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? The answer will surprise you. Why are PDFs a problem for print disabled people in the first place? Governmental and corporate libraries across the globe hold billions of legacy PDF documents. These documents contain valuable information, but are inaccessible to print disabled individuals. 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 characteristics that are below standard to achieve successful Braille conversion. 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 with inaccurate text reconstructed through OCR in … [Read more...] about Accessible Information vs the PDF: Are you breaking the law?
Pneuma Solutions Blog
Millions, likely billions, of documents are in a hostage situation, and accessibility, or lack thereof, is being used as ransom. Thankfully, there is an affordable solution to this accessibility standoff. In accessibility, hostage documents occur when an organization or governmental department ignores requests to make its public information accessible to those with print impairments, resulting in a legal mandate to make all public documents accessible to people with print disabilities. When that deadline expires, any digital documents that are not made accessible to print disabled people are pulled offline. They remain offline to everyone until the day they are made accessible to print disabled individuals. Those documents are held hostage in exchange for paying the price of accessibility as ransom. Are there actual cases of documents being held hostage? Yes, here’s just one example. After a 2017 audit, California was given two years to make all their documents accessible to blind and visually impaired people. According to Mike Nguyen, Caltrans chief technology officer, California spent well over six million dollars remediating just 13,000 of their 2.6 million documents. At … [Read more...] about Stop Holding Documents Hostage
As the weather turns chilly and we approach the start of a new year, it seems fitting we take advantage of the moment to announce the start of a fresh chapter. Much has happened in 2020. I hope that wherever my note finds you, you are warm, safe, and among loved ones, even if remotely. I hope my news will give you a spark of something to look forward to in the coming decade. The assistive technology landscape of today is vastly different from the environment we experienced even a decade ago. As I predicted in article after article, major companies in the Assistive Technology industry fell, merged, or tried reinventing themselves to keep pace with the demands of an evolving marketplace. Through it all, I patiently adjusted my approach to meet the inevitable change. Rather than fall victim to the evolution, I did some serious soul searching, asking myself: Was I still relevant? Was I still capable of creating change for our community? I concluded that there was more to be done and I chose to redirect my energy toward writing a new chapter in the quest to bring access to digital information in new and exciting ways. That probably sounds self-congratulatory. It’s not meant to come … [Read more...] about Winds of Change
Exciting developments are coming to the blindness community, and it’s time to share them with you. Some of what you’re about to read will become obvious why we’ve waited until now to make a formal announcement. Others are a natural progression of our vision for accessibility. Goodbye Serotek, thank you for your service. Many years ago, I had a vision to make accessibility both affordable, and portable. From that, I founded Pneuma Solutions’ predecessor, Serotek Corporation, the first and only company pioneering multi-platform, cloud-based accessibility solutions for blind and print disabled consumers. You can read more about Serotek’s historical role in our about page. For nearly two decades, Serotek developed cloud-based products and resources no one else provided. But, as cloud-based technology matured, so has the vision for powerful accessible products for the commercial, municipal, governmental, and educational markets. As technology advanced, Serotek’s corporate structure was being outpaced by the demands of the larger plan. Providing accessible cloud-based solutions at the consumer computer level was no longer enough. We knew we could take accessibility to the network … [Read more...] about Breaking Ground at Pneuma Solutions
Pneuma Solutions is the leader in accessible cloud technology. The company convenes top shelf talent spanning decades of experience bringing affordable technology direct to consumers. In this latest iteration, the company has pivoted to expand its portfolio to business customers. B2B Sales Representative Job Summary We are seeking a motivated, positive B2B sales representative to join our growing virtual team. In this position, you will drive sales by cultivating prospective business customers. As the public face of the company the Sales representative is responsible for dealing with any and all customer questions about the products and services the company offers. We are looking for someone who will continuously update their knowledge of the company products, services, and policies. We are looking for a go-getter with an aptitude for persuasive communication and a drive to succeed. Sales Representative Duties and Responsibilities Identify industry opportunities where Pneuma Solutions products would make a natural fit, to include: education, government, and corporate environments Draft white papers, PowerPoint presentations, and other sales pieces as needed to pitch new … [Read more...] about Seeking Dynamic B2B Sales Representative
When COVID-19 rocked the education system, we knew we couldn’t sit back and do nothing. We had to respond. As a result, we developed a program designed to help teachers like you, educators of print disabled students. The program is called Scribe for Education. Scribe for Education lets you provide print disabled students with study materials and assignments in an accessible format. You can provide students study materials and assignments in eight different file formats ranging from digital print, to Braille, to text-to-speech audio. And, you’re on-demand access is almost instant, using only a simple web browser. Scribe for Education was originally free for a limited time. After development, we quickly released it to qualified educators as a free tool through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The outpouring of response, number of applications to the program, and gratitude coming from K-12 educators has been amazing. The positive impact on the educational system quickly became evident. We soon recognized the unique position we were in to help educators, students, and parents of print disabled students. Scribe for Education was reducing stress of how educational goals will … [Read more...] about Scribe for Education is free… because it’s the right thing to do
If you’ve been wondering, “What happened to Calvo? Haven’t seen or heard from him for a while.” It’s because my partner in development crime Matt Campbell and I have been out of the public eye working on a new product that is paving the way to the next generation of solutions for people with print disabilities. For more than two decades, Matt and I have been dedicated to making technology as usable as possible for blind people. And we’ve seen great progress during that time. This fuels our resolve to continue towards the goal of universal access to information online. As some of the top companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft increasingly meet the needs of people with disabilities in their mainstream products, the requirement to use dedicated third-party access products is fading into history. We, the people with disabilities, are approaching a greater level of equality with mainstream users every day as more and more products come with features we can use out-of-the-box. But there’s an interesting twist to my investments of time and energy towards accessibility. It never was about building an exclusive profit driven business model. My goal always has been, to … [Read more...] about The next generation of accessible document technology has arrived
From time to time we like to share feedback directly from our customers. If we may, we would like to share a little of that feedback now. We don't like to boast. We prefer to quietly work hard for you, to bring you what you need, but yes, we admit notes like the one below helps us remember why the work is always worth it. The note follows: Hello Friends, Just thought I'd take a quick moment to mention just how much I was recently very pleasantly surprised by the versatility and accessibility you've built in to System Access. A few days ago, I needed to access and use the "My Choice" portion of the UPS website (www.ups.com. This section of the UPS website uses a lot of Flash programming to display and allow control of page content. I had some difficulty navigating and filling out the forms presented by this part of the UPS website. I tried several approaches to accessing and manipulating this content. I tried using the latest versions of three screen readers I had available to me (Window eyes, NVDA and System access). I also tried the latest versions of three common Windows internet browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome). I encountered varying degrees of difficulty … [Read more...] about System Access, Not the Last Choice
As we teased in our last entry, Sero was coming to another popular platform. Well, guess what? It's here! "Alexa is Amazon’s voice service and the brain behind millions of devices including Amazon Echo. Alexa provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to create a more personalized experience. There are now more than 10,000 skills from companies like Starbucks, Uber, and Capital One as well as innovative designers and developers." And now Serotek Corp is proud to announce it too is a part of the growing base of Alexa skills developers, because why swipe this way and that when you could just tell your device to play your favorite Sero audio content? Here's how you do it: Enable the Skill in your Alexa app Tell Alexa to "Start Sero." Alexa will ask you to link your account. Return to the Alexa app and link your app. That's it! The Alexa Skill is currently free for all current Sero subscribers. This offer will not last forever though, so please give it a test drive, see what you think, and if you like what you hear, tell your friends about it! … [Read more...] about Alexa, Start Sero!
There are two certainties we tend to agree with, death and taxes. Actually, there is a third certainty we can add to the list, and that is competitive prices for your hard-earned money. That’s really no shocker though, right? Look around the access technology industry and identify just one company who charges less for comparable products. At the end of this tax season, we want to continue the tradition. We understand Uncle Sam took his bite out of your checkbook, so let’s explore a new means of saving money for the entertainment you love and enjoy on the mobile device of your choosing. Starting today, we're going to release new single-platform subscription packages for Sero. Each subscription package will be $6.00 per month (or $5.99, depending on the app store.) These new subscription plans can be purchased within your app. We're doing single-platform subscriptions for: iOS/tvOS (which count as one platform) Mac Android Amazon Fire OS Windows Stay tuned for the availability of another platform option in the very near future... So what will you get? These new subscription packages include the content and community features you’ve come to love of the Sero experience. This … [Read more...] about A Tax Break You Can’t Beat!