Downloads on the Branding Site: When do you use a PDF vs. JPG?

The UF/IFAS Communications (ICS) branding website houses many PDF and JPG downloads. ICS provides items like infographics, flyers, posters, factsheets, and cards for you to download and use in emails, social media, print, and more. It is best to use the PDF version when printing, as that is a higher-quality file. When using them digitally, you must do so in an ADA-compliant way. This article will tell you how to follow ADA compliance in various digital uses when using files downloaded from the UF/IFAS Branding website. Note that PDF files posted to the Branding website before 2020 are not ADA-compliant as we just began learning the process to do so that year.

What is the Difference Between a PDF and a JPG in Terms of ADA Compliance?

ADA-compliant PDFs are files that a screen reader can read aloud. Some things we consider when making files for screen readers include reading order, color contrast, descriptive hyperlinks, and image alternative text. These things and more will assist the reader in understanding the content provided.

JPG files are not ADA-compliant because each is a single image; screen readers will not recognize any text or images on the file. It is best to provide ADA-compliant PDFs to read the information on files that contain text rather than placing alternative text on the JPGs. Read below for more details on this.

When and How to use JPGs and PDFs

Email: place the JPG in the body of an email and then attach the ADA-compliant PDF to the email.

Social Media: There are multiple options that you can choose from when posting JPGs on social media to create ADA compliance.

  1. For simple graphics and images, add alternative text in the description. You would do this for simple graphics or pictures only.
  2. Each platform has a different amount of character limits for the alternative text. For example, the character limits for a few popular social media platforms are below:
  • Twitter allows for 1,000 characters,
  • LinkedIn allows for 256 characters, and
  • Facebook and Instagram allow for 100 characters.
  1. For complex images, add a hyperlink in the post text that directs the viewer to the PDF version of the piece. Adding the link takes the reader a PDF they can download and listen to using a screen reader.

Hopefully, this article has given you some clarity on using PDFs versus JPGs when you download items from the UF/IFAS branding website:

For information on writing alt text, check out this blog:

For more information about adding alt text to images on social media platforms, watch this video (from 4:58 to 25:06) put together by UF’s social media specialist:


Posted: March 2, 2023

Category: , UF/IFAS Communications, UF/IFAS Graphics
Tags: ADA Compliance, Graphics, Infographics, Social Media

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