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Enabling Staff to Produce Accessible Content

Enabling Staff to Produce Accessible Content

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Enabling Staff to Produce Accessible Content

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  1. Enabling Staff to Produce Accessible Content Excellence through Accessibility Workshop 27th February 2007

  2. XML Workshop Ltd. • Technical Director: Eoin Campbell • We provide the NDA with Word to accessible HTML conversion service • Also offer accessibility auditing services • And YAWC Word to HTML subscription service

  3. Outline • Alternative title of talk: • How to upskill your colleagues to provide you with quality content for electronic publication • (through the medium of Microsoft Word)

  4. Rationale • Most written content starts life inside a wordprocessing document… • Press Releases, Annual Reports, FoI Manuals, Customer Service Action Plans, etc. • …so improving the quality of the (upstream) authoring process should hopefully simplify its' (downstream) publication in various formats

  5. What is Quality... • In relation to narrative text content? • A number of facets: • Is it written well? • Is it presented well? • Is it structured well? • For electronic publications, structure is important • This is a new and non-intuitive concept!

  6. What is Structured Information? • Press Release: title, body text • Annual Report: frontmatter, chapters (with sections), appendices • FoI Manual: functions, records, publications, procedures

  7. Web Page Visual Structure • Top navigation and branding/logo • Side navigation • Main page content • Footer links

  8. Web Page Content Structure • H1 – main page title • H2 – section heading 1 • H3 - subsection heading 1 • H2 – section heading 2 • H3 - subsection heading 1 • H3 - subsection heading 2 • HTML has a generic structure, it doesn't know (or care) what a Press Release is

  9. Word Document Structure • Title style – Document title • Heading 1 style - section heading 1 • Heading 2 style – sub-section heading 1 • Heading 1 style - section heading 2 • Heading 2 style – sub-section heading 1 • Heading 2 style – sub-section heading 2 • Plus list and table structures • List Bullet, List Bullet 2…, • Table heading rows, table cells


  11. Word Document Structure is Generic • Word doesn’t know what a Press Release, a Chapter, or a Report is • (HTML doesn’t know either) • So the same Title style should be used for the main title of any document • Press Release, Report, or Chapter • It's easy to map built-in Word styles to corresponding HTML elements

  12. Word Style to HTML Element Map

  13. How to get Structured Content From Authors • Show authors how they benefit from structure • Because they don't care about anyone else • Teach how to create structure • With class-room and Just-in-time learning • Make it easy to apply structure • It is surprisingly difficult to do so in the default Word environment

  14. Benefits of Word Structure for Authors • (or, What's In It For Me?) • Easy to create and update a Table of Contents • Easy to modify appearance (e.g. change font family for Heading style) • Easy to move sections around (using View > Outline) • Easy to navigate long documents (using View > Document Map)

  15. Teaching Authors about Structure • Typical application training courses teach people aboutfeatures • Teaching people about structure is in the "Advanced" Word course • So some customised training is needed • Staff roles change, so new people always arriving • Need to plan for this with lots of resources • Reinforce message using allies in the organisation

  16. Learning Resources for Authors • A short, hands-on, class-room introduction • Scheduled every 3-6 months for new staff • Because staff roles change quite frequently • A printed and online guide to formatting • Online demonstrations using 'screencasts‘ • Formal publishing procedures operating manual • Ongoing feedback (constructive) on delivered content

  17. Screencasts for Training • Create interactive 'How-To' demos • e.g. How to insert a hyperlink • Always available for reference (e.g. on an intranet) • Lots of good, cheap recording/annotation tools available • Macromedia Captivate, Camtasia, Wink (free)

  18. Publishing Procedures Manual • Important tool to capture essential knowledge/know-how • E.g. “How to publish a Press Release” • File name convention • YYYYMMDD.htm - Date format that sorts well • Folder location (/press/2007/) • Title Case Format Convention (CamelCase) • Or use sentence case – BUT BE CONSISTENT!


  20. Help from Allies • Other parts of the organisation can help achieve common goals • Training Unit • Disability Services • IT Support • Records Management/Archive Unit • Freedom of Information Officer • PRO/ Communications

  21. Default Word Editing Environment • By default, Word does not support creating structured documents • The formatting toolbar is presentation, not structure, oriented • No menu for applying styles • No keyboard shortcuts for structure styles • So authors need a Word template that assists them

  22. Word Structure Styles Template • Should provide multiple ways to apply structure • To suit different authoring styles • A menu for choosing structure styles • A toolbar for selecting common styles • Keyboard shortcuts for common styles

  23. Word Styles Menu

  24. Word Style Keyboard Shortcuts

  25. Publishing Word • Structured Word documents are quite accessible in their own right, but • Not device/platform-independent • Not even Word version independent! • Slow to download (with embedded images) • Insecure (may spread viruses) • Not suitable for search engine indexing • So should not be published online

  26. Converting Word • Word can be converted to accessible PDF, if • Adobe Acrobat Word plug-in is used • Acrobat configuration enables accessibility settings • 3rd-party PDF converters do not support accessibility • Acrobat does not convert PostScript files into accessible PDF • Some PDF resources available online • cf.



  29. Digression: DTP Packages • Many publications are typeset using specialised applications, such as QuarkXPress, Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Publisher • PDFs from these packages are often published online • But they are not accessible • i.e. not navigable, don't resize, and text flow is incorrect • Best approach is to save as RTF, and re-format in Word

  30. Publishing Word Online • Relatively easy to convert structured Word into HTML • Copy and paste Word into DreamWeaver or good web-based editing interface • e.g. eWebEditPro, XStandard • These automatically strip out excess formatting • Use "Save as Web page" command in Word • With Microsoft add-on to strip excess formatting • But manual clean-up usually necessary to ensure accessibility

  31. Converting Word to Accessible HTML • Specialist 3rd-party Word to XML/HTML converters • Far superior quality to copy and paste approach • Avoid manual clean-up entirely • Logictran and UpCast are best commercial applications • Quite cheap, but do require customisation • Cf. • List of converters we have tried

  32. YAWC Online Service • Hosted conversion service • Based on Logictran conversion engine • Customised to generate fully accessible HTML • Automatically includes design template to create ready-to-publish HTML • Used by us to provide NDA and others with a document conversion service (~ €5 per A4 page) • Used by Dept. Enterprise staff to maintain website directly

  33. Summary • Structured information is accessible information • Structured information costs less: • to manage, maintain, publish and find • With a little help, everyone can create structured information using Word • Its much cheaper to create structured information at the start, than add structure at the end • Structured information in Word converts into accessible HTML

  34. Questions and Answers Enabling Staff to Produce Accessible Content Eoin Campbell, XML Workshop Ltd.