Thursday, July 17, 2003

Who's right ?

I'm biased against pdf, as it is a pain in the butt. But was checking out what Adobe has to say about Nielson's report. They have not made a good job of replying, instead resorting to cheap tricks and base allegations against Nielson.

Nielson's basic complaint is "A computer screen is not a good way to veiw documents. So use PDF to print it out if you want, but don't force readers to read it online"

Adobe counters that PDF is great for both viewing AND printing, which is crap.

The creator of PDF, in his reply also claims the fault of bad PDF documents lie with the users, not himself :o)

And he goes on to list the zillions of wonderful things you can do with pdf and not with html.

Why can't adobe accept the fact that PDF is excellent for printing, and position it that way ? It is sad they chose to take a stand " PDF is great for everything you can think of ". I expected a more mature response from a company which has created Photoshop, which is a delight to work with.

Nielson suggests the following guidelines for when PDF is used, all of which make good sense to me :

create a 'gateway' HTML page that summarises the PDF file in sufficient detail, including page count and file size, allowing users to decide whether it is worth downloading.

state clearly that the PDF file is for printing only, offering the same content in hypertext

link only to the gateway page from any other part of the website, not to the PDF document

do not let your search engines index the PDF file, instead ensure that the 'gateway' is indexed.

ensure that the PDF is formatted for different sizes of paper, for example both A4 and the 8.5 by 11 used in some countries and professions.


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