[Athen] Circling back around to topic: SensusAccess

Joshua Hori jhori at ucdavis.edu
Fri Jun 23 12:52:39 PDT 2017

Hello Mr. Brand,

We have been using SensusAccess here at UC Davis for a few years now. We also have it available at 4 other UC's.

Here's my latest report: http://access.sensus.dk/report/ucdavis/report-2017-06-23.htm
Note: Usage went down for Spring quarter. I usually have 180+ conversions performed within the last 90 days.


- Easy to use, includes an email submission as well as a web portal iframe.

- Can be restricted to campus email accounts.

- Attachment sizes are not a worry (larger files are provided as a link).

- Automated conversions into multiple formats.

- 27 audio languages available for students or language departments to use

- Conversion into accessible formats without the need of specialized software (Adobe Pro doesn't need to be installed)

- Reports can be sent of usage (usually done everyday showing 90 days of usage)

- Can submit through web portal as URL, Computer upload, or pasting text into window.

- Students can submit chapters of textbooks to service for quick conversions into audio.

- Sometimes documents need to be resubmitted due to becoming stuck in the queue.

- Some documents may need more than one submission

o PDF to Word, then Word to Tagged PDF (PDF to Tagged PDF != Accessible PDF)

- Garbage in, garbage out (bad scans = inaccessible document reading random characters)

- Can not submit URL's which require authentication.

- Will attempt to OCR wording within images, making science books interesting.

- Marketing usage of the product

- Can have issues submitting content within Safari sometimes.

It works similar to the Ally plugin. The differences between the 2 being:

- SensusAccess creates a straight audio file of the text.

- Ally creates an audio file which announces "beginning of paragraph" before each paragraph, and if a PDF is tagged incorrectly, every sentence may announce "beginning of paragraph".

- SensusAccess can create DAISY math audio overlays using Word math editing tools (NOTE: I've never used it).

- Ally, I'm not sure what it's doing to my math. From what I can tell, it's not doing anything. I only have access to my original MathJax HTML files and there are no "accessible downloads" available. In one document where I have my math as images (PDF), it didn't do anything but state "missing an alternative description".

- SensusAccess formats: RTF, MOBI, ePUB*, Tagged PDF*, audio MP3*, TIFF, HTML, JPEG, GIF, BMP, DJV, and J2K.

o Can alter audio speeds and choose languages

- Ally formats: Tagged PDF, ePUB, HTML, Braille, Audio.

o Can not alter speeds and only English is available (New feature)

- SensusAccess works through a web portal or email submissions and can provide reports on usage.

- Ally ties directly into an LMS and provides an "accessibility score" for each document uploaded.

* Most used conversions

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Normajean.Brand
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2017 11:08 AM
To: ATHEN <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Circling back around to topic: SensusAccess

Hello All,
Late last year (Oct/Nov, Feb 2016) and even in fall of 2015, there were several inquiries made regarding SensusAccess. However, there weren't many that I can find on the list who were actively using this service and their thoughts on how effective the service is/was.

Is there anyone who has utilized SensusAccess since then? Pros? Cons? Thoughts? I have a Dean who is itching to "solve all the accessible text problems" with this service.

NJ Brand
NJ Brand, ATAC
Houston Community College
ADA/Assistive Technology Technician
Technology and Instructional Computing
VM/Office: 713.718.5604
FAX: 713.718.5430
Email: normajean.brand at hccs.edu<mailto:normajean.brand at hccs.edu>
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