Digitising materials and resources to share online
Scope has been looking at ways to digitise their physical resources and share them with clients.
Physical resources are used across a range of services that Scope provides. For example, sleep diaries are used in assisting with the facilitation of Sleep Right - an intensive support service for parents and carers of disabled children aged between two to 18 years, who are having difficulty sleeping. Another example of digital distribution are pdf activity sheets used in Scope’s Resilience Sessions. These are explained in the online sessions and then shared with participants in an email following the workshop.
Where physical resources were used in services, these are now available as digital online resources to enable the continuous delivery of the service.
This recipe has been in use since April 2020.
We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe Scope’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.
Users and needs served
As a staff member or volunteer, I need to be able to provide the materials needed that support the delivery of the service to the client.
As a staff member or volunteer for Scope, I need to share information digitally in a way that users can easily understand and access.
As a beneficiary of the service, I need to be provided with materials that will support my learning journey.
This is a simple slideshow and presentations making tool. Alternatives are Pages if using an Apple device or Google Slides if you have a Google account.
Various Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365 plans available with both annual/monthly subscriptions or a one-off payment. Microsoft 365 offers free online web-browser based tools (including PowerPoint). It is free to sign up and use.
A simple word processing tool. Alternatives are Pages for Apple devices or Google Docs. Used to create activity sheet handouts which are then saved and exported in a PDF format. PDF handouts allow for easy printing should users wish to have a physical copy.
Various Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365 plans available with both annual/ monthly subscriptions or a one-off payment. Microsoft 365 offers free online web-browser based tools (including Word). It is free to sign up and use.
Adobe Acrobat DC is available as part of a plan in Adobe Creative Cloud. Alternatives listed above are free to use but It’s worth noting that online PDF combiners may not always be as secure as a software tool so watch out for sensitive information.
Scope’s Online Website Portal
Scope have developed a place on their online website where clients can access digital materials for the service. Digital resources are stored where only people with the link can access them. Resources are hidden from the rest of the website and search engines (using the noindex tag) e.g. Sleep diaries are now accessible through this online portal.
This requires software developers/web developers in order to implement which come at a cost. Alternatives if you can’t develop your website are to have a Microsoft Sharepoint/OneDrive, password protected folder in Dropbox or a Google Drive where you can store these documents for users to access online.
Online resources can also be translated into different languages by putting them through Google Translate.This makes them more accessible where english is not a first language.
1. Create a presentation that is ready to be shared with your user
When digitising your presentations, try and reduce the number of slides by condensing the information and removing anything that isn’t really needed.
Share these presentations after the sessions so that people can revisit what has been covered.
Share them in a file that is easily accessible. It is best practice to export your content to a pdf so clients can access it regardless of software.
2. Preparing your (PDF) digital resources for sharing
PDFs are used as it preserves the layout of the page, regardless of what software the document is opened on.
Combine all activity materials into one PDF file, instead of lots of different documents. This makes it easier for clients to access the materials as it is all in one place. For tools to do this, see software + tools.
Make digital information as simple as possible to use. Include any hyperlinks so that users can access other things from the internet.
3. Sharing your (PDF) digital resources with your users
Share resources using email attachments. You can attach the single PDF file to the email. Email is suggested because Scope have found that technical knowledge of accessing shared documents may be limited for parents on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom.
Share resources with clients after any sessions as it can be distracting when shared during the session. Scope have found that sharing materials works better when they are sent to participants after the workshop.
4. Putting your resources online (if applicable)
Scope’s website allows users to access content online that isn’t available to the public by hiding the pages from search engines and the navigation. Note: You’ll need to have a similar space to place resources on your website / online. This also works if you have a cloud-based drive which users can access e.g. Microsoft Sharepoint, Google Drive
Gather all the files which you wish to share with your clients. Upload these to the portal / cloud-based drive.
Enable any security measures that limit access to your files (if applicable).
Think about making any information as simple as possible to understand. Rethink what is essential information that your users need and remove what they don’t need.
Try and give as much information as possible, in as little documents as possible. For example, this means you may need to combine multiple activity sheets into one large pdf
It’s worth noting that there isn't one solution for accessibility. You’ll need to accommodate how you digitise and share your materials/ resources for based on the needs of your clients.
For example, images in word documents can be made accessible through the use of alternative text. This is where a word or phrase can be attributed to the image to tell viewers the nature or contents of the image. However, this alternative text can get lost when converting the document to PDF format.
Points of contact
For further information about this recipe, you can contact:
Many thanks to Scope for contributing this recipe.
Do you have thoughts on this recipe? We would love to hear from you.