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RE: Desktop Publishing to Accessible Webs

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From: Austin, Darrel
Date: Feb 22, 2006 3:10PM



> One, is anyone aware of any desktop publishing package that
> will convert to an accessible web? Every semester, our office
> puts out a paper newsletter that then has to be converted to
> the web. So far, I've tried out FrontPage and PageMaker, and
> neither seem to create clean HTML that is highly usable
> (FrontPage, of course, being the most horrific).

That's sort of a backwards way to go.

Most desktop publishing apps are designed for print presentation. They
really don't care too much about semantics. As such, it's hard to go
from unstructured content to accessible, structured, semantic content.
DTPs are typically the 'last stop' for the content...not the source
repository.

Some DTP apps, however, can import structured text...namely Framemaker
and Indesign. I haven't done much with indesign (I've been out of the
print world for a while) but my understanding is that it can import copy
as XML.

Of course, at this point, the catch is that someone needs to make the
content in some sort of structured editor to begin with.

Ideally, you'd then be going from that source document to both web and
to print.

Based on your set up, I'd suggest channging the workflow. Start in HTML.
Have someone write the articles in clean, simple, semantic HTML. This
could even be done in MS Word if the person is capable of using Word
formatting properly and you have access to something like HTML Tidy to
clean up the markup.

Then, from there, send a copy to the print designer, and a copy to the
web designer and have them publish from there.

(or, even better, maybe skip the print newsletter all together and save
a tree...but that's another debate ;o)

-Darrel