PDF and electronic document decision tree

Documents appearing on IU websites must be accessible to people with disabilities. If your website includes, or you are considering adding, a PDF or other document to your website, you must make sure the document is accessible. This decision tree will help you decide how to remediate existing and new PDFs and other documents on your websites.

  • Source documents, such as Microsoft Word documents, are generally inherently more accessible than PDFs. You may lose some of that accessibility and create more work for yourself if you make them PDFs.
  • While Indiana University allows the use of Google Apps, they can pose accessibility and privacy issues, do not have an accessibility checker, and can take considerable time for individuals with disabilities to master.

For each PDF or other electronic document on your website, ask these questions:

  • Must the document or its content appear on the website?
    • Yes: Continue.
    • No: Remove the document. If the document must be preserved for legal, fiscal, or historical reasons, consider archiving it in the Archives of Institutional Memory (AIM).
      • Documents that are still in active use should not be archived. As a best practice, documents placed in AIM should first be made accessible.
      • If you place documents in AIM and link to them from your website, you must still make sure the document is accessible.
  • Is the document required to be presented in its current form, such as for legal purposes?
  • Could your document be a webpage?
    • Yes: Create a webpage with actual text to share your information. Avoid posting images of documents. Instead, include actual text on the webpage.
    • No: Continue.
  • Is the document a form?
  • Will the document be updated periodically?
    • Yes: Consider adding your content on a web page instead of in a document.
    • No: Continue.
  • Does your document need to be printed?
  • Is the document primarily text and created as a text document (Microsoft Word)?
    • Yes:
      • When the content of the document can be publicly shared: Add your content to a web page, or share and maintain the original accessible source document. Editing access can be limited in the sharing options in SharePoint.
      • When sharing the document should be limited to a smaller audience, such as a department: Share and maintain the original accessible source document in SharePoint with sharing options restricted.
      • When sharing restrictions are a primary concern: Engage Data Management, the University Information Security Office, and the University Information Policy Office to learn what tools and best security practices you should follow.
    • No: Continue.
  • Was the document created as a PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation?

This is document biog in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2023-10-06 11:27:53.