Watch Shifting from Print to Digital
Brochures, flyers, and newsletters are often created with a print audience in mind. Learn why this approach can create challenges and how you can shift the production process to focus on accessible digital content.
Step 4 references the accessibility checker, Siteimprove. As of April 2022 Boise State now uses Monsido for web monitoring. For details about using Monsido, see Monitoring with Monsido.
There was a time when the best way to connect with your audience was through print. Newsletters were mailed, brochures printed, and flyers displayed to share information about your events.
With the growth of the internet, social media, and mobile devices, sharing content in a digital format is increasingly the preferred method of communication. Additionally, circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic have also changed how people consume content. With more people working and learning from home, the need for accessible digital resources has never been greater.
However, sharing digital content in a format designed for print creates challenges for users. Print document formats, like PDF, require extensive editing to meet accessibility requirements. Even if everything goes perfectly, there can still be problems for users depending on the platform it’s published on, or the device used to read it.
Consider a mobile phone screen. Reading a PDF document on a screen this small requires more effort since the text often does not adjust automatically. For users who require additional technology, like a screen reader or Braille display, a document formatted for print can be impossible to read without assistance.
Making the shift from print publication to digital publication requires a slightly different approach. Here are five steps you can take to make your next brochure, flyer, or newsletter more accessible for a digital audience.
Step 1: Review your digital platform
The Boise State WordPress theme has a variety of options available for publishing your digital content.
Pages are a great option for brochures and other informational content. Posts are perfect for timely content like department newsletters and can be pulled into your pages through the News panel. Event posts are ideal as flyers for one time or repeat events and can also be pulled into your pages with the Events panel.
Since the Boise State web theme is designed with Boise State brand standards in mind, letting the theme take care of your design leaves you more time to focus on step two.
Step 2: Outline your content in plain text
There are several benefits to outlining your content in plain text. First, you are focusing on the content and not the way the content looks. This helps you to write a clear message for your audience. Second, starting in plain text gets your content ready for step three.
Step 3: Add your design and visuals
Highlight and copy your content then paste it as plain text into your digital platform. Tag your section headings with heading tags. Add any images, graphics, or icons along with an appropriate image description. If they are purely for decoration, leave the image description blank and WordPress will add an empty alternative text tag. Link to additional content with clear, descriptive link text instead of generic links like here, more, or link.
Step 4: Check for accessibility
Use an accessibility checker, like Siteimprove, to verify your content meets all web content accessibility guidelines. Siteimprove access is available for all Boise State staff and faculty. Simply contact the Help Desk for access.
You can also perform some usability testing by viewing your content on different size screens, with different levels of contrast, or with magnification. Listening to your content with a screen reader is also a great way to check your content.
Step 5: Publish your digital content
You now have an accessible, digital resource to share with your audience through social media or by email. Your audience can now view this content on a variety of devices like a desktop, a laptop, a tablet or other mobile device. They can also listen with a screen reader, or even translate the information into another format like Braille.
There you have it! Five steps to transform your former print production processes to digital production.
Mastering Web Accessibility Video Series
Check out additional videos and learn practical tips for incorporating accessibility into your everyday work:
Please reach out with any accessibility questions to OITAccessibility@BoiseState.edu.