PDF/UA – The technological key to the future of customer communication

PDF Association staff // January 7, 2015


Industries which exchange large volumes of documents with their customers – financial services, insurance, energy and others – are currently making extensive changes to their communications processes. The emancipated, mobile, highly networked customer of tomorrow demands powerful, personalized customer dialog through a wide range of channels. This can include sending brief updates by SMS, securely mailing digital documents, or storing and editing them using a firm’s cloud-based portal. For maximum user-friendliness on mobile devices, text must be dynamically formatted and displayed using word wrapping and dynamic reflowing. And, in the interests of inclusivity, users with disabilities should be equally able to participate – and where necessary, with the use of assistive technology such as screen readers.

PDF/UA – tagged and barrier-free
Forward-looking businesses are currently redeveloping their communications processes to allow them to produce this new generation of dynamic, accessible business documents, tailored to the customer’s needs, in any volume. The PDF format plays a central role here, with PDF/UA in particular – the internationally certified, verifiable format for universal accessibility (UA) first adopted in 2012 – taking center stage. AIIM and Adobe Systems initiated the PDF/UA project some time ago in order to develop clear technical requirements for the creating universally accessible PDFs, PDF software and assistive technology (such as screen readers). When it comes to digital documents, the PDF format has always been associated with portability and reliability. PDF/UA expands upon these principles to include all users, including those with disabilities – as well as applications that intelligently reuse PDF-based content. This is because, as well as allowing universal access to documents, PDF/UA also provides the “tags” essential to the next generation of digital documents, including all required metadata. Screen readers and smartphones alike can use this information to correctly display multi-column text, tables, images and more.

It’s all about document processes
“Serie M/” from kühn & weyh is one of the first text and output management systems on the market to create valid PDF/UA files – as well as formats such as HTML, AFP, PCL, PDF/A, Postscript, XML and others. The system automatically anchors metadata within the document, describing its structure, paragraphing, headings and so on. Metadata which can only be defined by humans – a content summary, for example, or an image description – can be entered as part of the document or template design process. This proves to be the only practical approach: marking up documents after they are finished is often impossible or far too time-consuming to be reasonable for large volumes of business documents. Forward-looking businesses have already identified the potential that this approach offers and are now integrating it into their document processes, allowing them to lay the foundations for the next generation of mobile documents and position themselves ahead of their market competitors.

Klaus Ganter, CEO of kühn & weyh Software GmbH, said, “When it comes to letting as many people as possible reap the benefits of modern digital communication, PDF is a key technology.”


PDF Association staff

The PDF Association is the meeting-place of the PDF industry. The staff of the PDF Association are dedicated to delivering the information, services and value the members have come to expect. Staff members of the PDF Association include: Duff Johnson (Chief Executive Officer) Thomas Zellmann (PDF Evangelist) Matthias Wagner (Operations Director) Alexandra Oettler (Editor) Nicole Gauger (Editor)


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PDF Association staff

The PDF Association is the meeting-place of the PDF industry. The staff of the PDF Association are dedicated to delivering …