The new Specification: about the format
The ILR specification is now published as an HTML publication. The new format replaces PDF releases for subsequent versions starting from January 2020.
Why the format has changed
The ILR Specification is now produced as an HTML publication and delivered to comply with legislative requirements.
There will not be a PDF version published of the 2020 to 2021 specification or later.
Public sector organisations have a legal duty to make sure their websites and apps meet accessibility requirements.
Public sector websites published on or after 23 September 2018 must be compliant by 23 September 2019. Any new websites published after this date must be compliant before going live.
Archive versions and related materials will remain available in their current document format.
Accessibility and a better user experience
The HTML publication is accessible to all, straightforward and economical to maintain.
PDFs can often be bad for accessibility and rarely comply with open standards.
HTML is a much better format to use than PDFs and is the recommended format for web content.
Compared with the PDF format, the HTML publication is compiled by search engines that focus on full-text indexing, meaning the specification is ranked highly on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Government Digital Service (GDS) introduced a new design-system-frontend and codebase to address the new accessibility regulations. This mandated that new publication must meet the AA standard set out by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2.
The new platform is a responsive solution to support users of the ILR specification. The previously limited six-month release cycle of multiple PDF’s and documents is now maintained and used as a single source document including version changes.
The Specification can be:
downloaded as an app
used offline without an internet connection
stored as a local copy
The delivery platform uses Progressive Web application (PWA) technology.
PWA allows for entire website publications (built in this way) to be downloaded as an app enabling a like-for-like experience, online through the browser and offline using the app.
The app can be installed from any page within the specification and is:
the same as the online version (cached)
updated automatically when an internet connection is detected
External websites are not contained within the app
Installing a copy of the specification
Guidance for installing the ILR specification as an app using either Chrome or Internet explorer browsers.
Using Internet Explorer and installing the specification
There are 3 steps to complete.
Step 1: Open the tools menu (Cog icon)
What to do
Show the tools menu by either:
clicking on the cog usually found to the right of the address bar
using alt key and then x key (keeping the alt key selected)
Step 2: Selecting 'Add Site to Apps'
Selecting 'Add Site to Apps' from the tools menu will activate a pop-up window.
Step 3: Select the Add button
The Add button starts the download and installation of the ILR specification app.
What to do next:
Open the stored specification via the Windows Start menu.
The App will usually display within the recently added menu items or listed under E within the Windows Start menu
For quick access to the shortcut, you can pin the shortcut icon to the taskbar
Using Chrome and installing the specification
There are 2 steps to complete.
Step 1: Open the settings menu.
What to do
Select the vertical ellipsis (three dots icon) to open the settings menu
Show the settings menu by either :
clicking on the ellipsis icon
using alt key and then E key (keeping the alt key selected)
Step 2: Select Install ESFA Documentation
Selecting the menu item will begin the download and installation of the ILR specification
app and an icon onto the desktop (Chome only).
Open the app using the ESFA Documentation icon. (Chrome only) .
Updates and using the app
When the app is started:
checks are made for an internet connection
changes to the specification will be installed when an internet connection is detected
If no connection is available the app uses the already cached version of the specification.
Managing changes , versioning and updates
Changes to the specification and how they are managed.
There are three types of change:
Correction or point of change
Defined as structural or fundamental change that has been made to the ILR Data Structure.
A major change will be identified by a version number stamp on the landing page.
Incremental version tags at the point of change indicate which version a change is related to. For example on a field page where there has been a change
Each version will have a collection of changes identified by numeric version tags
All major version changes are referenced on the summary of changes page
Defined as a significant change to guidance or instruction that users should be aware of.
Minor version changes will:
not be indicated as a new version of the specification
be listed on the summary of changes page
Correction or Point Change
Defined as editorial changes within the publication that do not alter the factual accuracy or structure of the content.
These changes are:
not referenced on the summary of changes page
deployed as they are identified as part of feedback
Printing the ILR Specification
Any page within the specification may be printed from the browser or app. Printing a web page works like printing any document in any application.
We're not in favour of printing and are discouraging the ‘print-and-annotate' method.
Printed documents are only current at the time of printing
Printing the specification compromises the accuracy of the information and quality of data if relying solely on a printed version.
The definitive source of the ILR specification
The online publication is designed to be:
used online and offline
the most current version