File size and audience analysis

Subject: File size and audience analysis
From: "D. Margulis" <ampersandvirgule -at- WORLDNET -dot- ATT -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 15:16:58 -0500

Having moved last year, I did not receive my 1040 in the mail (yes I
even sent the IRS a change-of-address notice). And my final W-2 just
caught up with me today. Okay, time to download the PDFs from the IRS
and print them.

Downloading wasn't too bad. But I was watching the instruction booklet
spool to my PostScript printer and Page 1 (nice, user-friendly,
well-conceived piece of artwork) occupied 2.36 MB of the 3.33 MB spool
file. It took forever to print that one page. Millions (okay, maybe tens
of thousands) of individuals will download and print that file and waste
thousands of hours because the person who prepared the PDFs for the IRS
website did not have enough--what? time? training? experience? tool
knowledge?--to substitute compressed art.

Did someone in the publications department of the IRS consider who the
audience is for their downloadable files? Did they make it easy to find
the form you need on their site (some of the states do a more credible
job of that)?

Here's an opportunity for some of you document designers who like
working with the Federal Government to get a bid in on a project for
next year. Go for it!


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