Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Should we allow PDF content on our Intranets?

I recently was asked the the following question about using PDF documents on the Intranet.

Apart from not complying with accessibility requirements (although I hear technology is on the horizon, making PDF files readable) what other reasons are there for not creating PDF links on sites? What is the better alternative?

On our Intranet site we have so many information contributors that it is impossible for me to impose strict formatting rules for content published.

My preference is for HTML, Flash, ASP and other mainstream web formats. However if I was to try and get all contributors to only publish in web friendly formats I would be perpetually training content managers and doing much more information formatting myself. I am also confident that the amount of content contributions would greatly diminish.

I have had to compromise by allowing the contributors to create and publish their information in the format that is easiest for them and their divisions.

Instead I have focussed on training staff across the business to create better optimised PDF, Word and even PowerPoint documents using only compressed images and paying close attention methods of reducing the final file sizes.

We enjoy a very wide bandwidth internally and have minimal problems with viewing these file types over the Intranet.

I would be interested in others views, opinions and solutions to the problem of best Intranet content format that I am sure many have experienced.

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