Can RoboHelp produce decent 508-compliant online help? When I try, TOC, IX, and Search look bad.

New Here ,
Oct 26, 2011 Oct 26, 2011

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I have Windows 7 and RoboHelp 9. I take a large Word document and convert it to online help. The TOC, IX, and Search look bad. I contacted Adobe Support and so far they say that that's just what 508-compliant help is supposed to look like, although I keep going back to try to get different opinions. Specifically, the TOC entries are not expandable and collapsible, it just shows the whole thing. They don't show tabs. The index builds entries from heading numbers, like 2_1_1_Add_a_New_Outcome.htm. Search shows symbols and numbers, starting with ! 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11, and has no search box to enter a word to search for. Does anyone know if this is really the only 508-compliant help I can get from RoboHelp, please?

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

LEGEND , Oct 28, 2011 Oct 28, 2011
Hi TomSorry, I've had an incredibly taxing last couple of days and I overlooked your last question asking about WebWorks.Unfortunately, I have no clue how WebWorks operates. Additionally, I'm not any sort of expert on Section 508 compliance. I have the "college level" understanding of it but no real life use to back that up. And seeing as how I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I can't claim to be an expert. Perhaps another person here has knowledge of WebWorks and may speak to th...

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LEGEND ,
Oct 26, 2011 Oct 26, 2011

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Welcome to our community

Sorry, but Section 508 help isn't pretty. It's not intended to be. It's designed to be compatible for folks that are visually impaired and using a Screen Reading application to interact with things. That's why the Index and Search are presented using an alphabet list. That way users may mouse over these areas and hear the Screen Reading application tell them what they are mousing over.

Cheers... Rick

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New Here ,
Oct 27, 2011 Oct 27, 2011

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I'm new to online forums like this, so I hope I don't break the rules by citing another post, including the text of it, saying who posted, mentioning another company's software, or anything else. If so, please let me know.

Rick (Captiv8r), thanks very much for your excellent response. I now finally understand, and am almost ready to

mark it as answered, however I have another related question about Webworks, which I put at the bottom of this post.

The following other post I found by Rick (Captiv8r) was so informative that I include it all here:

http://forums.adobe.com/message/754356#754356

Hi marjoriem

First off, this option only applies to WebHelp output. HTML help (.CHM) output is not 508 compliant. FlashHelp isn't either.

Basically, you flag RoboHelp to generate a plainer version of WebHelp. No fancy Dynamic HTML used for the Table of Contents, Index, Search. No skins. All elements should be presented in a way that screen readers may more easily read to the visually impaired user which element is available or being moused over.

Some folks whine a bit and ask "Why does my help have to look 'ugly' in order to be 508 compliant?". And when you think about it, would the fancy visuals really be needed for a person that is blind or visually impaired?

You *can* sort of have your cake and eat it too. Basically, you generate WebHelp TWICE. You have one output that is 508 compliant and a second output that is skinned. Then you may either point the user to the appropriate output from the beginning, or offer a link within your skinned WebHelp that would open the 508 WebHelp.

Hope this helps a bit... Rick

It helps tremendously. Now my other question:

Is online help produced by Webworks truly 508-compliant? (That is, online help produced by Quadralay Webworks ePublisher Pro?) I believe they claim it is 508-compliant, but it has all the nice Index, Search, collapsible TOC, etc., that Adobe RoboHelp says is non-compliant. So Adobe RoboHelp and Quadralay Webworks appear to be contradicting each other. Who is right? I guess to simplify it down to one question:

Is online help produced by Webworks truly 508-compliant? Please let me know. Thanks! Tom

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New Here ,
Oct 27, 2011 Oct 27, 2011

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Maybe it's wrong to ask about Webworks in this Adobe Forum. Maybe what I want is really a cross-HAT (Help Authoring Tool) forum for Tech Writers.

It looks to me like RoboHelp and Webworks have two different philosophies of 508 compliance. RoboHelp might claim that Webworks is non-compliant because they have fancy: TOC, IX, Search, Skins, etc., the fanciness of which is not readable by a screen reader. Webworks might claim RoboHelp isn't 508 compliant because they don't test every image and table to make sure it has Alt text. So the whole question seems really quite complicated. Thanks for your very clear explanation of RoboHelp 508 compliance, because as a new user to RoboHelp it looked to me like it just wasn't working, and now I understand that it was.

Tom

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LEGEND ,
Oct 28, 2011 Oct 28, 2011

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Hi Tom

Sorry, I've had an incredibly taxing last couple of days and I overlooked your last question asking about WebWorks.

Unfortunately, I have no clue how WebWorks operates. Additionally, I'm not any sort of expert on Section 508 compliance. I have the "college level" understanding of it but no real life use to back that up. And seeing as how I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I can't claim to be an expert.

Perhaps another person here has knowledge of WebWorks and may speak to that. Or, you might ask in a different venue. Maybe WebWorks has their own forums? Or you could try asking on TECHWR-L or HATT.

http://www.techwr-l.com/archives/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HATT/

Cheers... Rick

Helpful and Handy Links

RoboHelp Wish Form/Bug Reporting Form

Begin learning RoboHelp HTML 7, 8 or 9 within the day!

Adobe Certified RoboHelp HTML Training

SorcerStone Blog

RoboHelp eBooks

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New Here ,
Nov 01, 2011 Nov 01, 2011

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Thanks very much, Rick. I marked your group of answers as Correct.

Tom

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New Here ,
Aug 04, 2015 Aug 04, 2015

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I have a follow-up question to this post from a while ago.

You *can* sort of have your cake and eat it too. Basically, you generate WebHelp TWICE. You have one output that is 508 compliant and a second output that is skinned. Then you may either point the user to the appropriate output from the beginning, or offer a link within your skinned WebHelp that would open the 508 WebHelp.

How would you generate WebHelp twice (once with skin, and once with 508)? I need to do that.


Thanks,

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 04, 2015 Aug 04, 2015

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Run once with the 508 flag selected – when finished, rename that \!SSL!\WebHelp\ folder as something like \WebHelp508\; then re-run your help generation, this time without selecting the 508 flag. Ta da! 2 outputs.

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New Here ,
Aug 04, 2015 Aug 04, 2015

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Thanks

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2015 Aug 05, 2015

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Or if you need to do it all the time, you can set up a second Webhelp single source layout that is identical to the first, except for the 508 flag (set in one and not set in the other), then you can use the Batch Generate tool to generate both in one go.

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New Here ,
Aug 06, 2015 Aug 06, 2015

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This is a great idea.

Thank you.

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New Here ,
Aug 06, 2015 Aug 06, 2015

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Once I have both versions, and using batch generation, is there a way to add a link to say a "Getting Started" page for users to click/access the 508 version? Or is there some other way to display one version vs the other for users? Sorry, that's the piece I seem to be missing or not understanding at this point.

Thanks,


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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2015 Aug 06, 2015

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Assuming you know the relative path between the start page of the two outputs, you could create a link in the standard version to the 508 version. "Click here to open 508 compliant help" or suchlike. However, that would not close the standard version so the user would have to close that as well after viewing the 508 version.

Alternatively you could create a simple HTML page offering both versions but that would have the same issue.

Could your developers help here with something a bit more sophisticated?


See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

@petergrainge

Please use the Blue reply button at the top to help me help you. The black Reply link nests replies and they sort out of order.

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New Here ,
Jun 27, 2016 Jun 27, 2016

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Still awaiting a reply to the below questions:

How would I determine the relative path? Can you expand on what needs to be done to make this function? I would like to create a link on my start page of the standard version WebHelp to open a 508 version in a new window? As far as the previous version not closing, that would be fine.  I'm running on Robhelp 11.

Assuming you know the relative path between the start page of the two outputs, you could create a link in the standard version to the 508 version. "Click here to open 508 compliant help" or suchlike.

Thank you.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 18, 2016 Jul 18, 2016

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I missed your last post as I was travelling. I'm intrigued by the fact that you have followed this up nearly a year later.

You need to determine where the two outputs will be located and then work out the relative path from topic in the standard version to the start page of the 508 version. Then in the standard version you add a link using that path.

If where the two versions are located is determined by your developers, you will need them to advise you of the relative path.


See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring information

@petergrainge

Please use the Blue reply button at the top to help me help you. The black Reply link nests replies and they sort out of order.

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New Here ,
Jul 18, 2016 Jul 18, 2016

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We have this working as expected using a relative path.

Thanks

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