Re: Frame 5.5 and PDF

Subject: Re: Frame 5.5 and PDF
From: Jean Weber <jean_weber -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 22:58:46 -0400

Emma Heftman <emma -at- amil -dot- co -dot- il> wrote:
>As a follow-up to my Frame->Word thread, I think I've managed to
persuade management that PDF is the way ahead for document
distribution.<

and Gail Gurman <gail -at- HOMEMAIL -dot- COM> added:
>we (the Lead Writer and I) are hoping to convince our manager to
allow us to drop the HTML in favor of PDF, but his argument is that,
if we distribute HTML, users can just use their browser; PDF
requires downloading Acrobat Reader.<

The main consideration should be what's best for your users.
Downloading Acrobat Reader is a relatively trivial (though annoying)
problem. A much more important one is whether your users will be
able to read the PDFs easily.

Are all (or the vast majority) of them likely to have equipment that
will display PDFs so the font is big enough to read? Do your users
all have large (17" or greater) monitors, or do some use laptops?
Many working professionals use a laptop as their primary
machine, and it's usually very difficult to read a PDF on a laptop
screen (nor are these users likely to have a printer handy all
the time). They will be unhappy users.

Then there are the vision-impaired. In my office I have a 17" screen,
but my eyesight is bad so I normally display everything in a large font
that I can read easily. In many cases, such as PDFs, this means I
have to scroll horizontally as well as vertically to read the page.
So I either don't bother, or I print it out. I will be an unhappy user.

If you provide the document in HTML (with no fancy stuff that forces
a specific page width), I can enlarge the font and the text will wrap
to fit my screen. I will be a happy user.

OTOH, Gail mentioned having "lots of graphics." Depending on
their displayed size, these may cause a scrolling problem in HTML
just as they would in PDF. In this case there might be no real
advantage to the user in having the book in HTML, unless you made
some provision for, say, hyperlinking the graphics instead of having
them load and display automatically where they appear in the text.
(That would also mean your text loads faster, another advantage.)

Jean Weber
Sydney, Australia
jean_weber -at- compuserve -dot- com

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