The good old Portable Document Format was developed by Adobe in the 1990s to ensure that documents looked the same on all platforms. It has become the de facto way to investment reports and valuations, even after compatibility was not longer an issue.
But in our digital-first era, PDF delivers a terrible user experience, bad security and no interaction. PDF is my favourite pet hate, for these reasons:
PDFs are awful to use
PDF is not responsive to mobile (pinch to zoom does not help).
It is not indexable or searchable.
It need to start Acrobat Reader, which slows everything down.
You cannot drill-down, change timespans or explore datasets .
PDFs are insecure
Once sent you might as well consider it in the public domain.
Password removers are three-a-penny.
Content cannot be anonymised as all the information is embedded.
Once the file is obtained, you cannot lock it down or take it back.
PDFs are dumb
You can't collect Analytics from a PDF.
You cannot collect feedback or read the user's reaction.
As a self-contained linear experience, we cannot isolate issues.
You cannot improve it, as you have no clue what needs fixing.
Above all, distributing PDFs sends a clear message to clients:
"I know it's not great on mobile, and not really secure, but customer experience is really far down our list of priorities. Compliance insists we must send you regular reports, so here's a steaming pile of PDF"Your Wealth Manager (PS fees may go up)
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