Yeah, I hate Web PDFs too!

PDF files suck, according a wonderful discussion underway on Jeff Jarvis’s Buzzmachine and other sites in the blogosphere. I encourage you to at least read Jeff’s post. I’d like to add my voice as saying I’m with the majority here. Adobe makes great software, and PDFs have their place in shipping documents that need to be PRINTED before reading, but they are a terrible idea when it comes to the Web. Why?

1. They force users into loading Acrobat in order to read them. Acrobat Reader is standard equipment these days, but this extra step — in the name of quality — interferes with the user experience. This is also why I like EyeWonder so much as a video streaming company, regardless of what people think about the technology. I don’t want to have to have anything “load” before I can proceed with “my” experience.

2. PDFs are hard to navigate, and, as such, are hard to scan. They are meant to be printed and scanned. This also interferes with the user experience, which is anathema to the Web.

3. They are clearly top-down when used in Web applications. It is the ego of the publisher that’s interfering with the user experience, and that is so 20th century.

Discussions like these are one of the reasons I love the blogosphere.


  1. If a PDF comes up in a search result, I will not click on it. Acrobat takes forever to load, takes up too much RAM, and the scrolling sucks.

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