New HTML Publication Tool

Published: 01/12/2022
A woman looking at a screen and cheering with clenched fists

Since the inception of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 we have been fighting a battle to remove inaccessible pdfs from our website.

Pdfs are great for showing information, particularly in a printed format, but they often lack a lot of the formatting required for them to be accessible for assistive technologies such as screenreaders.

We have been fixing new pdfs for the website while also retrofitting historic documents to ensure they are compliant with the accessibility regulations. But making these fixes can be quite time-consuming, particularly when tasked with a document that has more than 100 pages.

In answer to the problem with pdfs, we have built a new template for our website which enables the content of a pdf to be displayed digitally as HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language). HTML content is more accessible as the elements on the page, such as headings and links, are labelled to make the content more compatible with assistive technologies.

When building the document in our content management system, web editors can segment the content they are adding. This is really useful if the original content has chapters. By segmenting the copy, the published version of the publication will have a contents panel on the left-hand side of the page which enables the user to easily navigate the document.

Prior to this new development, the alternative would have been to publish the content on a standard webpage. However, this would not have produced web-friendly content due to the high word count of some of these documents.

See an example of our new page template.