, braille, and audio files within 24 – 72 hours. (Learn More)

The Importance of Accessibility Testing

Accessibility testing is a crucial step in ensuring that your documents meet the required standards and are usable by people with disabilities. Several tools are available to help check the accessibility of your documents, including:

  • AccessibilityNow Validator: A scanning program that identifies accessibility defects in your documents.
  • WAVE: A web accessibility evaluation tool that helps identify accessibility issues in web content.
  • AChecker: A web-based tool that checks single HTML pages for conformance with accessibility standards.
  • Lighthouse: An open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages, including accessibility.

By using these tools and conducting thorough accessibility testing, you can identify and address any issues before your documents are published, ensuring a fully accessible and inclusive user experience.

How to Ensure Accessibility for Different Document Types

There are different recommendations for ensuring accessibility for different document types:

Microsoft Office

Ensuring accessibility in a Microsoft Office document includes adequately labeling images, charts, and other non-text content. Documents should be formatted to maximize legibility and readability, including headings. Documents should also be designed to be navigable using keyboard shortcuts. Accessibility testing for these documents can be done with tools like the Microsoft Accessibility Checker.

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word includes various accessibility features that help users access content quickly. One can access this option in the File menu under Options > Accessibility.
From there, users can turn on settings such as high contrast mode, which changes text and background colors to improve visibility. Zoom adjustments can also allow users to customize their view of documents. Microsoft also provides an extensive guide for creating accessible documents in Word, including instructions for adding alt-text descriptions to images.

“To ensure your Microsoft Word documents are ADA compliant, follow this checklist:

  • Use built-in heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) to structure your document
  • Provide alt text for images and tables
  • Use bullets or numbers for lists

Microsoft Excel

Accessibility issues in Microsoft Excel can start with the physical design of the program itself. Excel’s menus and ribbons can be difficult to navigate by accessibility tools. This is why Microsoft Excel offers accessibility options such as High Contrast Mode, Adjustable Color Settings, Magnifier Tool, and Screen Reader Support.
These options make Microsoft Spreadsheets fully compatible with assistive technology such as screen readers like JAWS and NVDA.

Microsoft Excel:

  • Include a title for the worksheet and provide a message indicating the end of the table
  • Avoid blank cells for formatting purposes
  • Ensure each sheet tab has a unique and relevant name
  • Avoid merging cells

Microsoft PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint includes the following features, which facilitate the creation of accessible PowerPoint presentations:

  • Keyboard Shortcuts: Shortcuts can quickly navigate through a presentation, such as switching between slides. This makes it easier for those with difficulty using a traditional pointing device like a mouse.
  • Alt-Text: This feature allows users to add descriptive text to images and other objects in a presentation so that people who are blind or partially sighted can access that content.
  • Accessible Themes: Microsoft has provided several templates specifically designed with accessibility in mind. This makes navigating through their presentations easier for people using assistive technology.

Microsoft PowerPoint:

  • Include captions for videos in your presentations
  • Ensure sufficient color contrast between text and background
  • Provide alt text for images, charts, and graphs”

Google Drive Files

Google Drive provides a range of accessibility features like voice recognition, dictation, text-to-speech, closed captioning support, and high-contrast themes. Google Drive has also implemented the Accessibility Checker tool, which allows users to quickly identify potential accessibility issues in their documents before sharing them with others.
Apart from these inbuilt tools, testers can use add-ons such as Grackle, which is available for all formats like doc, slides, and sheets.

Google Docs

Google offers several accessibility features in Google Docs:

  • Speech Input: This feature allows users with motor disabilities to access the same tools available through typing by speaking into the microphone built into the device.

Google Slides

Google Slides increase accessibility by providing alternative text descriptions, or alt tags, on images used within the slides. Alt tags help with search engine optimization, which results in slides showing up higher in search results when relevant keywords are used.
Audio recordings also can be added directly to the slide decks. This is ideal if presenters want to speak aloud but are not physically present during delivery.

Apart from this, add-ons like Grackle can help test the slides for accessibility.

Google Sheets

There are several ways that one can make Google Sheets more accessible, including setting up the computer’s display settings. Enabling zoom functions also allow better readability as one can magnify specific areas of text that may otherwise be too small to view comfortably on screen.
Several plugins allow users to customize how data appears inside sheets, like adding borders around individual cells or improving text line spacing. Grackle sheets are one plugin that helps catch all accessibility issues.

Other Files

Accessible documents should be formatted using standards like headings, subheadings, a bold typeface for emphasizing words or phrases, or tables with captions describing what they’re showing where relevant. Links can also be added to support information or sources at the end of a document.
Accessibility in HTML and XML documents is an essential part of web development. Several tools can help users check for a document’s accessibility, including AccessibilityNow Validator, WAVE, AChecker, and Lighthouse.

By running these checks against HTML documents, feedback is provided about where there might be issues related to usability or compliance with WCAG standards. This lets users know what needs fixing before going live with a site.

The W3C has also created several guidelines, which include the use of semantic markup wherever possible.

“To ensure your PDFs are ADA compliant, follow this checklist:

  • Ensure that text is searchable
  • Use hidden (Alt) text to describe images
  • Documents over nine pages require bookmarks
  • Use tags to map the content
  • Arrange tables from left to right
  • Avoid background images and watermarks
  • Ensure table rows fit within the page width”

Document Accessibility Guidelines

Apart from recommendations, users should also know important accessibility guidelines for different document types.

A few common guidelines to ensure document accessibility are:

  • A unique and relatable title for the content improves accessibility when read through any assistive technology.
  • Specifying the document’s language avoids confusion since assistive technology cannot identify language unless specified.
  • Add descriptive hyperlink text instead of the URL or generalized terms like “click here” and “more” as this will provide clarity to the reader when links are presented out of context.
  • Use paragraph spacing instead of carriage returns when additional line spacing is needed between paragraphs.
  • Lists created can be numbered if ordered, or one can use bullet points for lists without order.
  • Choose two colors that are quite apart on the color wheel and have a contrast ratio of a minimum of 4.5:1 to make the text readable for those with low vision.
  • Avoid using background images behind the text, as this may reduce legibility and make it hard for those with low vision or dyslexia to read content quickly and accurately. Instead, use a solid background so readers always know what they’re looking at without having to strain their eyes.
  • Avoid decorative fonts, which may be difficult to read for people with cognitive disabilities.
  • Select an appropriate font and set it to the correct size for legibility on screen or in print.
  • Any chart representation must have proper specifications of axis labels and titles.
  • Watermarks, if legal, can be used, and text-based is preferred over image-based watermarks. This means the name should be mentioned at the beginning of the document or included in the file name.
  • Ensure that page numbers are inserted using tools and not manually numbered.
  • Tables should consist of headings, rows, and columns of related information that are clearly labeled. Merging more than two adjacent cells into one violates WCAG guidelines because it prevents assistive technology from correctly reading out individual cell contents.
  • Captions or transcripts are essential components of multimedia access for individuals with hearing loss or auditory processing issues.

Guidelines for Microsoft Word

Guidelines for ensuring that Microsoft Word documents are accessible are given below:

  • Ensure the page margins are set to the desired size, typically 1 inch for all sides of a document.
  • Line spacing is consistent throughout the document, with single or double spacing as preferred.
  • Insert headers and footers to add helpful information such as chapter titles, dates, or author details at either end of each page.
  • Add tables or images to the document using MS Word tools, and ensure proper formatting.
  • Spell check & proofread carefully.

Guidelines for Spreadsheets

Follow the guidelines given below to ensure accessibility in spreadsheets:

  • Use a simple table structure with column header information. Header information is used to identify rows and columns for those using assistive technology.
  • Add a table title in the first cell of the first column of the worksheet so those using assistive technology can find it easily.
  • Avoid blank cells, rows, and columns. If empty cells are needed, mark them with a minus sign, a zero, or N/A for not applicable.
  • Avoid merging cells, as navigating the spreadsheet can be difficult for those using assistive technology.
  • Give sheet tabs unique names and remove blank sheets. This will aid in the navigation of the spreadsheet.
  • Every chart must have a title, a legend, and axis labels.

Guidelines for PowerPoint

Guidelines for creating accessible PowerPoint presentations are:

  • Ensure each slide has unique titles and, if listed, has numberings and bullets.
  • Avoid text boxes, Word Art, and automatic slide transitions to improve accessibility.
  • Avoid flashing effects or animations that could cause seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy conditions.
  • The player controls for videos embedded in PowerPoint are inaccessible. Consider adding a link to the video on YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Check if the slides are placed in a logical order in the Outline Panel.
  • Avoid cramming a lot of information on a slide, as it can be confusing and unreadable.

CrawfordTech’s Comprehensive Accessibility Solutions

With over 25 years of experience in the document accessibility field, CrawfordTech has developed a comprehensive suite of solutions to help organizations of all sizes achieve their accessibility goals. Our expertise spans across industries, and we have a proven track record of delivering innovative and reliable accessibility solutions to our clients.

At the core of our offerings is the AccessibilityNow platform, powerful tools designed to automate and streamline the remediation, transcription, and management of accessible documents. AccessibilityNow leverages advanced AI and machine learning technologies via Autosense to intelligently analyze and optimize your documents for accessibility, saving you time and resources while ensuring the highest level of compliance.

AccessibilityNow is a complete platform for the creation and management of accessible documents, providing high levels of automation and integration into any environment. The platform includes software solutions and a wide range of tailored services to meet the document accessibility needs of all organizations, large and small, private sector, and governments of all levels.

AccessibilityNow: A Game-Changer for Document Accessibility

The AccessibilityNow platform is a true game-changer in the world of document accessibility. With its intuitive interface and robust features, AccessibilityNow Transactional empowers organizations to efficiently create and maintain accessible documents at scale. The platform is designed with versatility in mind, allowing for implementation on-premises, as SaaS, or in the cloud, adapting to any environment. Some of the key benefits of using AccessibilityNow include:

  • Seamless integration: AccessibilityNow integrates seamlessly with your existing document creation and management systems, allowing you to incorporate accessibility into your workflows without disruption.
  • Comprehensive support: The platform supports a wide range of document types, including high-volume transactional documents and static content, ensuring that all your accessibility needs are met.
  • Automated remediation: AccessibilityNow’s advanced automation capabilities streamline the remediation process, identifying and fixing accessibility issues quickly and accurately.
  • Customizable rulesets: Tailor the platform’s rulesets to your organization’s specific requirements, ensuring that your documents meet both internal and external accessibility standards.
  • Effective communication: AccessibilityNow enables immediate communication with anyone, regardless of language, dialect, disability, or location, ensuring that your content reaches all intended audiences effectively.
  • No more bottlenecks: Avoid delays in delivering documents due to time-consuming and costly remediation processes. AccessibilityNow provides the best-fitting solution for any environment to help automate and streamline document accessibility workflows.
  • Avoid fees and litigation risks: Manage, automate, remediate, and validate any and all documents to ensure they go through the most optimum workflow, generating fully compliant output before they are shared with the world.
  • Use the right remediation process, save time and money: Eliminate the need for complex and difficult-to-maintain workflows to ensure a cost-effective, flexible, and scalable solution for managing current and future accessibility applications within a single platform.

By leveraging the power of AccessibilityNow, organizations can take a proactive approach to document accessibility, ensuring compliance with regulations and fostering inclusivity across all channels of communication.

CrawfordTech’s End-to-End Accessibility Services

In addition to our cutting-edge software solutions, CrawfordTech offers a comprehensive range of accessibility services to support your organization at every stage of your accessibility journey. Our team of experts provides:

  • Professional consultation: We work closely with you to assess your accessibility needs, identify gaps, and develop a tailored strategy to achieve your goals. Contact us to become a document accessibility expert today!
  • Document remediation: Our skilled team can handle the remediation of your existing documents, ensuring that they meet the highest standards of accessibility.
  • Training and support: We offer training programs and ongoing support to empower your team with the knowledge and skills necessary to create and maintain accessible documents.

All our services are delivered through secure facilities, and we are committed to protecting your sensitive information while providing exceptional results.

Case Studies and Success Stories

CrawfordTech has helped numerous organizations across industries transform their document accessibility practices. Here are a few examples of the success stories we’ve been a part of:

  • Leading financial institution: We assisted a major financial institution in remediating their high-volume transactional documents, ensuring compliance with accessibility regulations and improving customer experience.
  • Government agency: Our team worked with a government agency to develop accessible public-facing documents, enhancing access and transparency for all citizens.
  • Educational institution: We partnered with a renowned university to create accessible learning materials, promoting equal access to education for students with disabilities.

These are just a few examples of the many organizations that have benefited from CrawfordTech’s expertise and commitment to document accessibility.

Getting Started with CrawfordTech

Ready to embark on your document accessibility journey with CrawfordTech? Getting started is easy:

  1. Contact our team: Reach out to our accessibility experts to discuss your specific needs and requirements.
  2. Assess your current state: We’ll work with you to assess your current document accessibility practices and identify areas for improvement.
  3. Develop a tailored plan: Based on your unique needs, we’ll create a customized plan to implement our accessibility solutions and services.
  4. Implement and train: Our team will guide you through the implementation process and provide training to ensure a smooth transition.
  5. Ongoing support: We offer ongoing support and resources to help you maintain and continuously improve your document accessibility practices.

Don’t wait any longer to make your documents accessible. Contact CrawfordTech today and take the first step towards streamlining your document accessibility processes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of documents can CrawfordTech’s solutions make accessible?

CrawfordTech’s solutions can make a wide variety of documents accessible, including:

  • Microsoft Office documents: Word, Excel, PowerPoint
  • PDFs: Both interactive and non-interactive PDFs
  • Web content: HTML and ePub
  • Transactional documents: Invoices, statements, and other high-volume documents

How does the AccessibilityNow platform automate the accessibility process?

The AccessibilityNow platform uses advanced AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze your documents and identify accessibility issues automatically. It then applies intelligent remediation techniques to fix these issues, ensuring that your documents meet the required accessibility standards. This automation saves time and resources while maintaining a high level of accuracy.

Can CrawfordTech help my organization comply with accessibility regulations?

Yes, CrawfordTech’s solutions and services are designed to help your organization comply with various accessibility regulations, such as Section 508, ADA, EN-301, and AODA. Our team stays up-to-date with the latest regulatory requirements and best practices to ensure that your documents meet the necessary compliance standards.

What sets CrawfordTech apart from other document accessibility providers?

CrawfordTech’s unique combination of cutting-edge technology, extensive industry experience, and commitment to client success sets us apart from other providers. Our AccessibilityNow platform is a powerful and flexible solution that can handle a wide range of document types and volumes. Additionally, our team of accessibility experts provides end-to-end support, from consultation and remediation to training and ongoing maintenance.

How can I get started with implementing CrawfordTech’s accessibility solutions?

Getting started with CrawfordTech’s accessibility solutions is simple. Just reach out to our team, and we’ll work with you to assess your current accessibility needs, develop a tailored plan, and guide you through the implementation process. We offer comprehensive support and resources to ensure a smooth transition and long-term success in your document accessibility journey.

Partner With Crawford Technologies For Comprehensive Document Accessibility Solutions.

Document accessibility is not just a legal requirement; it’s a social responsibility that ensures equal access to information for all individuals, regardless of their abilities. By partnering with CrawfordTech and leveraging our comprehensive solutions and services, you can streamline your document accessibility processes, ensure compliance with regulations, and create a more inclusive environment for your customers, employees, and stakeholders.

Take action today and contact CrawfordTech to learn more about how we can help you achieve your document accessibility goals. Our team of experts is ready to guide you through every step of the process, from assessment and planning to implementation and ongoing support.

Remember, accessible documents are essential for meeting compliance, improving user experience, and driving positive change in your organization and the world at large. With CrawfordTech as your partner, you can confidently navigate the ever-evolving landscape of document accessibility and make a lasting impact on the lives of those you serve.

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