My name is Elissa Schloesser with Visual Voice, I am a freelance graphic designer specializing in infographics, data visualization and reporting. I enjoy making complex information more understandable and engaging. Through my work, I have partnered with a number of evaluators to help visually communicate evaluation methods and findings.
Lesson Learned: When creating the digital version of a report many times we will just hit “save as a pdf” and post or share. Taking just a little extra time to add some additional features, you can make the digital version of your pdf report more interactive and accessible.
Why is this important?
- Adding interactivity will make it easier for your reader to navigate and connect to different pieces of information in your report.
- Making your report more accessible will make it easier for everyone to read, including people with disabilities.
Hot Tip: How to make it Interactive – add interactive features.
Below is a list of some interactive features I like to add to any pdf report that will be viewed digitally.
- Links in the table of contents that direct to appropriate section of the document
- Clickable hyperlinks
- Navigation or action buttons (if it makes sense)
If you have access to Adobe Acrobat you can manually add these items into your report document, or if you are working with a designer, you can have them integrate them into your report during the design process.
Rad Resource: 5 minute tutorial video by ADOBE TV on Adding Interactivity to PDF Files
Cool Trick: How to make it Accessible – set up your document with accessibility in mind.
Below are just a few things to consider when formatting your report for accessibility.
- Add titles or short descriptions to images using “alt text”
- Apply styles to text (i.e. headers, body, footer text)
- Make sure heading styles follow the correct hierarchy
- Avoid blank spaces by removing extra tabs or large gaps between paragraphs
- Place objects in line with your text
You can check your pdf document for accessibility problems and modify in Adobe Acrobat using their action wizard tool, or in Word using their accessibility checker in versions 2010 or later.
Rad Resource: Microsoft Office tutorial on Creating accessible Word documents
Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.