PDF Policy

This is for staff to use when advising their colleagues or internal clients about the use of PDFs on the website.

You should never use PDF for content that you expect users to read online. Why? Because PDFs are designed for printed, letter-sized pieces of paper not to display in a browser window.

Forcing users to browse PDF documents make the website’s usability approximately 300% worse relative to HTML pages. 

Each and every page of the Riverside website has a print tool embedded within it so the customer is able to easily view the content on paper if they wish.

Problems with PDF:

  • Defies Riverside Accessibility standards; PDF creates significant barriers for those with disabilities
  • Lack website navigation bars and other tools that might help users move within the information space and relate to the rest of the website. If a user has come through a search engine, how can that visitor easily access other content on the site?
  • 49% of Riverside users access the website through a mobile device – This will use a large amount of data that may cost a customer a significant amount of money  to download a PDF compared to reading a html page on the website 
  • Bad SEO – they can be less than ideal for 508 compliance (images within a PDF can’t be optimised) and you can’t implement structured markup in Google
  • You can’t track PDFs in Google Analytics so we lose page statistics