Usage Of Print Friendly Functionality

20 May 2008 - 12:44pm
6 years ago
6 replies
923 reads
Bob Sampson
2008

Does anyone have a link to any good R&D on the usage of a "Print Friendly" link on a website. If it's used at all, if 1% of people click on it, etc.

There's a discussion on the guidelines of it's usage...
http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=28529
...but no discussion on IF it's actually used.

I just notice that I see it in a lot of mockups we get from ad companies(the kids of design companies that don't do many websites), and I just don't put a "print" link into any of my mockups, since I figure it's a pretty much useless function.

Wouldn't an "Open in Word" be more useful? Stripping the template out, and having a nice word doc with the content in it.
_________________________________________________________________
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Comments

20 May 2008 - 4:34pm
Christine Boese
2006

I use it on every single site that gives me information of value that I wish
to save, or read on the subway, or in the bathtub. I do a lot of research
online, so that means I use it a lot. I hate killing the trees, but I am
ALWAYS printing.

And it makes me absolutely SCREAM when I encounter pages that are impossible
to print effectively.

That may not be the data that you are looking for, but I've never heard of
anyone calling a site's Print versions useless before. The very idea makes
me break out in hives.

Chris

On Tue, May 20, 2008 at 1:44 PM, Bob Sampson <bobsampson at hotmail.com> wrote:

>
> Does anyone have a link to any good R&D on the usage of a "Print Friendly"
> link on a website. If it's used at all, if 1% of people click on it, etc.
>
> There's a discussion on the guidelines of it's usage...
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=28529
> ...but no discussion on IF it's actually used.
>
> I just notice that I see it in a lot of mockups we get from ad
> companies(the kids of design companies that don't do many websites), and I
> just don't put a "print" link into any of my mockups, since I figure it's a
> pretty much useless function.
>
> Wouldn't an "Open in Word" be more useful? Stripping the template out, and
> having a nice word doc with the content in it.
> _________________________________________________________________
> Try Chicktionary, a game that tests how many words you can form from the
> letters given. Find this and more puzzles at Live Search Games!
> http://g.msn.ca/ca55/207
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

20 May 2008 - 6:06pm
Todd Moy
2007

I don't know of any statistics per se, but I think what really matters is
context. At risk of being self-referential yet again, I'll provide this
little anecdote.

Generally, I don't use the print page function for most sites. Where I do
use it, it is in direct response to needing it offline. For me, this occurs
when I'm looking at a long research report that I want to read with a cup of
coffee and a pen. Another case in th esame context is when I expect it to be
useful and I want to keep it at hand for constant reference. This are less
common to me, but they are cases where I like a print function. In both
cases, I would probably like an MS word option too. But as an option, not
exclusively.

The other case, which is much more common, occurs when I use Google Maps for
directions. Here, I need something offline so that I'm not trying to
navigate by text directions on my astrolabe, er, cellphone.

So, I hate to say it, but it depends on the context of use. Longer, prosaic
information may benefit from having an ms word export (I would downgrade the
feature to be simply rich text for broadest compatibility). I'd nearly
always prefer this to having an Adobe PDF export since it gives me more
latitude for cutting, pasting and annotating the information.

On a somewhat related note, I need to air some grievances. I personally
despise blind mailto: links that open up my email client. Equally so, I
hate blind PDF links. Both hijack my flow without warning. So, be aware of
the repercussions of having an MS Word export option. Label it clearly, so
that expectations are set in advance.

Cheers,
Todd

On Tue, May 20, 2008 at 5:34 PM, Christine Boese <christine.boese at gmail.com>
wrote:

> I use it on every single site that gives me information of value that I
> wish
> to save, or read on the subway, or in the bathtub. I do a lot of research
> online, so that means I use it a lot. I hate killing the trees, but I am
> ALWAYS printing.
>
> And it makes me absolutely SCREAM when I encounter pages that are
> impossible
> to print effectively.
>
> That may not be the data that you are looking for, but I've never heard of
> anyone calling a site's Print versions useless before. The very idea makes
> me break out in hives.
>
> Chris
>
>
> On Tue, May 20, 2008 at 1:44 PM, Bob Sampson <bobsampson at hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> >
> > Does anyone have a link to any good R&D on the usage of a "Print
> Friendly"
> > link on a website. If it's used at all, if 1% of people click on it, etc.
> >
> > There's a discussion on the guidelines of it's usage...
> > http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=28529
> > ...but no discussion on IF it's actually used.
> >
> > I just notice that I see it in a lot of mockups we get from ad
> > companies(the kids of design companies that don't do many websites), and
> I
> > just don't put a "print" link into any of my mockups, since I figure it's
> a
> > pretty much useless function.
> >
> > Wouldn't an "Open in Word" be more useful? Stripping the template out,
> and
> > having a nice word doc with the content in it.
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Try Chicktionary, a game that tests how many words you can form from the
> > letters given. Find this and more puzzles at Live Search Games!
> > http://g.msn.ca/ca55/207
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > 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
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
____________________________
http://www.oombrella.com
oombrella /a/ gmail.com

20 May 2008 - 3:32pm
Paul Eisen
2007

Bob Sampson asked:
> Does anyone have a link to any good R&D on the usage of a "Print Friendly" link on a website. If it's used at all, if 1% of people click on it, etc.
<snip>
> I just notice that I see it in a lot of mockups we get from ad companies(the kids of design companies that don't do many websites), and I just don't put a "print" link into any of my mockups, since I figure it's a pretty much useless function.
> Wouldn't an "Open in Word" be more useful? Stripping the template out, and having a nice word doc with the content in it.

I don't have any hard data on web sites to point to, but if I were a bettin' man I'd say providing an action to generate a print-ready format of viewed content is a generally highly desirable feature for many users. Of course, there's the design for sustainability considerations as well, as have been discussed in other threads.

For intranets: We recently designed a content-rich employee portal for Campbell Soup Company, and provided a Print/Email/Save... action on every portlet. Selecting the action generates a PDF format of the content in the portlet, which of course is suitable for downloading, printing, and emailing as an attachment. I can't share detailed stats, but I can tell you that Print/Email/Save... is the single most frequently used function on the portal. And there's much anecdotal feedback that user's love this feature.

Food for thought.

Regards,

Paul
~
Paul Eisen
Principal User Experience Architect
tandemseven

21 May 2008 - 8:53am
Bob Sampson
2008

Maybe useless was the wrong term to use. I have a Tablet PC, so I
haven't used paper/pen/printer in over 2 years. :)

Maybe a better solution instead of a "Print Page" link, would be a
"Save Content \/" link with a down arrow, indicating it opens up.
There you can pop up some options:
- Copy Content to Clipboard
- Save As .doc
- Open Print Friendly Version
-

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=29252

10 Jun 2008 - 12:37pm
Sean Landry
2008

Probably the best solution is to create a smart print stylesheet. The
CSS should strip out all the unnecessary graphics etc and allow the
user to print ONLY what's needed. You could also switch fonts to a
serif. That way ALL pages print gracefully and you're not using any
unnecessary ink or paper.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=29252

11 Jun 2008 - 3:10am
Danny Hope
2008

On Tue, Jun 10, 2008 at 6:37 PM, Sean Landry <seanlandry at gmail.com> wrote:
> Probably the best solution is to create a smart print stylesheet. The
> CSS should strip out all the unnecessary graphics etc and allow the
> user to print ONLY what's needed. You could also switch fonts to a
> serif. That way ALL pages print gracefully and you're not using any
> unnecessary ink or paper.

I agree.

'Printer friendly' should be an attribute *not a function*.

--

Regards,
Danny Hope
http://hobointernet.com
+44 (0)845 230 3760

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