In now 5 sessions of the Scottish Parliament, parliamentary committees and our research service – SPICe – have published hundreds of reports and briefings as part of their consideration of legislation, inquiries, petitions and the myriad of different issues that make up a modern Parliament.
But we’ve never sought to improve the look and utility of our documents. We’ve always published them online, but given little thought to what the reader wants. With the explosion in the growth of PCs, tablets and smartphones, providing documents designed for the digital age is key. So is thinking about what the reader wants to read – 200 pages of closely typed text with a beginning, middle and the conclusions right at the end, or bite-sized chunks of information with the main messages and conclusions upfront?
As part of the Parliament’s overall Digital Programme, committee reports and SPICe briefings have been overhauled and modernised. This has involved a move towards an XML editing tool to enable us to write in HTML for direct publishing to the web. Whilst the PDF is not quite dead – it still forms our historic record for archival purposes – the aim is to focus on the online versions to make them more readable, with a higher content of infographics and multi-media, and with the purpose of allowing the reader to read as much or as little and s/he wants.
Before and After
For more information, contact: Stephen Imrie, firstname.lastname@example.org