RBC : Laying tracks around a PDF

Royal Bank of Canada has installed a simple but effective navigation system in its corporate citizenship report.

click to view

The feature

Royal Bank of Canada's Corporate Citizenship Report is a 79-page PDF document reached from the 'Community and Sustainability' section of rbc.com. 
The report has a left menu on most pages, allowing users to click straight to another area. Most of these sections also have sub-sections, which appear in another menu immediately to the right of the main one. 
The report does not have clickable links – for example on the contents page – and like other PDFs is hard to read or use on a mobile phone screen.

The takeaway

RBC's relative sophistication in the PDF will come as a welcome surprise to those who have arrived from the main site, much of which is a throwback to the old times (the 'Community and Sustainability' section is not even responsive). However being old-fashioned sometimes works well – especially if it means applying tried and trusted left menus to notoriously hard-to-navigate PDFs. 
The lack of clickable links makes little sense in a document whose URL declares it to be an 'e-pdf', and there is not much that can be done (for now) about the lack of usability on a small screen. Nevertheless, as a simple idea designed to tackle a common problem, the PDF menu is refreshing.
First published 13 June, 2018
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