Re: what doc formats do READERs want ?

Subject: Re: what doc formats do READERs want ?
From: "Dana Worley (MVP/JB)" <dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 09:10:37 -0700

Who says we don't want giant PDFs? :-P

Really, it depends upon the type of document. Help file for an application? No, I don't want a PDF, I want a well-designed, context sensitive help file. A complete reference manual for a product? If it's a large document, I LOVE having it in PDF format -- very easy to navigate, search, and scan.

It's all about choosing the "right tool for the job", but without any idea of what the job is, I don't think the tool can be recommended.

Dana W.

On 12:59 PM, Monique Semp wrote:

Hello, writers,

I’ve certainly been following the trends for authoring docs – Wikis, DITA, single-sourcing, all kinds of tools, etc. – but I’ve been asked a very good question: what are the trends from the audience’s (reader’s) perspective?

That is, we can generally state with confidence that users don’t want to read giant PDF docs, but... what do they like more? Do they like HTML pages (whether in a wiki or just as HTML output or HTML help)? Do they like more traditional Help systems? Will they want to dispense with reading and just watch videos?

I can find all sorts of info about the advantages and disadvantages of all sorts of possible doc types, but I’m not sure where to go to find out what the users will be looking for now, next year, and in 5 years...

Where would you recommend I look for actual metrics? Or certainly feel free to share anecdotes!


Campbell Scientific, Inc.
Product Manager, Software Products
Microsoft Help MVP 2002-2012
Jester's Baubles Fused Glass Designs


Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help.
Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-
To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-leave -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our online magazine at

Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our public email archives @


what doc formats do READERs want ?: From: Monique Semp

Previous by Author: Effective planning for Help documentation: What can we learn from the user?
Next by Author: Re: Need a little help in wording
Previous by Thread: RE: what doc formats do READERs want ?
Next by Thread: Re: what doc formats do READERs want ?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads