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When is a Web not a Web

When it is no longer made up of web pages, that’s when.

The web and our intranet is made up of html web pages, it is the interlinking of web pages that creates a ‘web’.

Web pages are the ideal medium to communicate written and graphical information; yet, there are times when other file formats are needed on the web.

  • Microsoft Office Documents:
    Word and Excel files might be published on our intranet when there are Forms and Templates to distribute.
  • PDFs:
    might be published when official documents need distributing. PDFs are designed for perfect printing and reasonable screen reading.

The usefulness of the intranet is damaged when PDFs and Word documents are published when not needed.

Before publishing a PDF or a Word file, ask yourself; “is this for printing, or is this for reading online?” If it’s for reading, the information should be published as a normal web page.

Damage

How people use the intranet is important; as publishers, we are not the most important people! Our readers are.

By publishing a PDF or a Word document when a web page would be more suitable, we create more work for the reader, we may find that PDFs of Word documents slow their computers down, which, while not terrible, is frustrating when they clicked a link expecting a super-fast web page to show.

Let Them Know

When publishing a PDF or other file, let people know, show them that it is a PDF and tell them how big it is.

Don’t use normal hyperlinks; people expect hyperlinks to link to other web pages, that’s a fact.

Example:

Download the Case Study [PDF: 640KB], for more information.

Never: Read the Case Study for more information.

And NEVER: Click here for the Case Study.

About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.

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