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5 critical features of a digital publishing platform for standards and code development organizations


Manish Malpani

October 05, 2017

We are now a performance-driven world. If a product or service, rather if any product or service, does not conform to the standards of performance it will be rejected outright by its target demographic. It might also happen a pretty great product or product idea failed or did not meet the success it deserved because of the lack of standards in the development process. It is because of this very reason that there are a large number of organizations whose sole focus is to develop standards. A standard setting organization can be defined as thus: “an entity that is primarily engaged in activities such as developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, amending, reissuing, interpreting, or otherwise maintaining hundreds of thousands of standards applicable to a wide base of users outside the standards developing organization. It aims to generate the acceptance or proliferation of such new standards-based technologies, products or services.”

Industries or sectors communicate the need for standards to the responsible standards development organization and then experts who negotiate the aspects of the standards such as the scope, definitions, and related content develops these standards. Standards and code development is an exhaustive process and the final publications usually are exhaustive publications.

In today’s age when there is an increased focus on digitization, it is hardly a surprise that people who want to access these standards want them in an online version. Since these standards are published in a hard copy format, it becomes a comprehensive task to refer to them and quickly search for the information you are looking for. Converting these standards into on online format, therefore, becomes imperative in today’s economy. However, given the variety in device ranges such as Kindle, Smartphones tablets or formats such as PDF, we have to be careful that the conversion from the hard copy version to the online version is 100% accurate.

The online versions of the standards can be made available through digital platforms and can be accessed using a subscription service. However, only accessing the standards online is not enough – the users should be able to perform some specific actions through the portal when they access the titles.

In this blog, we take a look at some of the must-have features of the digital platform which offers the standards online.

Complete Code Text

The subscription model should provide a complete PDF or HTML view of the entire book of standards. The contents of the book should be displayed according to chapter and should offer easy navigation. It should offer easy options for copy and paste of the complete content of the book, provide the facility to print chapters, provide color-coded content to identify changes from previous editions and relocation and deletion markers. It also helps to provide highlighting and annotation facilities to the readers so that content can be easily marked up and annotation messages, files, and images can be added easily to add more value. Additionally, it is important that highlighted and annotated content can be easily exported to make reports. The users should get the facility to bookmark interesting content and should be able to tag and create lists based on the interest areas and also export the bookmarked content to PDF documents.


By allowing for internal hyperlinking of the standards text, the users can make references from different portions of the text with a simple click. Subscription providers should ensure that the users can make references internal to the book or to external sources within the library. Adding Reference Standards not only makes accessing relevant standards easy but also ensures that the SDO website is found easily on search engines.

Search options

The SDO website should offer advanced search options for a content search of all titles across the library. Exact phrase search, all of the words search, any word search and wildcard search are some of the search options that should be on offer. Along with this, they should also offer a drill down to a specific chapter or a specific section to find more targeted results. The search options can be presented in a paginated manner present with breadcrumbs to identify the exact location of the content. The online content should also display the searched items in a highlighted manner throughout the chapter with controls to step in between results.


Managing access to purchased content can be a task but getting this step right is essential. Sharing access to the content using concurrent licenses where a code is provided to the user to access the content is a good way to go. The user can use the code and access the content as long as there is an available license. Access codes can be generated and sent to the users and the number of concurrent users can be listed and these users can make use of all the facilities such as bookmarking, highlighting, annotating etc. Additionally, concurrent access should also allow more than one user to collaborate on a book.

Along with this, SDO websites should also provide a Public Access where the user can review only selected pieces of the book. If the books are uploaded in a chapter to chapter format, then the selection process becomes easier. The users should also be given the provision to select the book and add it to their library


A Standards digital portal should also make it easy for the user to access the available books. Just like a physical library, it should provide an online bookshelf where the purchased books can be viewed according to year, collection, purchase date or titles. It is imperative that search filters can be applied here so that the users only see the relevant titles and gain rapid access to the same. Having a ‘features offering’ at the end of the page is also a good idea. This area can be used to showcase the latest items available for purchase to keep the users abreast of the most recent developments.


It is not always possible to go through the standards online. Sometimes, offline reading through a printed copy is a convenient option. In such cases, the digital portal should facilitate download and printing of the DRM-protected content using a centralized interface.

Along with all this, it is essential that the user interface of the portal is simple, clean, easy to use, it offers simple navigation, has well-placed buttons and gives the users the scope to search the entire books store from the search bar on the landing page itself. Highlighting specialty topics and high traffic areas on the website also increase the usability of the website and make sure that the users do not abandon the website due to a complexity of use.

Apart from this, on the backend, the portal should offer extensibility and integration. The data should be appropriately secured through advanced security management. The portal should be designed using service-oriented architecture to easily facilitate data exchange and communication with other systems.

Finally, it is essential that these portals are mobile responsive and mobile optimized so that they fit all form factors well and aids the ‘anywhere, anytime’ user base.

Designing and developing such portals is a niche skill. We, at InfoBeans, have a deep understanding of the domain and the specific requirements, knowledge, skills, expertise in latest technologies and expertise in developing portals for standards selling. Connect with our SDO expert to know more!

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