LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Established about a decade ago, based in Lakewood Equidox focuses on improving the accessibility of PDFs to people with disabilities, including those who are blind or have low vision.
“Equidox is a document conversion software tool that converts inaccessible PDFs to accessible PDFs for people with disabilities,” said Equidox Sales Manager Pat Needles. “Many organizations will put PDF files on their website for public consumption.
“If the PDF is not produced in an accessible manner, that is, it is not read in the correct order, the document becomes useless for a screen reader. They do not take any content from it.
By advocating and improving PDF accessibility, Equidox helps organizations fully comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) while ensuring equal and fair access to important documents.
“Digital accessibility is part of the ADA, just like parking, elevators, and wheelchair ramps,” Needles said.
“Digital accessibility is a law in which organizations must make their content accessible to people with disabilities, which is approximately 20% of the population. You simply cannot discriminate against these people. So there are a lot of lawsuits going on every year in the area of digital accessibility.
Digital accessibility lawsuits have increased by more than 200% since 2017, with more than 4,000 filed in 2021.
“This year there will be about 5,000 lawsuits,” Needles said. “It’s growing every year because people are asking organizations to make their content accessible.
“If you were visually impaired, you wouldn’t stay on a website where you couldn’t navigate and ultimately buy something. For people with disabilities, they need to have that content available in an accessible format.
The other aspect of Equidox’s work is that accessibility improves SEO and builds a client’s reputation.
While its parent company, Onix Networking, was recently acquired by Tailwind Capital, Equidox is now a stand-alone operation and the main tenant of the Bonnie Bell Building in Lakewood.
Looking ahead, Needles said Equidox is developing automated technology using computer vision and machine learning.
“Basically, this constitutes artificial intelligence,” Needles said. “We automate the process for organizations to make their PDFs accessible. For example, I receive my bank statement by email once a month in PDF format.
“We would automate the PDF accessibility part of this document and make a statement 100% accessible to someone who receives it via email that they can easily open and read. The same goes for credit card statements “, utility bills. Anything that’s a repetitive type of document, we automate that process for organizations.”
While Equidox has 37 employees nationwide, a handful are located in Lakewood, which Needles says is an ideal location for the growing company.
“We work with some really big companies in Cleveland,” Needles said. “We have built a great culture here at Equidox.
“Our employees love working for us. We are a generous outfit. We have a charitable arm that loves giving to the needy in Cleveland as well as Lakewood. I would say we are a very caring company.
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