Design of online documents?

Subject: Design of online documents?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com, HSC Italian <twins398 -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 2004 09:28:24 -0500

Heidi, a frustrated soul, wondered: <<When a document is delivered in .pdf format on a CD to the end-user, should the template be designed for online viewing or print?>>

Yes, and yes. <g> You can only get to the real answer if you ask the following questions: What do the users intend to do with the PDF: print it, or read it onscreeen? Notwithstanding what the users _intend_ to do with the PDF, what will they _actually_ end up doing with it? What goal is the PDF intended to serve: to save us from printing a manual, or to provide something that's usable online? Answer those questions and you have your answer.

<<Currently, all but one of our document types are delivered in .pdf format on a CD. Contrary to what I've been taught over the years, I'm being told that documents delivered in .pdf format need to be designed primarily for the printout the end-user will ultimately print. My experience in this field has taught me that online documents need to be treated as an online document, with the use of color, links, et cetera.>>

Sometimes you can do both. If you design the PDFs to fit a standard letter-sized page in _landscape_ format, with ample margins and large type, it will work tolerably well on the screen, yet can still be printed. Will it work _really well_ for either use? Not without heroic design effort. But this approach sometimes offers an acceptable compromise when the answer to your question is "some will print, some will read online" and you don't have time or resources to produce a great document in two different formats.

--Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)


Design of online documents: From: HSC Italian

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