Global Accessibility Awareness Day and the OCRBot

Not everyone enjoys a digital web experience equally. Those with disabilities should be able to have the same experience as those without, but often that isn’t the case. That’s why awareness and a commitment for inclusion are the goals of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), May 21, 2020, a worldwide event that shines a light on digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities.

GAAD is also a good time to reflect on the California’s government’s effort to make all state website content, as well as the websites themselves, accessible to everyone.

Remediating millions of documents on thousands of websites is no easy undertaking. To assist state entities with the remediation task, the California departments of Technology and Rehabilitation created the OCRBot – an artificial intelligence (AI) and optical character recognition (OCR) based tool able to distinguish words in scanned document images and overlay text-readable data onto the image.  When processed, the once unreadable pages become translatable to screen readers and other assistive technologies.

The OCRBot significantly reduces the average manual page remediation time. This means pages are posted more quickly and costs associated with remediation are reduced accordingly. In fact, the average cost for the OCRBot to remediate a single document page is about $0.0025, or one-quarter of a cent.

While the OCRBot is incredibly efficient, its goal really is to make government websites and their contents available to everyone. Perhaps, the defining characteristic of the OCRBot is its ability to foster inclusiveness.

Learn more about Global Accessibility Awareness Day.