If you were tasked with creating a series of documents with the same look and feel, would you start from scratch or use a template? And if the latter, is that template accessible?
If you've answered no, read on, and save yourself considerable time, money and, let's face it, head space.
Let's look at how you can significantly reduce issues by starting 'upstream' by creating accessible templates, which can enable you to:
easily format your content,
potentially save money in the long run, and
keep your message accessible moving forward.
Accessible templates may take a little while to set up, but think of all the time you save on each document generated from that one template.
Only once do you have to set up your required styles and features, including, but not limited to:
easy-to-read fonts and sufficient line and paragraph spacing
a clear hierarchy of headings from H1-H5
text and graphical colours with good contrast
and all-important tagging benefiting assistive technology users.
After this, you are set for life (or at least the life of the document). Priceless.
But I get that sometimes there is just too much on to look at projects like this, but trust me; it will save you copious amounts of time in the long run. (And if you do need a hand, I may know someone who can help... 😉)
So, once you have your template, you are good to go! In each new document generated, you will be able to:
import, paste in or type content directly,
format content with ease,
retain your brand identity and produce good-looking documents, and
be considerably closer to accessibility standards.
There will always be additional other considerations for your document, i.e. alternative text and using meaningful links, to name a few.
But, the bulk of the work has been done once. Not ten times, not 20 times, just once. In short, it's a great start. Some remediation may be required in more complex PDF documents, but it will be considerably less.
The return on investment
"a bit of work at the front end can save a mountain of work at the back end."
With document accessibility, it's never been so appropriate.
Yes, a small investment may be required, be it time and/or money, in getting templates created. However, the templates empower you to create great documents with considerably less effort moving forward.
"We produced our first completely in-house issue using the templates you built for us and it was a great success. Thanks to your work our publication is now 100% accessible, and we have flexibility to vary the issue length and frequency - plus we'll save money over the long term."
It also prevents those last-minute scrambles to make your documents accessible, which is always more expensive if applied retrospectively. And how good would it be if the stress of last-minute changes on a tight deadline was eliminated?
You know it makes sense, don't you?
I know sometimes it is difficult to find the time to stop, evaluate a situation and make changes for the better, even though the desire is there. But the positive effect it will have moving forward can't be ignored when considering the points we've just examined.
The benefits are endless with accessible documents. I love seeing organisations have the power and ability to produce quality, on-brand, accessible documents right from the start quickly and easily.
So, what will you do the next time you're working on a document and realise you are making the same changes and fixing the same things again and again?
Stop, take a breath, address the issues upstream, and save yourself a potential world of hurt and time every day.
Go on; you know it makes sense...
If this sounds familiar and you need a hand, drop me a line at KC & the Graphics Bandwagon. Help is only a call or a click away.
And follow KC on Instagram. You might learn something new!