Re: printing dialog update...

Hey Sean,

third time lucky.

I've said it before on your blog, and I'll say it again:

The drop-down for printer selection WILL NOT WORK!

there is no need to shout.

From working on this project with the pros from the printer
manufacturers, I know that there are organisations where all
worldwide printers live in the same network zone. That is
10.000 (or was it 100.000) printers.

That pop-up list will contain the printers that are installed,
not all the ones on the network.

The (currently giant mess of) installation of printers will be
dealt with in the next phase of the project, including using
using different printers every day:

< openprinting-lexington.html#newpat>

The tags that look like links but aren't are still funny looking, too.
There has to be a better way to do that which doesn't trample
established UI expectations.

The tags need some polish, sure.

The example preview widget is useless in so many cases.  Anyone doing
booklet printing or many other kinds of professional publishing drafting
needs to be able to see side-by-side pages.

I did remind us all in the last blog entry that the print dialog
shown there is for general inkjet. The one for high volume printers
with booklet making will be dealt with later. One size does not fit all.

Now, that's my comments and the minor things wrong with the design.
There's more to it than that, though. The whole approach is just wrong.
The idea of letting the printer manufacturers decide _anything_ about
the UI is just terrifying.

But they do already at the moment. They fill tabs with options.
They decide whether a dialog is the one for a general inkjet or
a high volume machine. So what's new?

LWe don't need those people deciding what tags and
option sets to stuff into the UI

I say in general that engineers should not take
user interaction decisions, yeah.

Instead of just stuffing a bunch of tags into the UI, why not come up
with an actual user-study-based idea of what 90% of users need to do,
come up with a solid (and tested) UI for them, and then add in an easy
way to access the extra tags/options for users that need the extra
printer control?

With user centred design is how the usability professionals in my team
started last year spring at the openPrinting Atlanta summit.

That came to a grinding halt when they realised that there are
5,000,000 use cases (no joke). Printing is generic infrastructure.

That's when they got me involved, to solve it architecturally.

We will use usability surveys to decide on the tags.
We will use usability tests to validate every bit of our design.

And that will terminate endless discussions with engineers whether
this new approach is going to work.

Let some actual UI designers figure out how to deal
with the WHOLE printing config process,

hey, that's me and my team. thanks for the support.

And for the rest. My team will design complete solutions for
the seven printer clusters:


I can only cajole printer manufacturers into working with interaction
and usability professionals when doing their own dialog config.

If they don't, and that will happen, the engineering types will
work as usual. They will start with one of the seven designs,
take it as the word of god, and change as little as possible,
in order 'not to break it.'

Fine, suits me.


        principal user interaction architect
        man + machine interface works : on interaction architecture

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