TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Since you're accepting anecdotes, I'll chime in with two of mine... I think the answer is, "It depends". The format readers want depends on the type and purpose of the information. For API docs that can (should) integrate in an IDE, the answer is definitely HTML. And actually, I have found that to be true for API docs in all circumstances. But nobody sits down to read API docs from cover to cover. At least, I've never seen it (anecdote #1). I extend that to say, if the information is reference, and benefits from random access, search, and other munging techniques, HTML is the way to go.
For me, if it's to be read cover to cover, I prefer paper. I spend too much time in front of a machine already. To be honest, I have a page limit for PDF, and it's even shorter than my limit for HTML. In fact, the only PDF I actually *choose* to read is sheet music. Otherwise, I tend to read it only because it's there. Well, that's also true for sheet music. The only reason I read PDF is because it's easier to get than paper. Were it equally accessible in print, I would prefer that (anecdote #2).
Bottom line, text is a purpose-driven technology. Typography and legibility are functions of that purpose. So I think the answer to your question really is, "It depends". Depending on which sector you investigate, you will get different answers. Or, depending on which sector ultimately dominates text.
Maybe that's really the question you're asking -- Which sector is dominating text?
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. http://www.doctohelp.com
You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-