RE: Survey: how do you use PDFs

Subject: RE: Survey: how do you use PDFs
From: "Stephanie Barton" <sbarton -at- newtek -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 8 May 2001 13:37:23 -0500

> So: if you use PDFs, how do you format them? maintaining the
> paper doc metaphor or more for online use?

My company struggles with this issue. They have half-heartedly used PDFs and
prepared them with the paper doc metaphor and the expectation that users may
print them out.

Apparently, though, according to QA our users really hate PDFs. The biggest
complaint that we've had about them is that users want to keep their
software interface up on the screen and not have to toggle between the
software and the PDF. They feel the PDF interferes with their learning
rather than enhances it. So, they're apparently not printing the PDFs.

When I create my PDFs, (and I'm not always the one who creates them, so this
is not a standard for my docs group) I try to make them as full-featured as
possible and I explain how to search them. I build thorough bookmarks, if I
have time I create clickable links within the content, and I change the page
numbering so that it matches the paper document scheme. QA is trying to
convince me veer off of the PDF path and steer more toward a WebHelp system.
I'm actually all for it, but I need to convince the powers that be...

Good luck,



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Survey: how do you use PDFs: From: Becca Price

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