According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 17% of the global population lives with some form of disability. This sizable demographic wields significant economic influence, boasting an estimated combined spending power of US $8 trillion. What's even more remarkable is that this economic clout is projected to grow at an impressive annual rate of 14%, underscoring the importance of recognizing and catering to the diverse needs of individuals with disabilities – both from an ethical standpoint and as a shrewd business strategy.
In an era where electronic communication is at the heart of nearly every aspect of our lives, making digital content accessible to all consumers, regardless of ability, is at once a legal obligation and a moral imperative. Individuals with visual, auditory, cognitive, and motor impairments, may experience a range of challenges when it comes to accessing digital communications, from inaccessible documents to keyboard navigation difficulties and inadequate alternative text (alt text) for images.
OpenText, a leading provider of customer communications management (CCM) software, addresses these challenges by empowering businesses to create personalized, accessible communications while ensuring compliance with accessibility requirements. The OpenText™ Exstream™ platform boasts a comprehensive suite of accessibility features designed to ensure that digital communications are inclusive and accessible to all individuals, regardless of their abilities. By embracing OpenText Exstream's inclusive CCM software, businesses can break down barriers, make communications more inclusive, and create a more equitable digital world, all while ensuring legal compliance and broadening the reach of their messaging to a more diverse audience.
OpenText Exstream bridges the digital accessibility gap by incorporating the following features:
- Accessibility tagging: OpenText Exstream can automatically tag PDF, HTML, and email output with semantic tags that help assistive technologies understand the structure and content of a document. These semantic tags provide information about the role of each of the document’s elements, allowing for more accurate interpretation by assistive technologies and greater ease of access for users with disabilities.
- Built-in accessibility checker: OpenText Exstream continually scans documents to identify and rectify issues related to accessibility compliance. This tool highlights any areas that need attention, such as missing alt text or improper heading structures.
- Alt Text for Images: In OpenText Exstream, you can add alt text to images, making them accessible to those with vision-related disabilities. Alt text provides a textual description of the image, which can then be communicated to blind and low vision users via a screen reader.
- Structured Content Design: Open Text Extream identifies and defines rows, columns, cells and header structures, making tables easier to navigate for individuals using assistive technologies.
- Accessible design and testing: The OpenText Exstream suit includes a color-contrast checker, a tool that evaluates the amount of contrast between the text and the background and the degree of legibility for users with visual impairments. Keyboard navigation testing assesses and fine-tunes the extent to which digital content can be navigated using only the keyboard, ensuring a seamless experience for users with mobility-related concerns. A preview feature also simulates how content will be interpreted by screen readers, enabling organizations to identify potential issues, optimize content for screen readers, and enhance accessibility and usability overall.
- Accessibility validation: After creating the document, it's important to thoroughly test it using various assistive technologies and validators. OpenText Exstream's testing tools can help ensure that the document is accessible to a wide range of users.
- Compliance with International Standards: The OpenText Exstream platform aligns with global accessibility standards, such as WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and PDF/UA (PDF/Universal Accessibility). This ensures that the documents generated through OpenText Exstream are in full compliance with legal accessibility requirements.
- Collaboration: OpenText Exstream and Braille Works have partnered to provide a comprehensive document accessibility solution for individuals with disabilities. This partnership allows organizations to submit documents in various formats, such as PDF bank statements, to Braille Works, who can then convert these statements into braille or large print formats depending on the specific needs of the customer. OpenText Exstream also supports text-to-speech integration through its partnership with Amazon Polly, a cloud-based service that can generate realistic human speech from text-based content such as PDF statements, HTML web pages, email notifications, customer service updates, and marketing materials.
Making your customer communications accessible is integral to building trust, loyalty, and engagement among customers of all backgrounds, abilities, and preferences. Many organizations struggle to balance the need for accessibility, compliance, and personalization in their communications, which is where OpenText Extstream comes in. OpenText Exstream offers an innovative accessibility solution that enables organizations to design, create, and deliver communications that are accessible to everyone.