Opinion: Page (1) of 2 - 10/17/01 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page facebook

To PDF or Not to PDF, Readers Respond

One expert's point of view as to why PDFs are needed on your website By DMN Staff Writer
We had a lot of feedback regarding an article in last week's issue of KNews, "Six Tips for Improving Your Websites." by Denise Harrison. We also had some folks posting about it on the User Forum.

Some agreed; some didn't. Here is one letter which did a great job of stating the case for keeping PDFs on Websites.


Dear Kayye News/Presentation Master,


We receive your weekly newsletter at our office and I always enjoy reading it. You truly keep on top of the industry's news and offer very insightful and valuable tips to integrators, large and small. Gary Kayye and company do an excellent job with their weekly columns.

I am writing today, however, regarding Denise Harrison's "Six Tips for Improving your Websites" as published 10/11/01. As a web designer since 1995 and an A/V professional since 1997, I agree with all of her points, save one.

In tip #4, she writes, "Make your product brochures Webpages, not pdf files. I know it's easier and somewhat high tech to put your brochures up on the Web as pdf files either for downloading or for opening in Adobe Acrobat. But there are two problems with this. First, if your dealer is at a customer site discussing different product options, he or she might want to pull up the brochure on the Web. What if the customer hasn't downloaded Acrobat? It's definitely a possibility. You don't want your dealer having to take the customer time installing a new computer program on their system which they may not have even wanted. Second, pdf turns product photos to mush. If you want to show off how good your product looks, or If you want the reader to see details, pdf is a bad choice. Have someone take the time to format Web pages of your brochures that match the design instead of using pdf."

The use of PDF files on manufacturer web sites is more than just an "easy, high-tech" option. It is a downright necessity in our industry, especially for smaller integrators. Our industry changes specs and products so quickly, it is often impossible to have an entire file of up-to-date glossies to include with proposals, or use as submittals, or what have you. While PDF files do not provide the best possible image [as in a glossy brochure], they do provide the best, quickest and easiest way of accessing product info for our clients - whether we email it, print it for hardcopy or burn to CD with a copy of the [free] Acrobat Reader program. Many times, I've jumped online to snag a PDF for a new product or a changed spec in just a few minutes. And at least one of our major contracts told us that the CD-with-PDFs format of our proposal tipped the scales between our company and another who simply emailed a proposal without specs [in an e-bid situation]. As a result, I have been urging all of the manufacturers we deal with to provide an inclusive section of downloadable PDFs.

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Related Keywords:PDFs, presentationmaster, improving websites

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