Online brochure vs. PDF download

22 Jan 2008 - 7:21am
23 weeks ago
2 replies
1683 reads
Marianne Jensen
2007

Does anyone have any recommendations/ preferences with regard to online
brochures?
We have the option of providing a downloadable pdf that users can view/print
out for reading later, and/or going with a zmags.com solution that takes the
print brochure(s) and displays it rather sleekly in it's own window (Ikea
applies this solution). There is a link to download the brochure from the
zmag approach, but I don't think it's immediately evident to the user. Are
there any stats/suggestions? Right now the thinking is to display radio
buttons with the two options (pdf or online) and let people choose, but
we're duplicting the brochure names in the footer as well and prefer to
default to the option here that is most prefered for the user.

Thoughts?

Mhv,
Marianne

Comments

22 Jan 2008 - 8:24am
Alexander Baxevanis
2007

Hi Marianne,

I don't think that replicating a printed product catalogue is the best
way of presenting a collection of products online. If this is the
primary interface of your website, I think that you will alienate a
large percentage of online shoppers who are used to searching for
products, copying and pasting product details & descriptions into an
e-mail, comparing products side by side, and lots of similar tasks
that are not adequately supported by the "online brochure" concept.

If your online brochure is only a secondary method of displaying your
products, I would go with a downloadable PDF, as I think that most
people should be quite familiar with manipulating this kind of
content. However, I doubt anyone would have the patience to print a
big brochure. For people who like the feeling of looking at something
in paper, why not provide the option to request a brochure to be
mailed to them? It may cost something to the company, but it also
helps build a stronger link with the customer.

Regards,

Alex

On Jan 22, 2008 12:21 PM, Marianne Jensen <marianne.jensen at themilk.net> wrote:
> Does anyone have any recommendations/ preferences with regard to online
> brochures?
> We have the option of providing a downloadable pdf that users can view/print
> out for reading later, and/or going with a zmags.com solution that takes the
> print brochure(s) and displays it rather sleekly in it's own window (Ikea
> applies this solution). There is a link to download the brochure from the
> zmag approach, but I don't think it's immediately evident to the user. Are
> there any stats/suggestions? Right now the thinking is to display radio
> buttons with the two options (pdf or online) and let people choose, but
> we're duplicting the brochure names in the footer as well and prefer to
> default to the option here that is most prefered for the user.
>
> Thoughts?
>
> Mhv,
> Marianne
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22 Jan 2008 - 11:46am
Patrick Bowen
2007

Marianne,
Our company izzydesign (izzydesign.com) uses PDF brochures in a
"Downloadable tools" section. When I was involved in designing the
site we ran through several rounds of research and decided that we
would offer PDFs. There were a few reasons for this:

1. That is what our sales force wanted. The request was to have
easy-to-download and print files.

2. PDF downloads were the easiest solution at the time. We already
had the files and it was easy to post them for download

3. With our audience and my inability to often successfully
implement new technology in an easy to use solution (why I joined
this group...needed to learn more) the PDF seemed to be a good fix.

All that said there have been some drawbacks.

1. For things like fabric swatches (we need these for sampling of
our chairs) PDFs must be extremely large with hi-res files. Our
fabric PDFs have been miserable failures

2. The linear fashion doesn't fit web very well. Putting something
that has been designed for print online causes some issues. If I want
to search and get specific info, it is much more difficult with PDFs.

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