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Re: Desktop Publishing to Accessible Webs


From: Kynn Bartlett
Date: Feb 22, 2006 3:30PM

On 2/22/06, Austin, Darrel

> 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.

I agree with this. To me this sounds more like a process issue and less of
a technical issue.

The key, I think, is to branch higher in the process -- but after the
content is finalized -- rather than trying to do the branching at the very
end of the process.

As for Kevin's "but what do I do now?" question -- to be honest, I would ask
for files farther up the line. The newsletter wasn't, in all likelihood,
authored in MS Publisher. Somewhere there exists a Word or HTML or text
file of each article, and somewhere there are the original graphics files
used. Is there any chance you can get ahold of those?

Here's my experience in this. When I worked at Harvey Mudd College, one of
the challenges dealt with coming up with a process for getting the school
catalog online accessibly, which until then had been simply a PDF file. I
did exactly what was described above (and by Darrel) which was to examine
the process of creating the document.

It went something like this: The parts of the catalog were created in Word,
and these Word files were stored for later editing. Then the Word files got
shipped off to the DTP folks, who transformed them into Publisher (or
something morally equivalent) files, which then were sent to the printer.
Also, just at the printer step, a PDF was generated which was published on
the web.

The problem is that it's darned near impossible to go from Publisher and/or
Publisher-printed-as-PDF to useful HTML versions. So that was the wrong
place in the process to spin out an HTML version. Instead, we went in at the
point where the Word files were created; I got ahold of the Word files
because, ultimately, it's not THAT hard to convert a plain Word file to

Anyway, I hope this is helpful and not dismissive -- I understand the bind
you're in, but I think you are dealing with what sounds like a basically
dysfunctional publishing process, and that needs to be addressed first.