The end of PDF forms

PDF forms are dead

Just look around and it’s obvious that mobile is taking over the Internet and an astounding 65% of email gets opened first on a mobile device. If your content is PDF, most people simply don’t bother to read it.

Fillable PDFs are even worse – often they simply don’t work unless you download and install a special app and if they require a signature, you’ll probably still have to print it anyway. Try it – here’s a General Permission form for a school. It’s a nightmare to use even with Adobe’s PDF Reader app. You have to pinch and zoom to fill out fields, it’s a frustrating user experience and most people simply give up. PDFs just aren’t responsive.

Is your paperless strategy fillable PDFs?
No one’s going to fill them out!!

What should you do? For your web site,  Luckily, creating responsive web forms that just work naturally on mobile devices isn’t that hard. Try the same form above on any device and you’ll see that it works smoothly and “responds” to the form factor of the device. Even with the limited real estate of a smart phone screen, it is reasonably easy to use. You can sign it right there without printing. It’ll automatically render in a different language if available and your phone is set to that language. Here’s the Spanish version.

PDF forms simply cannot adapt to the huge variety of screen sizes and resolutions of modern mobile devices. Just like PDF no longer makes sense for emails or newsletters, it makes no sense to push out fillable PDF forms.

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