Guide Rework Part 2: Guide to Accessible Formats

Last week, I posted about updating our “What Format Do You Need” guide and taking a different approach in helping our users decide what format they need. Looking at the guides, I realized that my draft could be a possible replacement for the quick guide, but cannot replace the more detailed version (below). The detailed version has so much more information and obviously breaks down the information differently.

Detailed Guide: What Format Do You Need
Detailed Guide: What Format Do You Need

Technology Changes Quickly

I think the main thing that needs to change is the pros and cons list, but the hardware and software lists as well. With the current capabilities of mobile devices (both tablets and phones), just about any format is “portable” and can be played on almost any device.

With the changes in technology, we also no longer make “large print” PDFs, but will scan and/or output higher resolution PDFs that allow users to zoom in as needed.


Honestly, I’m not certain this column is applicable at all anymore. We frequently talk about how phones are small computers now, and that there is an app to do almost anything.


I noticed the software list is also geared towards Windows users. On a Mac, a lot of the functionality from the list of programs is already built in to OSX. Preview allows you to view PDF, TextEditor reads RTF, and VoiceOver will read text to you.

Getting the Message Across

The list of users here seem kind of useless as well. First of all, it only mentions three types, and they’re all the same except for the large print (which we no longer really use).

There are a couple of things that also need to be more clear for our users. First off, that DAISY is very specialized and should not be requested unless they are (being) trained to use it. Second is that the list order reflects the typical production time for each format from shortest to longest.

The massive amount of text in the footnotes could also probably be cut down and refer people to the website for more information.

I will definitely have to work on both guides some more when I have the time. Unfortunately, they probably will not be ready until the end of spring when we will hopefully have a new website.

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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