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Actuate and American Foundation for the Blind Collaborate to Offer Increased Accessibility to the Visually Impaired Community

Actuate Corporation (NASDAQ:BIRT), The BIRT Company and the leader in personalized analytics and insights, today announced their collaboration with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), to develop content that can be easily accessed and interpreted by the visually impaired community. The American Foundation for the Blind removes barriers, creates solutions, and expands possibilities so people with vision loss can achieve their full potential and be better served by the institutions they depend on.

One U.S.-based study found that only 10 percent of visually impaired children are learning Braille today and, among adults, less than 10 percent know Braille. This becomes an important statistic for organizations such as banks and healthcare organizations that need to communicate with their visually impaired customers. Actuate helps facilitate such communication through its BIRT Content Services™ product line. BIRT Content Services includes the PDF Accessibility Solution, which enables high-volume content to be converted to accessible documents that can be read aloud by assistive technology like the JAWS Reader or Window-Eyes, two of the available screen readers used by people who are blind or visually impaired.

Based on Actuate’s Content Services Group (formerly Xenos Group) technology, the PDF Accessibility Solution is the first and only complete, end-to-end accessibility solution that integrates with an organization’s existing document management system to capture high-volume print streams and automatically remediate them into properly tagged, accessible documents. This solution also offers document creation, storage and delivery capabilities, and works particularly well for organizations that regularly distribute high-volume PDF output, such as bank statements, insurance policies, explanation of benefits documents, and utilities bills, delivered to millions of people on a recurring basis.

“We are eager to help AFB spread awareness regarding the importance of providing readily accessible electronic content to those with vision loss,” said Shannon Kelly, Accessibility Expert and Evangelist for the Content Services Group at Actuate. “Our PDF Accessibility Solution – part of our Intelligent Communications solution for CCM (Customer Communication Management) – simplifies organizations’ document presentment strategies by eliminating the tedious and often cost- and time-prohibitive chore of manually tagging very large volumes of PDF content.”

“We are pleased to be teaming with Actuate to ensure that the process of PDF remediation runs as smoothly and as quickly as possible,” said Paul Schroeder, Vice President, Programs and Policy Group at AFB. “We are confident this collaboration will support our goal of generating equal opportunities for the millions of people with vision loss.”

To meet the obligations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, institutions need to develop inclusionary practices that embrace universally accessible design standards, such as those documented in the World Wide Web Consortium’s (WC3) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to accommodate their customers with and without disabilities. Actuate’s PDF Accessibility Solution serves as an efficient way to meet WCAG 2.0 standards and abide by the ADA and Section 508 guidelines for financial services, insurance, telecom, government and utilities organizations.

Actuate’s PDF Accessibility Solution adheres to the major requirements for an “accessible PDF”: a logical structure and reading and tab order; alternate text descriptions for figures, graphics, and charts; navigational aids; security that doesn’t interfere with assistive technology; and fonts that allow characters to be extracted to text. With detailed knowledge of Actuate’s offerings, AFB can not only direct organizations to a cost-effective accessibility solution, they can also ensure that each implemented Actuate solution provides visually impaired customers with usable content.

Beyond the benefits which Actuate’s PDF Accessibility Solution delivers to organizations serving them, customers with vision loss benefit tremendously by gaining the ability to use these newly accessible electronic documents to independently and accurately manage their own affairs, without relying on sighted assistance. In order to further promote AFB’s message of equal access and opportunities for those with vision loss or blindness, AFB will provide value-added services to assist customers in ensuring that these converted documents are accessible, navigable and useable in any industry.

Actuate and AFB created a whitepaper detailing the regulations, risks and solutions for compliance surrounding the issue of PDF accessibility. This document can be found at http://pages.actuate.com/AFP-WP.html.

About AFB

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. Headquartered in New York, AFB is proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB.

About Actuate (NASDAQ:BIRT) – The BIRT Company™

Actuate provides software to more than three million BIRT developers and OEMs who build scalable, secure solutions that save time and improve brand experience by delivering personalized analytics and insights to over 200 million of their customers, partners and employees. Actuate founded and supports BIRT – the open source IDE – and develops BIRT iHub™ – the world-class deployment platform – to significantly improve productivity of developers working on customer facing applications. Actuate’s BIRT Analytics™ delivers self-service predictive analytics to enhance customer engagement using Big Data. BIRT Content Services empowers ECM architects to easily transform, process, personalize and archive high volume content. Actuate is headquartered in Silicon Valley with more than 5,000 enterprise customers in financial services, technology and government. Visit actuate.com and developer.actuate.com.

Copyright © 2013 Actuate Corporation. All rights reserved. Actuate, BIRT iHub, BIRT Analytics, BIRT onDemand, BIRT Content Services, and the Actuate logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Actuate Corporation and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and certain other countries. The use of the word “partner” or “partnership” does not imply a legal partnership relationship between Actuate and any other company. All other brands, names or trademarks mentioned may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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