‘PDF: Unfit for human consumption’

I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like the format. On Mac OS X, by default, when you want to view a PDF on the web, you have to download it to the disk and open it with Preview or Acrobat. You can enable Quicktime to display PDF files in Safari, but it will only display the first page. There’s the PDF Browser Plugin that is slow even on my Powerbook, and has big useability bugs.

What Jakob Nielsen doesn’t mention is how complicated it is to edit PDFs. I have a lecturer who puts all his lecture notes online, in PDF, in Comic Sans. Uugh. And there is (almost – pdftohtml) no easy, quick way of converting all that to XHTML and display it in Lucida Grande or Gill Sans, as I do with those awful Powerpoint “Presentations”.

Why can’t lecturers publish their slides in a readable format? What’s wrong with HTML?

3 thoughts on “‘PDF: Unfit for human consumption’”

  1. Having worked once in the university setting with faculty networks & software training, I agree that simple HTML formats is by far the best direction to go for class content posted to the web. Today’s web software makes it easier than working with the brainless ‘Word’ to create layouts for content. Why must one have a specific brand of software when it could be used through a simple browser?

  2. I’m currently using Safari 2, and I have no problem viewing PDF documents in my browser window, thanks to Safari’s inline pdf. It shows me the whole pdf doc, not only the first page…

  3. I agree with you 100%. Pdf’s great for printing. On screen it’s shit. As for powerpoint and its shitty clip art… it sincerely makes me want to vomit.

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