Equidox resolves document accessibility for clerk’s office
When Renee Shrout, City Clerk for the City of Oakland Park, Florida, received a complaint that their online documents were inaccessible she immediately began working with her staff to research ways to make their documents accessible to everyone. Meanwhile, all PDF documents had to be temporarily removed from their website until they could be remediated for use with assistive technology. The remediation tool they needed was Equidox software.
The City Clerk’s office maintains resolutions, ordinances, documents, and records for the city. Many of these documents are published publicly on their website, including agendas for Commission meetings, flyers, and a 40-page biannual magazine. The City Clerk’s office has a staff of 3, two of whom remediate documents. Each city department has an ADA remediator trained to remediate documents for their department’s website pages.
The search for a solution
The City Clerk’s Office staff is responsible for ADA-compliant documents but was inexperienced at producing accessible documents. Remediation was a new skill set for them. They investigated having all their documents remediated by an outside vendor, but the cost was simply too high. They needed to find a self-service software solution.
The City Clerk’s staff began by remediating their documents using Adobe Pro because they already had the tool in-house. They found Adobe to be an incredibly slow and painstaking remediation solution. It required them to work within a complex tag tree and to remediate each element step-by-step, manually. They found Adobe particularly cumbersome for remediating tables contained within their documents. They also looked into Commonlook and a few other software solutions.
“Adobe was a nightmare,” says Robin Greco, Deputy City Clerk, “It took so long to do the remediation – it wasn’t user-friendly. The Commonlook plug-in tool was cost-prohibitive for our needs.”
Equidox software – a fast, easy solution
The Clerk’s Office needed a solution that was affordable, fast, easy to use, and that could be learned in a timely manner. Then they discovered Equidox. They were thrilled with the demonstration. The team loves saving time with the semi-automation of the application, that most items are already tagged on import, alt text can be added to images from one tab, lists can be tagged in three clicks, and headings can be set with a keystroke.
They loved being able to ensure quality using the preview feature, which allows users to check their results as they work. The table editor looked especially helpful, reducing the time to remediate tables by 85%. The entire staff appreciated the training and support that were included with the purchase of the software. Finally, the Equidox software presented them with a solution that was fast and easy to use. They purchased two licenses and currently have five staff users.
The Clerk’s Office also used Equidox PDF conversion services to help remediate some of their larger and more complex documents and get ahead of their backlog. Equidox professionals remediated and validated these documents using screen-reading technology, and returned them within a week so they could be reloaded on the website.
In-house remediation made simple
The City Clerk’s Office staff was trained to use Equidox with two ninety-minute live online training sessions. Now they are remediating their documents in-house, quickly and painlessly. The comparison to using Adobe is marked. Pages that took 10-15 minutes using Adobe are reduced to two minutes with Equidox. The staff remediating their Human Resources job descriptions find it is taking them about two minutes per document – a few seconds per page.
The Equidox Table Editor is semi-automated, which makes remediating tables significantly faster and easier. Because they produce reports and financial documents, this is an important feature for the Oakland Park City Clerk’s Office.
“Our staff loves it!”
“The staff loves using Equidox. It’s so much faster than Adobe,” says Greco, “Equidox training was really great, and it was very easy to learn. We were able to start fixing our documents in-house right away. When we need it, the support is so responsive – not canned responses but a real person helping us. Our return on investment was recouped very quickly. Equidox is well worth the money.”