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?
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