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Subject:Re: PDF versus HTML - Not hostile From:Ed Gregory <edgregory -at- home -dot- com> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Sun, 11 Jul 1999 12:02:00 -0500
At 07:44 PM 9/10/99 -0700, Jeanne A. E. DeVoto wrote that using PDF is
hostile to the consumer because it lets the publisher/distributor avoid
paper costs and is "just dumping those costs onto the customer."
Is online help hot because everybody wants to save money on paper, or is it
hot because that's what most users want? (Or, for you skeptics, "are
willing to accept?)
If you have a product for which the users must rely on printed
documentation, then you will continue to them them hard copy as a marketing
decision. If your user surveys determine that most of your customers rely
on the online help instead, why waste the paper and money?
There is some cost-shifting, to be certain. However, most users do not rely
on printed volumes of instructions and help. The big books are becoming
dinosaurs. End users want the product simple enough to use without having
to get a PhD in the product. They want online products that are simple to
use and that include good online help.
If the consumers are less and less likely to use printed docs, then why
kill so many trees and boost the cost of the product?
Customers who want dead trees on their desks can kill the trees themselves.
If you have a product for which the consumers rely heavily on thick printed
documentation, then you might well send them the printed hard copy as a
marketing decision. If your user surveys determine that most of your
customers rely on the online help instead, why waste the paper and money?
Paper can be a large but controllable cost in product delivery. Newspapers
across the country are going to a narrower, more tabloid-looking format.
While they might tell you they are "redesigning to make the news easier to
find and read", they are actually cutting their paper costs by millions
But, I digress.
The point is: any company that uses PDF solely for cost-shifting is cutting
its own throat.