Is the term “downloads” the right one to use any more?

I’d like to finish this week’s series of articles about PDF documentation (here, here and here) with a little bugbear of mine, which is something you might like to think about. This is the slightly archaic habit of of presenting PDF documents as “downloads”. Does this term really have any meaning now? Most web users just open PDF documents in their browsers, so in this sense, what is the difference between a PDF document and any web page? Sure, you can “download” the PDF document by right-clicking on it, but you can “download” a normal HTML web page too. I wonder if even just using the term might suggest a company which is a bit out of touch with how people use the web. It might have made sense a few years ago to have a list of “downloads” on a page, but does it now? Are the items you’re offering in your “downloads” section actually “downloads”? Perhaps the term “documentation” might be more appropriate – and informative – for your customers.

That’s all for this week, but before I go, an offer from our friends at Give Me 5:
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