Are PDFs a thing of the past?

How do users navigate through technical content in order to locate and process information? A study conducted by the University of Leuven in Antwerp sheds light on navigation behavior, user interests and motivation.

Text by Birgitta Meex Geert Brône


Are PDFs a thing of the past?

Image: © RoBeDeRo/

Digitalization and connectivity affect all aspects of our lives and all industries. The digital revolution also impacts technical communication in that it establishes a new kind of interaction between users and a product. User expectations are changing accordingly. Surveys and recent studies reveal a trend towards dynamic content delivery systems. Customers not only ask for better search capability, possibly using faceted search, they also request content on mobile devices as well as videos, audio, and animations. For example, the recent eDoc project on the (electronic) delivery of user information, carried out by tekom, revealed the users’ demand for "just-in-time", context-sensitive, and individualized information.

Information should be designed in a responsive manner to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience across multiple media that mutually complement each other ...