Let's take a look at three different examples of a publication, with the same content but with a completely different user experience:
The first is downright awful.
The second is a bit better.
And the third is very good.
For the first version. we use our own Quick Start Guide, but unfortunately I have to say that this is actually based on a real client example. The second one is much better, certainly at first glance. At least you can now see what it is all about. And the third variant is much better than the second one. Why? What exactly is it, that makes the second book better than the first?Obviously style is an issue here, but looking beyond that, there are several other factors that play a role. Taste aside, the first publication could be more comfortable to read because of the following:
- A nice contrast between the text and the background.
- Pictures that make the text more inviting to read.
- Headings for your readers to easily determine what this is about.
And with that point we touch on one of the most crucial differences between printed text and a web document: the way we approach them. When we read a book or brochure we usually read word for word. We read the text and then filter out its essence. But on the web, we tend to do the opposite: we scan over the information on the pages looking for something relevant and only then start reading. If we don't find it, we leave and look elsewhere. So how do you make your PDF web-ready?
- Use headers and highlight relevant keywords so text is easier to scan. If you compare the pages, then in both cases the header makes clear that we describe how to select a suitable skin. But the second version also immediately makes it clear where the steps to do that are by using a subheader and by highlighting the most essential words.
- Lists are great to structure your content. They describe a step by step process without having to tell a whole story and also group up in coherent blocks. So it is easy to skip over if it is not what we need. But you can also use other aides, like frames or boxes
2. Keep it short: the optimal line length on the web is considered about 50-60 characters. Longer lines don't only scare your visitor off, they are also tiring to read. The