Information Technology Policies and Standards
|Portable Document Format|
|Purpose & Commitment to Quality Policy|
To Be Reviewed
|Applies to all official City of Albuquerque websites.|
|The Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf) is appropriate when a document is to be printed by the user. |
Acceptable scenarios include:
- A form that is to be completed by the user and mailed back to the City
- Documents requiring digital signatures
- Documents whose intended usage is offline reading by users (e.g. teaching resources, neighborhood newsletters, Transit Bus Schedules)
- Documents intended to be printed and/or displayed (e.g. public notices, some event fliers, Zone and Address Atlas Maps)
- Legal documents such as:
- Council Resolutions
- Executive Orders
- Legal Reports (e.g. sector plans)
- Purchasing Documents (e.g. RFP's, contracts, invoices)
When to Make and Use a PDF
PDF's are meant for print. You should only use a PDF if:
- The content you want to add is a form you would like people to be able to print, fill out, sign and send in to you. if the form doesn't require a written signature, we can create an online form instead. Users type in their information and it is automatically emailed to you and/or stored in a database.
- The content is a long document. It can be difficult to read long documents on a computer screen. Good examples of this include long reports or legislation.
- The document is meant to be printed and posted on a wall, or read away from the computer.
Unacceptable scenarios include:
- Replacement of content that could otherwise be rendered as HTML. Content should be posted as a web page using Plone or Contribute
- Replacement of content to ensure document layout. Content should be posted as a web page using the standard City template in Plone or Contribute.
- PDF's of event fliers, meeting agendas and department descriptions with no corresponding web page. Content should be posted as a web page using Plone or Contribute
PDFs must always be compressed as far as possible without losing quality in an effort to reduce file size.
PDF links must include a PDF icon and link to the City PDF disclaimer as follows:
Example: Neighborhood News April 2005
Contribute users should refer to Contribute Tips to learn how to insert the PDF image. Plone users should note that the PDF image is automatically inserted when the file shortname has a .pdf extension.
When a PDF exceeds 500k in size, developers should think carefully to make sure that there is no other way of rendering the document before putting it out on the web. Possible strategies for dealing with large documents include:
- Breaking the document into smaller PDF
’s. This might be on a per chapter basis, or per subject as understood by the user. If a document is split into smaller sections, then the full document must also be available as a single download for easy printing.
- Minimize the number of images. Wherever possible, text should be embedded as text and not as binary content such as images. In other words, it is generally inappropriate to scan in a document containing large amounts of text as an image and then convert it directly to a PDF.
No assumptions shall be made concerning the availability of resources such as fonts on a client device. These extra resources must be embedded within the PDF.
|PDF's are large, inaccessible and inappropriate for most types of information. These files can take up substantial amounts of space and take time to download and open. In most cases, the information that departments post in PDF format should be posted as a regular web page so that the information is:
- Readily available to Google Search
311 agents and citizens use Google search to find information on cabq.gov. When you put information in a PDF, you hide it from Google search, which hides it from 311 and citizens.
- Easily Accessible
When you put information in a PDF, you require a user to open a separate piece of software to get that information. What of they don't have Acrobat Reader? They can't get your information. What if their computer is too old or slow to run Adobe Reader? They give up and can't get to your information.
When you put information in a PDF, you remove it from Google Analytics. We can no longer tell how many people are visiting that information or what search terms they're using to find it.
If you are interested in reading more about PDF's, these articles are a nice starting place:
Two articles by Jakob Nielsen, usability expert:
|Contact: Mark T. Leech, (505) 768-3731|