Guidelines for opening a printer-friendly page

29 Apr 2008 - 9:23am
5 years ago
8 replies
1234 reads
Owen Leonard
2008

I'm helping to build a web application that from time to time offers
the user with a printer-friendly version of pages. It seems there are
several choices when it comes to providing the user with a
printer-friendly page. You can open the page in a couple of different
wasy:

- open the printer-friendly page in the same browser window
- create a pop-up with the printer-friendly version

And then you can choose (or not) to use javascript to trigger the
browser's print dialog.

What is everyone's opinion about this process? Is there a best
practice, or is it just a matter of staying consistent within the
application?

Thanks,

Owen

----
Web Developer
Athens County Public Libraries
http://www.myacpl.org

Comments

29 Apr 2008 - 1:53pm
Bryan J Busch
2006

Hi, Owen,

You could be marking up every page with HTML/CSS so that they are
"printer-friendly" by default, by using a print stylesheet. In
which case, if there's a particular page that people are urged to
print, you can just include a button that calls upon the system's
printing mechanism, and you don't need a separate page.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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29 Apr 2008 - 1:56pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

Agreed. A print stylesheet is completely the right way to do this. A
lot of people will just hit the print button anyway, so making sure
that all pages print nicely is important.

On Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 2:53 PM, Bryan J Busch <bryanjbusch at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi, Owen,
>
> You could be marking up every page with HTML/CSS so that they are
> "printer-friendly" by default, by using a print stylesheet. In
> which case, if there's a particular page that people are urged to
> print, you can just include a button that calls upon the system's
> printing mechanism, and you don't need a separate page.

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
work: matt at bibliocommons.com / www.bibliocommons.com
--
personal: mattnl at gmail.com

29 Apr 2008 - 2:07pm
Prachi Sakhardande
2007

"if there's a particular page that people are urged to
print, you can just include a button that calls upon the system's
printing mechanism, and you don't need a separate page."

I have seen people use the 'printer friendly' view to copy and save content
to a word file etc. for archival without really wanting to print it; since
the printer friendly version does away with the unnecessary embellishments.
Without a 'Printer Friendly' pop-up, they would need to use the bowser 'Page
Preview' to view the page in this manner.

Regards
Prachi

On Tue, 29 Apr 2008 11:53:42, Bryan J Busch <bryanjbusch at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hi, Owen,
>
> You could be marking up every page with HTML/CSS so that they are
> "printer-friendly" by default, by using a print stylesheet. In
> which case, if there's a particular page that people are urged to
> print, you can just include a button that calls upon the system's
> printing mechanism, and you don't need a separate page.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=28529
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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>

--
Cheers,
Prachi

29 Apr 2008 - 7:43pm
Owen Leonard
2008

> Without a 'Printer Friendly' pop-up, they would need to use the bowser 'Page
> Preview' to view the page in this manner.

If I click on a print button on a web page, I expect to /see/ the
printer-friendly version. If the button just pops up the browser's
print dialog, my reaction is to wonder whether I'm really going to get
a printer-friendly version. Am I out of touch/crazy/paranoid?

> if there's a particular page that people are urged to
> print, you can just include a button that calls upon the system's
> printing mechanism, and you don't need a separate page

Our goal is to make pages in general print-friendly, and to offer the
print option for particularly print-oriented pages.

When talking about the context of a web application that users will be
[-come] familiar with, we might be able to make the assumption that
they will learn that pages are printer-friendly by default, but I
don't think you could assume that users at large would know that. Even
a web-savvy user doesn't know ahead of time whether the page has a
print stylesheet, unless it's by experience.

Or is my experience out of touch with what others have observed?

Owen

----
Web Developer
Athens County Public Libraries
http://www.myacpl.org

30 Apr 2008 - 1:05am
Katie Albers
2005

My personal experience, and the experience of (non-professional)
people I've discussed this with is in line with yours, Owen. If I
push the "Printer Friendly" button, I expect to see what the printer
will print and have the opportunity to change my mind if I don't like
what I see.

Frankly, part of the reason I prefer this option, is that I can cut
and paste the content to save or send. Too often those options on the
original site save or send the link and then -- in a year's time --
you have a useless link.

Further, as a user, the display of the content in a printable format,
is what I expect to see when I select the "printable format" type
button, that's what I expect to see...and users' expectations are
critical in this applicable.

Katie

> > Without a 'Printer Friendly' pop-up, they would need to use the
>bowser 'Page
>> Preview' to view the page in this manner.
>
>If I click on a print button on a web page, I expect to /see/ the
>printer-friendly version. If the button just pops up the browser's
>print dialog, my reaction is to wonder whether I'm really going to get
>a printer-friendly version. Am I out of touch/crazy/paranoid?
>
>> if there's a particular page that people are urged to
>> print, you can just include a button that calls upon the system's
>> printing mechanism, and you don't need a separate page
>
>Our goal is to make pages in general print-friendly, and to offer the
>print option for particularly print-oriented pages.
>
>When talking about the context of a web application that users will be
>[-come] familiar with, we might be able to make the assumption that
>they will learn that pages are printer-friendly by default, but I
>don't think you could assume that users at large would know that. Even
>a web-savvy user doesn't know ahead of time whether the page has a
>print stylesheet, unless it's by experience.
>
>Or is my experience out of touch with what others have observed?
>
> Owen
>
>----
>Web Developer
>Athens County Public Libraries
>http://www.myacpl.org
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

--

----------------
Katie Albers
katie at firstthought.com

30 Apr 2008 - 1:57am
John Gibbard
2008

I think there's a nomenclature issue here. If you have a button on
the page that says...

*Print*
The user clicking this will expect the page to print but will not be
given the chance to preview the output before their print dialogue
appears.

*Print(er) Friendly*
The user will click expecting to see a printer friendly version
appear that they can then decide whether to print or copy/paste as
detailed by previous respondents.

The fact remains that the most elegant solution is to use a print CSS
but perhaps we could combine the two button scenarios by using a
combination (accepting that the copy/paste is '20 rather than 80'):

'Print simplified page'

or (if button space isn't a problem)

'Print (our pages are printer friendly)'

and variations thereof which would intend to inform the user that
their action was going to print the page directly but that the
version they saw would be printer friendly.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=28529

30 Apr 2008 - 2:05am
mae paulino
2008

Hi everyone, I'm just wondering, is there a guideline that one should
follow when it comes to making the site printer-friendly?

I've been reading some articles saying that to make your site
printer-friendly then the images should be taken out, it's ok to use
fixed width etc... Or is it supposed to be case to case basis and
there's really no definite list of general guidelines to keep in
mind? Aside from making sure that your background is white and the
font is black and URLs should be expanded

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=28529

30 Apr 2008 - 7:10am
Jens Meiert
2004

> Hi everyone, I'm just wondering, is there a guideline that one should
> follow when it comes to making the site printer-friendly?

Somehow, yes: <http://meiert.com/en/blog/20070221/print-style-sheets-the-basics-for-no-excuses/>.

Pointing to that since, as has already been pointed out, duplicating
browser functionality might "not necessarily" be the way to go, and
since print style sheets are a piece of cake, at least when separating
structure (HTML) from presentation (CSS) …

--
Jens Meiert
http://meiert.com/en/

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