Have you ever uploaded a PDF to your website instead of creating a web page? While it may seem like a way to save time, PDFs should be used sparingly. Here’s why.
- Most PDFs are not accessible. This means visitors using assistive technology, like a screen reader, cannot easily access your content.
- HTML pages are better for search engine optimization (SEO) than PDFs. Search engines don’t crawl PDFs the same way they crawl web pages, which makes it harder for people to find the content within your PDF.
When to Use a PDF
Occasionally, you might decide to upload a PDF to your website. Here are some examples of when a PDF might be appropriate:
- Forms that require a signature or multiple signatures
- Documents in a foreign language
- A course syllabus intended to be printed by a student
- Event flyers intended to be printed and distributed. (Information about an event should also be featured on your website! The flyer should not be the only source of information.)
- Long documents like training manuals
What You Need to Do
- Evaluate how your site uses PDFs. Be intentional using the examples above as guidance.
- Convert PDF content to web content (HTML pages) whenever possible.
- Delete PDFs that are not being used by checking Relationships and removing old content.
- Make sure any PDF being used on your site is accessible. Visit the Web Accessibility website to learn more.
Note: Any PDF used in the responsive web templates must be accessible. Accessibility training for all editors will coincide with your website migration.
A Note on Accessibility
Brandeis University is committed to providing information on the web that is available to all people, regardless of physical or developmental abilities or impairments. Read our full Accessibility Statement or sign up for Accessibility Training (mandatory for all web editors using the responsive templates).