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Jakob Nielsen Column -- PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption

From: William R Williams <wrwilliams@fs.fed.us>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 16:16:45 -0700
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFF44B36B5.A5ECECED-ON88256D87.007ED2C5@r5.fs.fed.us>

The title gets your attention, huh? I cannot believe that I missed his
column from mid-July:


I don't mean to stir up another raging debate on PDFs but do wish to get to
the bottom on the usability/accessibility issues of this format for web
presentation, as I have seen more problemmatic PDFs than I care to think
of. Yet, everyone wants to PDF for the web. Nielson is clear in stating an

"PDF is great for one thing and one thing only: printing documents. Paper
is superior to computer screens in many ways, and users often prefer to
print documents that are too long to easily read online."

"For online reading, however, PDF is the monster from the Black Lagoon. It
puts its clammy hands all over people with a cruel grip that doesn't let

Is anyone willing to agree or disagree with this stance? Can anyone, as
users, report definite problems with rendering PDF files?


Bill Williams
Received on Saturday, 23 August 2003 08:06:59 UTC

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