Re: Electronic books/PDF drawbacks

Subject: Re: Electronic books/PDF drawbacks
From: beth_staats -at- ARTISOFT -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 1996 13:50:13 MTN

Tech writers,
At first we thought Adobe Acrobat was really neat, but I should tell
you about the conclusions we've drawn from our last big project.

We provided a bunch of detailed reference files in Adobe Acrobat PDF
format on a CD and also posted them on our BBS, the WWW, FTP and
CompuServe for downloading by users who don't have a CD-ROM drive.
We've heard these complaints from users:

- The PDF files aren't linked to each other, or to any other online
info. Sometimes when I want to search for a topic, I end up
repeating that process in each of the PDF docs. This is really
inconvenient. I want all the online docs linked so I can search
just once.

- I don't have a CD-ROM drive so I tried to download. The Reader itself
took a very long time to download, which bothered me. And then each of
the files took too long to download. I don't like this.

- PDF files take too long to navigate online. All the pauses waste my time.
My machine is too slow or something. I might as well print them out.

As a result of these comments, we've decided never again to give users
files in PDF format ONLY. Chances are we'll move everything into HTML so
that all docs can be searched at once. Meanwhile, we're putting the same
info we have in those PDF files into:
> TXT files for DOS users
> the Windows online Help
We hope that giving people three choices of documentation sources
(in addition to the printed manuals) will help for now.

Positive comments: PDF files print out beautifully, and they're fun to
navigate online if you have the time.

Beth in Tucson
bstaats -at- artisoft -dot- com

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