Office of the Governor Rick Perry
Committee on People with Disabilities
Step Away from the PDF’s:
Leah Bannon is a web strategy and open gov consultant for the Office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment.
Every year, one of our office’s biggest projects is to prepare the Information Sharing Environment Annual Report to the Congress. This report (http://ise.gov/annual-report/
) examines the progress of Congress’s mandate in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to develop a better environment of terrorism-related information sharing.
It’s a bigger and bigger PDF every year, but this year we created a web version as well. We used Bootstrap ( http://getbootstrap.com/
) build a simple site for the report, inspired by the Digital Government Strategy. It was a great decision:
• More Traffic! We saw more unique visits (pageviews) to the web version of our 2013 Annual Report in one month than the entire past year of downloads of the 2012 Annual Report PDF.
• Better Metrics: We divided the report’s chapters into separate pages, so we can track which sections are most and least popular based on visits, average time spent on the pages, and bounce rates.
• Better Sharing: We made every section, sub-section, and header in the report a link so we could easily share specific sections. This report is primarily a compilation of hundreds of stories of our partners’ successful information sharing initiatives or challenges, so sharing specific sections of the report is helpful to our partners.
• Better Search: We were able to use USASearch as the search tool for our Annual Report, which greatly improved the search capability.
• Mobile: Our web version is responsive to any screen size, and building that in was easy with Bootstrap. Twenty percent of our visitors are on mobile devices now, and that number keeps growing.
• More Accessible: HTML is a standard, text-based format that is much easier to parse for text, data, structure, etc. than PDF. This web version is more accessible and machine readable.
How We Did It
As I said above, we used Bootstrap to build it, which is free and open source. You can also view our report on our GitHub page and fork it for yourself! We are strongly committed to open standards and the open government values of transparency, participation, and collaboration, so this just made sense. We plan to use this model more and more, and we’re following Project Open Data’s model for accepting public feedback and edits for some upcoming documents soon.
Convincing Your Office
We still offered a PDF version – and about a dozen people did request it. PDFs do serve their purpose; they will guarantee that your product looks the same for everyone. But when your goals include sharing the content with as many people as possible, HTML is a better approach.
• Link to ISE Annual Report to Congress http://ise.gov/annual-report/
The Information Sharing Environment broadly refers to the people, projects, systems, and agencies that enable responsible information sharing for national security. The 2013 ISE Annual Report to the Congress examines the extent to which Congress's mandate in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 for terrorism-related information sharing is being implemented. Start reading about the past year's progress in the Foreword by Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment Kshemendra Paul or check out the sections below.
• Link to original article http://blog.howto.gov/2013/12/06/step-a ... -the-pdfs/
• A Word on Accessible PDF’s: WebAIM PDF Accessibiltiy http://webaim.org/techniques/acrobat/
When people talk about "accessible" PDF files, they usually are referring to "tagged" PDF files, even though there is more to an accessible PDF than tags. PDF tags provide a hidden structured, textual representation of the PDF content that is presented to screen readers. They exist for accessibility purposes only and have no visible effect on the PDF file. HTML tags and PDF tags often use similar tag names (e.g., both have tags named h1) and organization structures, but they really are quite different. If you are comfortable with HTML, you will probably have an easier time creating and editing tagged PDF files.
• Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities Tutorials on Accessible Documents and Assistive Technology http://governor.state.tx.us/disabilitie ... sibledocs/
The Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities (Committee) provides GovDelivery updates for informational purposes on a variety of disability related issues for a diverse audience. Updates may include information provided by external sources. The inclusion of this external information does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the Committee or the Office of the Governor of any information, policy, product, or service offered by an external source.