The OCRBot Helps Make State Websites Accessible to Everyone

Technology is a wonderful thing and so prevalent in our daily lives that we sometimes take for granted how easy it is to surf online, order pizza or even access government services. But, that isn’t true for everyone.

Many people with visual impairments have a different online experience since many websites have not necessarily been developed to accommodate their disabilities. For them, fully accessing vital government information online is sometimes impossible.

Assembly Bill 434 committed California’s government to certify all content on state agency websites, as well as the websites themselves, are accessible to everyone. That meant millions of documents and thousands of websites needed to be remediated, or made accessible by everybody, including those with disabilities.

CDT understood the need to develop a tool that would help state agencies remediate large volumes of documents quickly. The result: the OCRBot.

The OCRBot works by utilizing a combination of Artificial Intelligence and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to distinguish words in scanned document images and overlay text-readable data onto the image.  This makes the documents text searchable, accessible, and readable to assistive technologies, such as screen readers.

Users can download documents into the OCRBot application singly or in batches for remediation, which are sent to a cloud-based service for processing then sends the documents to an output folder in the OCRBot.  Afterward, users have the option to save the files as desired.

While the OCRBot significantly reduces the average manual page remediation time, a human operator must still ensure the remediated documents meet the minimal standard before they are posted to a website.

Technology is a wonderful thing; especially when everyone can share it equally.