Re: Adobe PDF as Web solution (was: PageMaker to HTML)

Subject: Re: Adobe PDF as Web solution (was: PageMaker to HTML)
From: Shmuel Ben-Artzi <sba -at- NETMEDIA -dot- NET -dot- IL>
Date: Thu, 1 Aug 1996 18:08:17 +0200


>I would love to use PDF as a delivery method for the web, but only about
>20 percent of my customers use Macs and only about half of those have
>systems powerful enough to retrieve PDF files over the web. That leave
>about 90 percent of my customers unserved by this approach.

>My $ 0.02. Joe

The point that you raise here goes to the heart of a lot of decisions that
must be made before starting out to design a web site. Boiled down to its
bare essentials, it addresses the first two questions which every
communicator (oral or written) must ask themself before preparing their work:
1) What is the makeup of my target audience?
2) How will they perceive (in this case, see on their monitors) what I am
going to present?

In your case, it's a platform issue. Do you create the site for the 80% and
risk losing the 20%? Do you write for both platforms? Budget and time
constraints will play a significant role in the second decision.

In other situations, you might have to decide whether to go with a graphical
site, with a text-only site, or with a combined site with some or all pages
mirrored for both text-capable and text-impaired browsers. Now why would
anyone choose a text-only solution? What if the bulk of your audience
conisisted of college professors who were receiving their Internet access
through old non-graphics web servers ported straight out of Bitnet with only
minimal bandwidth?

The same questions must be asked all over again with regard to using forms,
frames, animation and a host of other items that are not handled well (if at
all) by certain browsers. What percentage of my aduience uses browsers that
can deal with this feature? Am I willing to create something that the
remaining percentage will not see to best advantage? Am I (read this: "Is my
boss or client...") willing to put in the additional effort to mirror part
or all of the site to accommodate the differences?

Easy choices? No. But definitely part of the thought process that musy
preceed the development of any masterpiece of technical communication.


Shmuel Ben-Artzi
sba -at- netmedia -dot- net -dot- il

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