Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pet Peeve with PDF

The world has changed a lot in 30 years.  In that time we've gone from carrying around Walkmans to carrying around Smart Phones.  We're constantly connected and forever looking for ways to streamline the mundane. 

To that end, the advent of the Internet has gone a long way towards eradicating the drudgery of things like pen and paper for the convenience of keyboard and mouse.  One company, Adobe, has labored tirelessly to further that goal. 

The PDF was their creation and it's formed the foundation of many a product manual and job application.

It's been around for two decades and over the years has added features like security, markup and even the ability to create forms that you can fill in without compromising the original document.

With such a long history you'd think the PDF would spell the end of the hard copy.  Millions of trees would be saved, thousands of hours reclaimed from the printer queue. 

Life would be better...

Except a few people out there didn't get the message.

The worst of which are those who insist on paper forms like job applications.  Even worse than that?  People who make PDF's that require input but don't create them to allow for it.  It forces the hapless recipient of this DEAD PDF to print it out, fill it in then scan it again as yet another DEAD PDF.

What is the point of having an online process if you have to kill a forest of trees to complete it?
It's a pet peeve and a huge waste of time.  It's even more embarrassing when it's a tech company that does it.

So, new rule...

If you're going to send somebody a form online, make sure it can be filled out ONLINE! 

I can't think of anything that's more 1985 than writer's cramp.