Rules on publishing documents and PDFs in HTML first

Website content needs to be HTML by default. However, there are exceptions for when Word or PDF documents are accepted.

Content needs to be HTML by default.

A special template will be created for HTML booklets/reports of at least 4 pages. 

If the booklet/report is less than 4 pages, 1-2 content pages will be sufficient.

The HTML template will have a particular focus on being print friendly but all pages will be print friendly so PDFs are no longer needed as a requirement for printing.

The following content types must not be created as PDFs:

  • speeches
  • newsletters
  • fact sheets
  • grant guidelines
  • video transcripts
  • forms - see our Digital Standards forms page

Exceptions for not designing digital-first content

The exceptions to this are PDFs that are specifically for print

  • annual reports
  • promotional posters
  • activity sheets

Enough alt text will need to be added so it's clear for vision-impaired users about the content of the document.

Where activity sheets or templates require the user to fill in extra information on a computer, Word documents should be used.

To create accessible documents - see: Designing accessible Word and PDF documents

If the audience is a niche audience and user interviews indicate that print documents are preferred, an exception can be applied for with the Director of Digital Engagement. Content for the general public must always be published as html.

Migrating PDFs and Word documents

If a document already exists but is not accessible, we'll bring it across to SDP if:

  • it's an essential tool for someone to carry out their work or deal with government
  • there is inaccuracy of content e.g. broken links
  • there have been less than 50 views in a year
  • it is more than 5 years old and no longer has any relevance to the current policy and programs of government

And the PDF isn't essential, we will not migrate to the new site.

If the content owner wishes to keep the PDF it will be their responsibility to create a HTML alternative and update or recreate the PDF to be accessible.

Where it is an essential tool and the content owner doesn't have the time or resources to deliver an accessible alternative then an agreed remediation/review date will be set in the system.

Reviewed 14 February 2020

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