RE: Nielsen's Rating

Subject: RE: Nielsen's Rating
From: "Geoff Lane" <geoff -at- gjctech -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 19:25:12 +0100

Bill Swallow wrote:
> :: PDF is designed for stuff that is going to be printed.
> No, it's not. Sure, it's part of the functionality, but if
> that's it then
> please explain why PDF boasts hypertext, function calls,
> electronic forms,
> and other nifty features for online viewing.
It's an attempt to make PDF viable for online viewing. To some extent, it
works. However:
- PDFs are virtual paper, and most have an aspect ratio the approximate
inverse of most computer screens. Therefore, most PDFs cannot make optimal
use of the available 'real-estate' of most computer screens.
- With PDF, format is entirely controlled by the author. Given the varying
needs of users (from the visually impaired with VGA monitors to those with
20/20 vision and 1800 x 1600 resolution) it is usually impossible to meet
the onscreen requirements of the entire audience.

> :: HTML is a *good* way to break free of hardware and software
> :: constraints imposed by the computer industry, ie, use MY
> product or
> :: else you can't communicate with anyone else.
> How so? You're still requiring a browser, and depending how
> your Web content
> is marked up, you may even be limiting which browsers are
> compliant. Some
> web pages are even browser-make specific, if not browser
> make-and-model
> specific.
As with PDF, you must exercise care when creating your document. FWIW, all
my computers can display HTML, albeit as text-only in one case. However, two
of my computers cannot display PDF, either because there is no viewer
available or because the display is text-only. In short, HTML is more
universal than PDF (most OS distributions contain a browser, but few contain
a PDF reader).

> :: FWIW, I've seen just as many "unreadable" printed materials as
> :: "unreadable" onscreen ones. And if you are suggesting
> that PDFs are
> :: "readable" onscreen, I'd like to know what you are drinking. Or
> :: smoking. ;-)
> Have you visited at all?
I just did. The first PDF that I viewed was unreadable until I maximised my
browser and zoomed in. IMO, that was an example of why not to use PDF

> People, PLEEEAASSE validate your arguments. There are
> hundreds of people out
> there probably gobbling this info up as they venture into
> online publishing
> or look to fine tune their processes. Let's not feed
> misinformation back
> into the community!

FWIW, as a writer, I'm a fan of PDF -- it makes my life much easier; as a
reader, I hate PDF for online use and agree with Mr Nielsen. My vote goes to
use PDF by all means, but offer HTML or other online-optimised format as

Have fun,

Geoff Lane
Cornwall, UK
geoff -at- gjctech -dot- co -dot- uk


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RE: Nielsen's Rating: From: Swallow, William

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