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Hi,

This question is not strictly related to Affinity Publisher, but to the scope of the type of software it belongs, as a creative tool for actual work. While Designer and Photo have a clear target (any illustrator or photo editor, for any type of media), I find Publisher's target less clear.

Layout work has been clear for a long time. You used publishing software to make layout for books, brochures, posters, industry report, newspapers, magazines. They were all printed out, starting from scanned or digitally transferred originals.

Advertising has moved more and more toward web banners and social media ads. Industry reports, with smart working increasing and meetings only held virtually, are less and less relevant. Newspapers are moving online. Magazines are still read by an aged audience, but their format has long moved to the web.

Books are still made, and probably will be for a long time. They will probably move to digital, but they will probably still need layout work. By gong around the forums dedicated to InDesign and AfPublisher, I've the impression that to be making their layout are aged people.

Affinity Publisher is a tool for layout. Will we need it for long? I'm quite distressed by the possible perspectives, since I've grown loving books and layout tools. Publishing has been most of my life. What do you think? What is the future of publishing? How will we use the relevant tools in the near future?

Paolo

 

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3 minutes ago, PaoloT said:

Hi,

This question is not strictly related to Affinity Publisher, but to the scope of the type of software it belongs, as a creative tool for actual work. While Designer and Photo have a clear target (any illustrator or photo editor, for any type of media), I find Publisher's target less clear.

Layout work has been clear for a long time. You used publishing software to make layout for books, brochures, posters, industry report, newspapers, magazines. They were all printed out, starting from scanned or digitally transferred originals.

Advertising has moved more and more toward web banners and social media ads. Industry reports, with smart working increasing and meetings only held virtually, are less and less relevant. Newspapers are moving online. Magazines are still read by an aged audience, but their format has long moved to the web.

Books are still made, and probably will be for a long time. They will probably move to digital, but they will probably still need layout work. By gong around the forums dedicated to InDesign and AfPublisher, I've the impression that to be making their layout are aged people.

Affinity Publisher is a tool for layout. Will we need it for long? I'm quite distressed by the possible perspectives, since I've grown loving books and layout tools. Publishing has been most of my life. What do you think? What is the future of publishing? How will we use the relevant tools in the near future?

Paolo

 

As long as there are books, magazines, flyers and the rest Indesign will be needed and used, or an app to take its place like Publisher or Quark (not holding my breath on Quarks return to dominance in this field). Indesign is heavily used by all in print as well as graphic designers preparing for print. While print has declined over the years it is not dead. Yes there is a lot of web advertising but again people are still doing flyers, mailers, door hangers, etc. It is a lot easier to dismiss a web banner than it is something physical in your hand. I also find anything web is just extra steps to view and look at content, you have a very small space to try and hook them into clicking you. A flyer at your door gives you a full page you can take in at once and gather the info you need much easier. We still print plenty of print material for universities (one of the biggest tech universities in Canada), tech companies themselves and others that would not be considered an "old" person demographic. I don't see the need going away for pay layout software anytime soon, it will just evolve and change as the market does as well. 

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Publishing is making an item available to the public, whether free or for payment.

Publishing can be in hardcopy or electronic format. If electronic format that could be as a file on a disc or what is known as pure electronic publishing by making it available as an electronic file delivered, or obtainable, by purely electronic means.

An example of pure electronic publishing is to use Affinity Publisher to produce a pure electronic PDF (Portable Document Format) document and to make it available free-of-charge on a publicly accessible web page.

In the United Kingdom there is a rather wonderful facility called Legal Deposit, whereby The British Library collects and conserves a copy of most things (there are a few things not collected) published in the United Kingdom and/or by a United Kingdom citizen.

There is a quite widespread belief that a publisher must be a business, but that is not true. Some publishers are each a business, but being a business is not a condition of being a publisher.

It is possible, and I do it myself, for a individual to produce a PDF document, make it available on the web, and then it will (theoretically) gathered by The British Library as part of their web harvesting process, though they need to know of the website and they only harvest some sites once in a while, so some could be missed by the harvesting process. However, one can ensure that one's publication does not get missed by sending The British Library a copy directly as an email attachment. If one askes for an email receipt then they send one, but one does need to ask. I always ask and the receipts arrive. Often very promptly, usually within for our five hours, counting only office hours, so if one is sent in the evening or weekend the receipt will not arrive to the weekday. The fastest I got a receipt was recently, it took two minutes.

Here are some links about it all.

https://www.bl.uk/legal-deposit

https://www.bl.uk/help/how-to-deposit-your-digital-publications

Legal deposit for electronic publications has only been since around 2013, though there was a voluntary depositing scheme from around 2002 after the law was enacted until it came into force around 2013 after the regulations were finalized and approved. I participated in the voluntary scheme.

Much of the law is framed as if a publisher would be unwilling to make a deposit unless legally required to do so, but for me it is a great facility as if I write something, publish it in a PDF document and make it available on the web, then The British Library will accept it and conserve it. How many people have read it or what literary critics might opine about its merit or lack merit is irrelevant to the conservation process.

William Overington

Wednesday 20 January 2021

 

 


Using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England

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While I agree that books are the ones I think will go through this transition losing less than the other formats, I wonder what is happening to magazines. I have tons of technology, music, travel, bricolage magazine in my home, but I'm slowly scanning them and getting rid of the least interesting from a design point of view. And I'm no longer purchasing any of them on paper.

When looking at the Italian sales data, I see that only weekly and monthly magazines for traditional targets are still sold. Many others have migrated online. The design parts has gone lost. The beautiful experiment that is/was issuu, that tried to transfer high-quality design online, seems to be rather marginal. With the advancement of technology, and tablets being more and more a pervasive presence, do you thing well-designed magazines will become relevant again?

Tangentially, I'm thinking to concept albums. For years, they were supplanted by single songs sold online. With the return to a need for intimacy (or being forced home), I see albums are returning. With magazines, it may happen something similar: from the whole concept on paper, we switched to single articles online; will the full magazine, to be read from the first to the last page, return relevant?

Paolo

 

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I think there is some danger when it comes to the future of apps like Affinity Publisher. To survive as an app with which you can create PDFs or other documents that will be published online, that app needs to be capable to create accessible PDFs/documents. And that's not the case with Affinity Publisher (and many other software used to create PDFs).

Many organisations are already required by law to only publish accessible content on their websites. And PDFs are web content, whether they are shown in the browser or just available using a link. Even if they are created only to be printed after downloading, they still need to be digitally accessible.

In the coming years most company websites have to be made accessible for all people and not just the abled ones.

Publisher apps like Affinity Publisher need to be capable of creating such accessible content or they'll become useless to any designer who's work ends up on a website.

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I see a better future for publishing apps, if they stop thinking only to printed page as the target. Thinking paper/PDF and websites at the same time would make them future-proof. CSS and HTML5 should already allow for complex page layouts on the web.

I'm not totally sure InDesign is ready for this. Is its HTML output, from the more recent versions, be easily added to a website? Or is it still a lot of additional work needed? Serif could take the advantage, here, if it went straight to this direction. AfPub is a younger app, so maybe it's easy to make it more compatible with modern targets.

Paolo

 

 

 

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I totally agree with you @PaoloT.

It would be great to use an app like Affinity Publisher to create good layouts for webpages with a lot of content. I'd like to combine the knowledge about magazine design, book design and so on with web design. The output doesn't have to be a full webpage. Just a part of it with only the 'text' part of html would be fine. (paragraphs, headings, articles, images with alt-text, proper lists, etc)

If you could create just a <main> part of a webpage with content or even just an <article> in html that would be a huge improvement. It would allow content creators to do their job and then merge it with the work of the frontend developer who created the page template. And html is accessible if it's built according to WCAG criteria. And for the content part that's not exactly rocket science.

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17 hours ago, JohannaH said:

I think there is some danger when it comes to the future of apps like Affinity Publisher. To survive as an app with which you can create PDFs or other documents that will be published online, that app needs to be capable to create accessible PDFs/documents. And that's not the case with Affinity Publisher (and many other software used to create PDFs).

 

Hi

I am a publisher, only on a small scale and only of things that I have produced myself.

I would be pleased to make sure that my PDF documents are accessible. Yet I need to learn what is needed.

Can you write more about what exactly, precisely, a PDF document produced using Affinity Publisher does not do in relation to accessibility that you consider it should do please?

Thank you for raising this important issue.

Best regards,

William

 


Using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England

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I've posted something in another thread (Tagged PDF support for accessibility in Feedback for Affinity Publisher) about this accessibility in PDF. Here is a copy of that text. I hope it helps you understand what this is about.

 

"I totally agree with others on this subject. It's part of my job to check accessibility of PDFs. And most of them aren't accessible.

But according to the law all content on a government (related) website in my country (part of the EU) and many other countries should be accessible. So that includes all PDFs on that website. Of course there is an exception for old documents. But new PDFs just have to be properly tagged so a screenreader is able to use it and read it to a blind person. And when that's the case, then it is usually also accessible to other tools used to help people to read or understand digital content.

Within a bit more than a year the process of making all content on all websites in the EU will start and in June 2025 all company websites have to be accessible except the ones from very small companies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Accessibility_Act

If Affinity doesn't solve this problem it will be impossible for designers to use this software as their products can not be published on websites anymore. We would be left with Adobe products just because they do have tags in PDFs, not because they are very good at it, they are not.

I love all Affinity software, but I have to use other software to create accessible PDFs, like Adobe Acrobat, MS Word, Axes4 (Word Plugin and PDF QuickFix). I want to use Affinity!!

Affinity team, please add tagging to creating PDFs!

And please have a look at other things like a contrast checker, a checker of the the headings, and so on.

Here you'll find some info:

https://www.pdfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/TaggedPDFBestPracticeGuideSyntax.pdf

https://www.pdfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/MatterhornProtocol_1-02.pdf

https://www.axes4.com/resources.html

https://www.access-for-all.ch/en/pdf-accessibility-checker.html

https://www.access-for-all.ch/en/pdf-accessibility-checker/vip-pdf-reader.html"

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Thank you for your reply.

I got started with reading the first document.

I have a question please, if I may.

I produce PDF documents, some are research documents, some are novels, some are a mixture of both.

Suppose that Serif does what you request.

What, if anything, would a content author using the updated version of Affinity Publisher to produce a PDF document need to do in order that that PDF document would be accessible to your satisfaction please?

It is unclear to me at present whether a content author would need to do anything in that it might perhaps be the case that everything necessary would be done behind the scenes by Affinity Publisher.

Is there anyone from Serif who can say what Serif can do to help with this important issue please?

William

 

 


Using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England

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First of all, it's not my satisfaction, @William Overington. I started in this job in June last year and I'm still learning a lot about accessible documents. It's a complicated subject, but very interesting as well.

I'm pleased to hear you want to get this right.

 

As an author you can certainly do things. Some of which doesn't depend on the tags that are needed to make the PDF available to screenreaders and other tools for people with disabilities.

On this website at W3 you'll find techniques to make PDF's accessible. There are 23 pages about PDF, the link takes you to the first of them. https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/pdf_notes.html

Accessibility is also about the use of color, contrast of color, meaningful text, the title of the document (which you will see in the tab of the PDF reader), the right language, the use of headings in the right order (h1, h2, h3), reading order, and so on. If done right it'll help all your readers and it'll give all of them a better experience.

 

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