Have you ever wondered why we recommend HTML web pages more than PDFs or other digital formats for our CAES and UGA Extension websites? It’s not just a preference; it’s about making sure everyone can access our awesome content with ease!

While PDFs have long been a staple for sharing documents online, there are compelling reasons why HTML web pages reign supreme, especially when it comes to accessibility and user experience.

Accessibility: Ensuring Inclusivity

Accessibility lies at the heart of the web’s mission—to make information available to all, regardless of ability. HTML web pages offer superior accessibility features compared to PDF documents. Here’s why:

Easier to Make Accessible

To create accessible HTML web pages, our content managers need basic knowledge about web accessibility. We offer a self-paced Web Accessibility course to make this easily available to all CAES and UGA Extension web content managers.

Screen Reader Friendly

HTML is like a best friend to screen readers, making our web pages a breeze to navigate for folks with visual impairments. PDFs? Not so much. They often trip up screen readers, leaving some of our users out of the loop.

Responsive Design (Fits Any Screen)

HTML web pages adapt seamlessly to any screen size, giving everyone the best view, whether you’re on a laptop, table or phone. PDFs, however, are static in nature and may not display optimally on smaller screens, posing usability challenges for mobile users.

Easy to Understand

HTML’s structured like a well-organized bookshelf, making it super easy for everyone to find what they need. But PDFs? They’re more like a messy pile of papers. It’s hard to find anything in there!

Text-to-Speech Conversion

With HTML, we can easily turn text into speech for those who prefer listening. PDFs, unfortunately, don’t always play nice with text-to-speech (TTS) technology, limiting accessibility for certain user groups.

User Experience: Enhancing Accessibility and Usability

Beyond accessibility considerations, HTML web pages offer a host of benefits for enhancing user experience:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

HTML content is more easily indexable by search engines, improving the discoverability of CAES and UGA Extension web pages. This is crucial for attracting prospective students, faculty, and stakeholders searching for relevant information online.

Navigation and Context

HTML pages have consistent navigation and other interface elements that help users maintain context and move through digital content with speed and ease. The inability to navigate quickly takes a toll on users when finding information becomes challenging and time consuming.

Multimedia Integration

HTML supports seamless integration of multimedia elements, such as videos, audio clips, and interactive graphics. This multimedia-rich environment enhances engagement and comprehension, catering to diverse learning styles and preferences.

Easier to Update

HTML web pages can be updated in a snap, ensuring that users always have access to the latest information and announcements. This real-time updating capability fosters transparency and trust within the University community.

Faster Load Time

HTML pages tend to load faster than large PDFs due to their smaller file sizes, simpler structure, more efficient rendering process, and better caching capabilities. However, it’s important to optimize both HTML pages and PDFs to ensure optimal performance and user experience.

Need More Guidance?

For those looking to deepen their understanding of creating accessible web content, explore our Accessibility & Section 508 Articles, or contact the CAES Web Team if you have any questions.

We recommend these accessibility courses!

Web Accessibility for Content Managers

This self-paced course is required for all current and new CAES and UGA Extension website content managers. Web accessibility is a fundamental principle of inclusion and equal opportunity.

PDF Accessibility

This self-paced course is available to all CAES and UGA Extension faculty and staff. If you distribute digital PDF documents on a website, by email, over social media, or any other digital means, this course is for you.