In the wake of our farewell to Internet Explorer, where we announced the coming end of System Access to Go (or SAToGo), there has been some unfortunate confusion about the future of System Access in general. So in this post, as chief technology officer of Pneuma Solutions, I want to personally set the record straight. This will be a long post, but I think it's important to be completely candid about where we're coming from and where we're going, so please bear with us. The short version is that System Access isn't going away. Its scope will be changing, to better reflect the current assistive technology landscape and make the most of our limited resources as a small company. But if you use System Access to browse the web and access our Sero services, as Mike and I do every day, then the things that you love about System Access aren't going anywhere. It's true that System Access hasn't seen any substantial new feature development in quite a while, particularly since I joined the Windows accessibility team at Microsoft about 5 years ago. And even though I moved on from that chapter of my career at the end of 2020, we've remained focused on innovations beyond the screen reader, such … [Read more...] about The Future of System Access
Pneuma Solutions Blog
June 15, 2022, marked the end of support for Internet Explorer. It’ll go on being supported on some legacy servers for another seven years, but for all intents and purposes, the browser that led us through the explosion of Web 2.0 will take its place in the technology archives. The sunset of Internet Explorer means that the end is also near for System Access to Go (or SAToGo), the first screen reader that could be launched directly from a web browser with no additional assistance. The web is a different place now than it was in 2007 when we launched SAToGo. Today’s web browsers are much more focused on both security and keeping the user in control, as they should be, and it is no longer practical for a website to talk the user through the process of downloading and running a program like SAToGo. Thankfully, the assistive technology landscape has also changed for the better. In 2007, SAToGo provided a much-needed way of immediately accessing any Windows PC. But Narrator has come a long way in recent years, and it’s instantly available, free of charge, on any PC running Windows 10 or 11. Every other major platform also has a high-quality, free, built-in screen reader. We’re happy … [Read more...] about The End of an Era
Accessible information is gaining ground on the war against the PDF. In fact, presenting information only inaccessible PDFs is becoming illegal. But, will an accessible web design be too expensive of an overhaul? The answer might just surprise you. But why are PDFs a problem for print disabled people in the first place? It’s important to know, governmental and corporate libraries globally currently hold billions of legacy PDF documents. These documents contain valuable information, but are inaccessible to print disabled individuals. Why? Because PDFs were designed as a print-centric format with accessibility retrofitted as an afterthought, if it's there at all. The fonts, colors, and layout of a PDF document are usually unchangeable, making the document more difficult to read for people with limited vision. PDFs typically lack element information about their structure, which makes them difficult to navigate with a screen reader. This also leads to formatting which is below standard to achieve successful Braille conversion. Even worse, too often PDFs are scanned from printed pages. These PDFs contain just images, either with absolutely no visible text to a screen reader, or … [Read more...] about Accessible Information vs the PDF: Are you breaking the law?
The pandemic has the online World scrambling to find ways to patch glaring accessibility issues. Website overlays are just one example of quick fix solutions that attempt to bridge persistent gaps. Except, once deployed, companies realize the shortcuts only create bad press and do little to make their products and services more inclusive. More than empty promises, Pneuma Solutions will position you for inclusive success by providing your digital content to everyone with print disabilities seamlessly. One of your greatest assets is digital content. You work hard to create informative manuals, training materials, billing statements, and a great variety of content central to your business operation. It’s time to make this content easily available, and accessible, to anyone who depends on it. Scribe Enterprise is adept at consuming massive volumes of data and rendering it in a way that is easy to read for the growing number of persons with print impairments. For the end user, the Scribe experience is a seamless encounter with the data you want to share. For you, Scribe is a robust cloud technology with the capacity to smoothly convert document images into readable text, from the … [Read more...] about Scribe Enterprise: The Undisputed Best in Augmented Document Remediation
At Pneuma Solutions, we stand by our commitment to excellence. So does every other software developer, right? But the difference between us and everyone else is that Ours is a cause, not just the bottom line. The day we become irrelevant will be the day we can say accessibility has become so ubiquitous as to be commonplace, and that will be a day worth celebrating. Until then, we work in a pool of companies following distinct strategies in an attempt to make accessibility universal. We each have our competing vision of what that looks like, and no one vision is better than or more correct than the other. There is more than enough work to go around. So while we compete, we are still on the same team with the same goal of making the World a more accessible place. In the end, more options means greater emphasis on accessibility in the marketplace and more tools available to us as consumers. In that spirit of positive sportsmanship, we present a comparison of our flagship product, Scribe, versus RoboBraille. It’s a comparison a few people in the blindness community have drawn, and rather than shy away from the whispers, we’re going to examine both products head on and let you be the … [Read more...] about Comparison of Scribe with RoboBraille and SensusAccess
CNIB, CNIB Deafblind Community Services (DBCS) and Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada (VLRC) have partnered with Scribe for Meetings to help make remote programs, meetings and presentations more accessible and inclusive. Scribe for Meetings, a solution designed by Pneuma Solutions, allows users to create and screen share accessible slideshow content. How does it work? The Scribe app runs during a presentation, monitors the information displayed in the meeting, and sends information about the on-screen content to the Scribe cloud service. Scribe syncs that information with the slides that the presenter previously uploaded and displays an accessible version of the content in real-time in its own window. Using Augmented Document Remediation technology, Scribe for Meetings can convert presentations into eight different accessible formats in more than 140 different languages! This provides people who have a print disability, including sight loss, with access to accessible presentations using a screen reader, a braille display and/or Scribe’s own built-in speech synthesizer. Participants can also download presentations for offline viewing. Scribe for meetings is now available for … [Read more...] about Canadian organizations partner with Scribe for Meetings to enhance accessibility and inclusivity
In the summer of 2016 the United Nations declared the Internet to be a human right. A noble declaration, but for print impaired people like me, the feel-good words of a global cause and everyday life can be so different that we feel like we aren’t even part of the conversation. Here at Pneuma Solutions, we support any campaign to put information into the hands of as many people as possible; however, it has been our experience that making information available and making it accessible to the letter of the law are two different issues and need to be considered as such when discussing access to information by those of us that have print disabilities. Sure, information should be available in as an accessible medium as possible, but costly exact compliance to interpretable standards should never be allowed to get in the way of access to information. That is why we started Pneuma Solutions and furthermore why we are announcing our remediation tool called Scribe For Personal Documents. So, what is a print disability anyway? Individuals who cannot effectively read print because of a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability" are classified as print … [Read more...] about Introducing Scribe For Personal Documents
There's just about nothing more frustrating for blind people than trying to use an app, only to find that the app is inaccessible. Maybe your screen reader can't read a key part of the app, or maybe it can't read anything at all. When apps are developed using standard buttons, edit boxes, list boxes, tables, or other user interface elements, it's not hard to make them accessible. But some apps are developed using a non-standard user interface toolkit, and these toolkits are completely inaccessible. Implementing accessibility from scratch in a user interface toolkit is difficult and time-consuming, so it usually doesn't get done, except in the top few user interface toolkits with heavy corporate backing. Sometimes it's truly necessary for an app developer to use a custom user interface toolkit, and sometimes it's not, but regardless, we end up with inaccessible apps. This problem is especially urgent for apps that are critical to particular jobs. It's not uncommon for a blind person to be unable to get a particular job because the job requires the use of an app that's inaccessible. These are often niche apps for which the usual economic incentive to implement accessibility, … [Read more...] about AccessKit: a new open-source project to help make more apps accessible
Were you planning on purchasing Scribe For Meetings? If you’ve delayed the purchase, it’s time to act now. But, before we get to that, let me share some other bits of Pneuma Solutions news. Pneuma Solutions Scribe Augmented Media Remediation Platform is now available in your geographical region. This means YOUR data, in YOUR country. Scribe is also available on Amazon’s GovCloud infrastructure. Scribe for Meetings made a splash earlier this year when Pneuma Solutions announced the ability to make PowerPoint presentations on Zoom equally accessible to print impaired participants. Honestly, it’s not something we had put on our development roadmap, but when the pandemic struck we pivoted to the new reality. We saw the need for Scribe’s augmented media remediation technology to serve a different purpose, and what started off as a casual project evolved into a robust feature set that is now used by everyone from small nonprofits to major universities. Scribe For Meetings now works with Microsoft Teams. Today Scribe For Meetings breaks down yet another accessibility barrier with the inclusion of the Microsoft Teams platform. Now every exciting feature you have enjoyed with Zoom … [Read more...] about Scribe for Meetings Promotion Expiring Soon!