HTML vs PDF for online manuals - more details

Subject: HTML vs PDF for online manuals - more details
From: Melissa Kucbel-Saumier <melissaks -at- eicon -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 10:04:14 -0400

Hello and good morning to all!

When I posted my question about studies on customer preferences
between PDF and HTML for online manuals, I dod not expect to
start a war... I read all the posts this morning and realized I
probably didn't make myself clear when I wrote the original

It may have sound that I am against HTML or am reluctant to change
to this format. This is not the case. I have created HTML Help and
Web pages, I am familiar with many HTML editors and our technical
writing team has all the tools to create both PDF and HTML Help
(or plain HTML) documentation. Also, it is not an issue of choosing
between printed and online: we provide our customers with printed
manuals such as Installation Guides when needed, but we also
provide more in depth information in an online format
(currently, PDF).

What I really meant to find out is if anyone knew studies
(usability, customer surveys) or articles that evaluated customer
preferences for one type of online manual. If HTML "books" are what
customers prefer, than we are ready to make the change. However,
our team is reluctant to embrace this format for a number of
reasons (many of which were brought up by list members).

Thanks again.
Mélissa Kucbel-Saumier
Technical Publications - Eicon Technology
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
melissaks -at- eicon -dot- com

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