April 24, 2013 163

People call Crawford Technologies when they make a lot of documents.

Dave HookOrganizations generating large volumes of statements, invoices and other transactional documents can turn to Crawford Technologies for mission-critical solutions for their document production workflows.

From converting AFP to PDF, to on-the-fly printer-specific adjustments, transpromo messages and QR codes, Crawford’s been there and done that. Their modular products may be combined for automated production, EOM applications, as a driver for sales-tools and CRM strategies.

Crawford Technologies’ solutions address mission-critical transactional customer communications. Their software and services simplify, automate and extend the value of document delivery.  Increasingly, their customers including government, insurance, banking and other organizations under regulatory or other mandates to deliver accessible content have been asking for ways to deliver accessible PDF.

I interviewed Crawford Technologies VP of Product Management Dave Hook to learn more about how PDF/UA fits into the applications Crawford’s customers are deploying.

Duff Johnson: Please describe how your products use PDF/UA.

Dave Hook: Crawford Technologies PRO Transform family of products converts high-volume transactional print files into PDF, PDF/A, Postscript, PCL, AFP, Xerox and soon PDF/UA file formats. These products run in high-volume production environments including z/OS, Linux for system z, Windows, Linux, AIX, HP-UX and Solaris.

DJ: Do your products play in several areas, or is it all about document creation?

DH: Crawford Technologies products serve the high volume transactional printing industry and provide solutions for file transformation and conversion, document re-engineering (automatically changing and enhancing page content), retrieving content from ECM and Archive systems for customer workflows such as claims processing, loading high volume transactional documents into ECM and Archive systems in a wide variety of file formats, and much more. In addition, as a service, we automatically convert, produce and distribute high volume transactional documents into accessible formats such as Braille, large print, audio CDs, and etext.

Our customers process billions of pages annually through our software. 

DJ: Please describe your initial release of PDF/UA-supporting software.

DH: Our implementation of PDF/UA offers complete support for specific types of incoming documents, such as basic bills, invoices and statements. There are certain types of content that will not be found in such documents and therefore will not be found in the resulting PDF/UA output, but the resulting file will be compliant. Over time we will expand the breadth and complexity of incoming document types that we will be able to support.

DJ: What was your principle motivation in implementing PDF/UA in your software?

DH: PDF/UA is a natural extension of our existing Document Accessibility Services division. It is also solves a business problem for many of our customers regarding applicable ADA and other digital document accessibility legislation. This solution addresses digital document accessibility for internal websites, internal archives, for digital document distribution, digital mailbox services and other customer facing distribution

DJ: Can you say if you are planning to implement the PDF Association’s Matterhorn Protocol for PDF/UA conformance?

DH: We are planning on using the Matterhorn Protocol as a part of our internal product testing.

DJ: Will PRO Transform products enforce PDF/UA in any way? Do they set the PDF/UA metadata flag?

DH: Our product is reliant on how our customers configure it for use with their specific customer document types to properly apply tags, set reading order, etc., so our product cannot enforce PDF/UA compliance in itself, but it enables PDF/UA compliance when used and configured correctly. It does set the PDF/UA metadata flag.

DJ: Describe how PRO Transform supports WCAG 2.0 (if it does), and describe your view of the relationship between PDF/UA and WCAG 2.0 generally.

DH: We support WCAG 2.0 only as it is described in the WCAG 2.0 to PDF/UA mapping document. Our goal is to follow precise technical standards, especially ISO standards, to ensure consistency, reliability and compliance within our customer’s environments.

DJ: WCAG 2.0 has been around since 2008. Why didn’t you produce software to support that standard; why did you wait for PDF/UA?

DH: WCAG is not an ISO standard for accessible PDF. PDF/UA, ISO 14289-1, is.

DJ: Apart from accessibility, what do you see as the most likely value end users can get from PDF/UA support in creation or processing software?

DH: Compliance with applicable accessibility legislation as it relates to customer transactional documents in PDF format. Better search capabilities within ECM and Archives that contain PDF/UA documents. Better viewing experience for users viewing such PDF/UA files on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Better long term storage compliance when the PDF file conforms to both PDF/A and PDF/UA standards.

DJ: Thanks for your time, Dave! And thanks for your contributions on the US Committee for PDF/UA.