In my last post, I argued that print is not dead, and that there is still a place for printed line cards, data sheets, and such. There are still many people who just prefer not to read from a screen. While I still maintain that this is true, let’s be honest, a growing majority of folks consume most of their content in a digital format. With the growing success of the iPad and a host of other new tablets, and e-readers like the Kindle and Kobo, digital reading is increasingly easy and convenient.
In support of this, I read in this morning’s Toronto Star (print copy, I confess!) that HP is merging their printer division with their PC division to economize because sales of printers and ink are in decline. People are just not printing documents like they used to.
Accepting the fact that our customers want to consume content on their iPad or Kindle, we should be designing content, such as catalogues, manuals, and data sheets, to be easy to read on these devices. Their screens are smaller than standard 8.5 x 11 documents, so images and text need to be larger. A few tablets, line the iPad, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, have diagonal screen sizes of almost 10 inches, but most are in the 7 inch range. And the classic Kindle and Kobo have monochrome displays (although they both now offer colour models), so check that your images look good in grey scale, as well as colour. While most devices do a pretty good job of displaying PDF files (especially if you size them appropriately) longer documents do better in formats specifically designed for digital readers. Your best bet for longer e-reader documents is probably ePub, which can her opened on most devices. Another advantage of ePubs with longer documents, is that you can include a Table of Contents and Index, and most e-readers will allow your customers to highlight, annotate, and bookmark, important passages.
So in summary, embrace the digital age. Design your publications so that they are readable by your customers in whatever format they prefer.
Boreal Technical Marketing offers full design and production services for a wide range of electronic documents, including the generation of PDF, ePub, and the new rich content iBook format. Contact us to discuss your needs.