Re: Nonstandard HTML

Subject: Re: Nonstandard HTML
From: Chet Ensign <Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- NOTES -dot- WORLDCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 11:10:48 -0500

David Blyth writes:

> I'll even agree that PDF is really A Good Thing that's quite useful in
> all sorts of situations. But alas, PDF is not used much on the Web.

> A) As Chet points out, you can't do development work with PDF. You
> can with HTML.

> B) People are choosing not to _read_ PDF much either via the Web, even
> when they can (and I don't know why not, except PDF is viewed as slow).

I hope nobody gets the idea that I'm opposed to PDF. It is a great
accomplishment on Adobe's part and there are certainly places where it is by
far the best way to deliver a document. The PDF versions of IRS forms on their
Web site came in extremely handy this year.... unfortunately.

At many of the sites I'm involved in, we are making PDF versions of source
documents available as an option for viewing and downloading. And I really
believe that's one of the beauties of the Web -- you can put info up in a
variety of forms and let your users take advantage of it whatever way they
want.

But I myself almost never use PDF if the text version of the material is there
because in the role of information consumer I don't really care what the
document looks like.

I know, I know. This is anathema. And as a writer, it gets under my skin, too.
But as a **reader** I have to say that 9 times out of 10 I don't how the
content looks, I just care about finding the paragraph that tells me how to
change the font mappings in the graphics configuration file and I want to find
it **right now!** My browser is permanently set with in-line graphics off and I
only installed the Adobe PDF viewer on April 13th.... unfortunately.

Friend of mine did a survey for a client company where he asked the publishers
to rate various aspects of documentation in terms of what they thought was
important to their customers. The aspects were things like timeliness,
accuracy, completeness, brand identity and attractive presentation. Then he
asked the customers to rate how important those aspects were to them. **Then**
he asked the customers to rate them in terms of what they thought the
publishing folks thought was important.

Well, the pubs people figured that timeliness and accuracy et al were more
important than presentation to the customers. And the customers confirmed that.
But the customers said that they believed presentation and branding was more
important to pubs folks than timeliness or accuracy or completeness. Because
they were always having problems with those areas, but the books always looked
great. Just something for us all to ponder on.

Best regards,

/chet

Chet Ensign
Logical Design Solutions
465 South Street http://www.lds.com
Morristown, NJ 07960 censign -at- lds -dot- com [email]
201-971-0100 [Phone] 201-971-0103 [FAX]

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