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7.4 File Formats

Documents form a very important and significant component of Government websites. Indian Government Websites should therefore provide access to documents in appropriate File Formats that are based on open standards and do not impose an unnecessary burden of downloading or acquiring specific software on the intended audience.

When choosing file format(s), Departments should consider: Intended use of the material Frequency of use, Accessibility of the format and Level of effort and time required to convert the material to the specific format.

File formats for different forms of content are discussed below:

7.4.1 Graphics & Multimedia files

  1. Sites should have image and graphic components in JPEG, PNG and GIF formats and the same should be compressed without losing on visual quality as far as possible, to allow faster downloads.
  2. Multiple graphic images at the server may be used (such as providing a thumbnail image with a link to a higher resolution graphic) to make the site more usable even for low bandwidth connections.
  3. Departments may use Web and multimedia technologies to enhance sites, on the condition that all elements are accessible.

7.4.2 Documents

  1. Government websites shall have a lot of information in the form of documents such as Acts, Rules, Schemes, Gazettes, Forms, Circulars and Notifications. Accessibility and usability of these documents by all citizens is as important as that of the entire website. Departments MUST either use HTML format or any other format that makes the document accessible. In case documents are published in a format other than HTML format, departments MUST provide a link to the website from where the document reader can be downloaded free of cost.
  2. When the document has been provided in a format other than HTML, websites should include a text description of the document, including the title, file type, file size, and effective date. This will ensure that visitors have a reasonable understanding of what to expect when they view the document.
  3. When the document has been provided in a format other than HTML, websites should include a text description of the document, including the title, file type, file size, and effective date. This will ensure that visitors have a reasonable understanding of what to expect when they view the document. The document should be properly tagged and should not contain scanned images of text (Ref. 6.6.1).This will ensure that the document is accessible to screen reader users (refer guidelines website web.guidelines.gov.in for details).