In March, I had the pleasure of attending the Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference, hosted by California State University, Northridge (CSUN). The high-profile annual conference, now approaching its 30th year, showcases technologies designed for people with disabilities, with attendees coming from all over. Many of those attendees represent organizations looking for accessibility solutions for high-volume, e-delivered PDF customer communications, which meant it was the perfect place to talk about the Actuate Document Accessibility Appliance.
I presented twice at the event (here you can find the slides of my presentations), and received several questions about Actuate’s PDF accessibility technology: what kind of documents it’s designed for, what kind of companies it suits best, and the best use cases for using it to create accessible high-volume documents. I wanted to use this blog post to share two of those questions, which together represent some of the common queries Actuate receives about its Document Accessibility Appliance.
Is Actuate’s software product available for smaller organizations and agencies or is it only suitable for large ones?
The short answer to this is yes – the Actuate Document Accessibility Appliance is available for smaller organizations and agencies. In fact, it was the high demand for the product from organizations of all sizes that inspired Actuate to offer it as an appliance in the first place. Now, no matter what type of organization you represent, Actuate is able to meet your needs, creating accessible high-volume customer communication PDFs (such as billing statements, notices, etc.), in batch or in real time on demand. The appliance runs in a virtual environment and is pre-packaged with essentially everything you need to quickly and easily convert your print streams or PDFs into standards compliant Accessible PDFs.
For more information on exactly how the appliance works, watch this introductory video: Actuate Document Accessibility Appliance – Business Value.
Does the Actuate Document Accessibility Appliance work for creating PDF forms?
This question has another short answer – in this case, though, that answer is sometimes. The Document Accessibility Appliance isn’t meant for the creation of fillable forms with active user control fields. The simple reason is that a fillable form is created one time and designed for that single form to be used many times, but again it’s created only once. You can distribute it to 10 different people or a million different people, and they may each enter different information in the fillable fields provided, but it’s still the same form every time. In this case, companies are better off using the traditional manual tagging and remediation efforts to create their accessible, fillable forms.
Actuate’s technology, on the other hand, is designed for high-volume documents produced at the enterprise level – again, bills, notices and statements, , that may have millions of iterations, with standard templates but unique personal data incorporated into each, like for example a bank statement or a health explanation of benefits. That’s the key differentiator and what Actuate’s accessibility technology was designed for.
However, a company may have a database full of static forms, which would be a good use case for the Accessibility Appliance. If the forms are static, meaning the form fields have already been populated and the form has been output as a PDF, for example, and the objective is to remediate the entire database of static PDF forms to Accessible PDF – then absolutely, the Appliance is a great fit. The key here is the form documents would have a similar structure but the once active user control fields were populated with unique data, the document was then output to a PDF and the form fields are no longer active. Potentially resulting in a high volume of documents with similar structure where each also contains unique information. Actuate’s Accessibility Appliance is a great solution for this scenario with the ability to automate the remediation process, delivering quickly and easily standards compliant Accessible PDFs.
If you have any other questions about the Actuate Document Accessibility Appliance, please feel free to ask in the Comments section or contact me on LinkedIn.