In today’s world, business-to-business and business-to-consumer communications and transactions, include both unstructured and structured data. Structured data is generally numerical and can be easily searched. Examples would include spreadsheets or databases. Unstructured data, on the other hand, are graphical, textual and image-based documents (scans, photos, videos). These are considered unstructured because they are primarily handled by viewing and cannot easily be searched through computer means.
With AI advances, unstructured data may eventually be more efficiently handled, but in today’s world, human viewing is still the norm. Therefore, the need to have a human interface for information review rests on viewers of various kinds. The most popular viewers today are internet browsers, but specialized viewers for Adobe Acrobat documents, MS Office documents and photos and videos are still very important.
A Document Viewer for All Occasions
However, it is clearly evident that “one size fits all” is not valid for the business world where the review and handling of documents and images requires accuracy, speed and security. Additionally, many applications have specialized viewing needs that ideally are best served through viewers that are customized for their particular purpose.
For example, 1,000+-page PDF documents with notes and bookmarks viewed on a computer monitor are probably best handled by a different viewer than three-page financial documents that are scanned to PDF or TIFF and viewed on a tablet. Similarly, if the documents are drawn from a specialized repository compared to simple documents downloaded from the web via an internet browser, all kinds of specialized interfaces may be needed to ensure security and completeness.
If you’re working with a document repository for insurance claims handling, mortgage applications, shipment processing, or medical records, each have unique requirements that make working with them more efficient and secure. Many other examples abound.
Historically, document repositories relied on Adobe Acrobat and MS Word applications to view retrieved documents. Over the years, specialized viewers (including Snowbound’s VirtualViewer) that handle both formats, as well as JPEG’s and TIFFs, became more common and provided the benefit of a single “universal viewer”.
But technology never sleeps and demands have since become more sophisticated. Not only do documents have to be visible, but associated data including annotations, notes, watermarks, bookmarks and thumbnails need to be managed and interacted with. The older viewers, if they haven’t kept up, can’t do this. And if an application developer wants to present the best possible experience to their users, it is best to offer a specialized viewer. That implies a viewer built into the application that will support all the content and all the use cases on a host of platforms, whether computers, tablets or smartphones.
Why You Want a Good Viewer for Your Product
Enter an OEM viewer. That’s a viewer purchased by an application provider that supports the above and is integrated carefully into the application so that it appears seamless to the user.
But most applications differ in their requirements. To avoid the frustration of users getting a document that they can’t work with, selecting a viewer that supports multiple document formats (PDF, Word, JPEG, TIFF, faxes, scans, etc.), as well as powerful features (annotations, watermarks, document notes) all while addressing the differences between computer users and mobile users ensures greater customer satisfaction and fewer support calls. Very few viewers do all that in a package that can be easily integrated into most applications. And easy integration means engineering-friendly interfaces that easily engage to the application that needs them.
There’s a lot that can go on under the hood. Choose and test carefully. Find a vendor that understands OEM requirements and has lots of experience serving that industry. And don’t forget to check Snowbound’s VirtualViewer.