September 29th, 2009
Determining how and when to use a PDF on your web site can be tricky. Originally, a PDF was used as a way to view a document regardless of the viewer’s operating system or software used to create the document. It was a way to make a hard copy of a document more accessible. The intent of a PDF wasn’t to convey web content.
But there are times when a PDF is beneficial to use on your web site. Understanding when it’s appropriate and how the audience uses the PDF will help you decide if placing a PDF on your web site is the right thing to do.
To help us with this task we turn to Ginny Redish, renowned usability and web content expert. In today’s UIEtips, we finish the 3 part series from Ginny on breaking up large documents for the web (read part 1 and part 2 if you missed it last week ). This article is based on a chapter in Ginny’s book Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works. In this excerpt, Ginny examines these key areas:
- Should you rely on PDF files for your web content?
- When might a PDF file be appropriate?
- When is a PDF file not appropriate?
- How accessibility plays into the use of PDFs.
We found Ginny’s article to be insightful, and I think you will too.
Is writing and organizing web content one of your responsibilities? At this year’s User Interface 14 conference in Boston, MA, Ginny has a full-day workshop on planning and writing for the web. Her session, on November 1, is sure to be a popular one. Besides talking about the key to a great web site, by starting a conversation with the visitor, she’ll cover selecting and organizing your site’s information, and developing a cohesive content strategy for your site.
Do you use PDFs on your site? How do you determine when to use a PDF? Do you offer the same information on the screen and in a PDF? Share your thoughts below.Tweet