I love PDF…Jakob Nielsen doesn’t

ALBUM_TEN_TOP_TRENDS_2004Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) has made a big difference in the publishing business of my bride’s company, Marketing Directions, Inc.. Her firm keeps companies a step ahead with a full line of print products, color forecasts and consulting services targeted specifically to the home furnishings industry and PDF has proved to be a material part of her published output.

Over the last two years, innovation in providing clients what they need, when they need it, and as quickly as possible (trend information has a short shelf life) has become moreimportant than ever. It became clear during this time that alternatives were necessary to meet these client needs. Searching for a “publishing container” (other than print) that would be cross platform, look great, be easy to produce and have a low cost of goods, PDF was the only publishing medium that met all these criteria. Her Trend Albumsâ„¢ were born and delivered on CD-ROM. Accelerating sales were the result and clients clamored for them.

So imagine my agitation when self-appointed “user interface, usability” guru, Dr. Jakob Nielsen, decided that he’d dub PDF
Unfit for Human Consumption and did so quite publically.

I sent him off a note (by the way I’ve received no response…ever)and ended up communicating with the editor of PlanetPDF, a site Ifrequent. Apparently Nielsen had hit A LOT of people’s hot buttons and he was eager to reprint my letter to Nielsen as he — and many PlanetPDF readers — shared my upset with Nielsen’s characterization of PDF as a viable publishing medium.

Read my letter to Dr. Nielsen and the Planet PDF writeup “PDF: Fit for Human Consumption if designed properly”.

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  1. Marc Leury on December 18, 2004 at 12:03 pm

    Had the same experience with PDF. It’s all about how you design it, not that it is PDF.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.