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 Comment

  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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