Supporting print in a digital world

In my experience, a traditional publishing mindset within organisations often stems from decades of creating manuals, guides, or state-of-the nation reports that started out as print publications.

With these legacy publications, the solution to ‘going digital’ was initially to publish a PDF version of the publication online. No doubt it's the quickest option, but as you know, this might not be serving your audience’s needs - particularly in the mobile and tablet era.

Even though ‘digital first’ is the mantra for government and business, there is still some demand for print. It's one of the reasons we’ve built-in publishing to both print and digital formats in MasterDocs – to enable organisations to go digital, but maintain capabilities in producing high-quality print publications.

However, uploading a PDF to your website doesn’t fully take advantage of digital as a medium. PDFs can be more difficult to navigate on mobile or tablet, can be less searchable and less accessible to people with disabilities.

If you really want to transform your publishing outputs you need to think ‘beyond the document’, but let’s start with ‘beyond the PDF’.

The need for digital

In today’s marketplace, consumers are using a growing number of devices to view content. 

This makes sense when I think about my personal habits. I usually browse news and social media on my iPad in the morning, and use a desktop or laptop at work. I might use my phone or iPad to take notes or refer to information in meetings throughout the day. Then I use my phone for casually browsing the internet at night. That’s three or four different devices I use on a daily basis. But I'm not the only one... research shows that 68% of Australians use three or more devices to access the internet.

ABS figures tell the same story: as of 2015, 86% of households are connected to the internet, and people are accessing the internet through their desktop or laptop computer (94%), mobile or smartphones (86%) and tablet (62%).

If you were considering whether or not mobile is important, it’s worth noting that Australia has one of the highest levels of smartphone usage in the world: 70% of Australians own a smartphone.

The numbers don’t lie; the majority of Australians are tech-savvy and accessing content on multiple devices. The need to make content easily accessible in varied devices and formats has never been more apparent.

Supporting many formats and devices

If you have a large document or publication, no matter where it will be published, it needs to be formatted and presented to a professional standard to reflect your organisation’s values.

Keep in mind, just because you're creating a publication for a professional audience, you can’t assume people will read it on their desktop at work. Wouldn’t your audience appreciate a responsive publishing format that resizes and reflows to suit the device they are viewing your content on?

The key to streamlining your publishing to multiple formats is a single source, which can automatically transform your publication to the outputs you need. You might need to rethink your authoring and publishing workflow to achieve it.

How single-source authoring can help

This is an area where single-source authoring platforms like MasterDocs shine. With the click of a button, your content (including text, images, charts and more) can be exported to formats for high-end print, eBooks, mobile or web formats.

Authoring, editing and reviewing is completed in MasterDocs (ie. your single source). Then, the formatting and presentation is applied when you export your content to your customised publishing templates.

This is ideal if you need to publish to multiple digital formats, and still need to maintain print production.

We’re helping organisations go digital and maintain the requirements of print.

So whether your readers are catching up on your latest publication at home on their mobile, or referring to your report on their desktop at work, you can make sure they’re getting the digital experience that suits their needs. Meet your readers where they are, and engagement is bound to increase.