Daimler : Plentiful PDF hyperlinks

The German vehicle giant makes its sustainability report PDF much easier to navigate by offering a coherent, comprehensive set of embedded links

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The feature

Daimler’s 2016 sustainability report PDF is signposted on the Sustainability landing page of its corporate website.

The first page of the PDF contains a set of panel links to the report’s eight chapters, plus a ‘hamburger’ icon labelled ‘Overview’. On click of this, users are taken to a detailed, clearly presented contents page. This provides links to specific sub-sections of the report. There is also a key in the left column explaining various icons used throughout the report to denote different types of hyperlinks. These include:

  • ‘Home’, leading to the report front page
  • Contents
  • Back
  • Forward
  • Link to material, such as an executive biography, elsewhere on the Daimler web estate
  • Link to another page in either the sustainability report or the accompanying annual report.

Pages throughout the PDF have a website-style primary navigation menu at the top linking to the report’s eight chapters, as well as to ‘home’, contents, page back and page forward. Links to related material on Daimler’s corporate site, and to downloadable CSR performance data, are also provided throughout the report.

The takeaway

Embedding links in PDF reports makes them easier to navigate for the many users who view them on screen rather than print them off. Daimler’s use of hyperlinks is exceptionally effective for two reasons:

First, the links are extremely comprehensive, signposting a wide range of related material both elsewhere in the report, and in various other parts of the company’s online estate.

Second, the links are consistent: users can jump straight to the start of any chapter, or to the contents page, from almost any page in the report. 

One weakness: if the PDF is viewed within a browser rather than in Adobe Acrobat software, links to material outside the PDF open in the same window/tab. This is disorientating.

Overall, however, is an effective approach that could be used to enhance a wide range of investor, CSR and other PDF materials on other corporate web estates. It would be particularly useful in cases where there is no HTML version of the report in question.

First published 17 January, 2018
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