re: printing dialog update...

> Hi all,
> I did a complete redesign of the dialog.
> teaser:
> "How does the interaction architect that designs the dialog for
> a certain printer model stay in control of good UI, without
> being at the mercy of an algorithm or of the developer?
> Here is how it works:"
> read all about it:

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

The drop-down for printer selection WILL NOT WORK!

Please take a look at real school and corporate networks.  It is not at
all unlikely to find machines with access to dozens and dozens
computers, and not that unlikely to find computers with access to
hundreds of printers.  The printer list MUST be a proper list with
sorting and searching capabilities, or it is will be a huge pain in the
ass to use for anyone except the home and small office people.  The
current GTK+ print dialog gets this wrong, too, but at least it isn't so
bad as to use a drop-down, a UI element that behaves abysmally when
there are too many choices.

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 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.

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.  Look at the common printer drivers around.
There is a recent story up about a printer driver written by some retard
who didn't understand the Linux/UNIX security model so just made
everything run as root.  Those are the kinds of developers that printer
manufacturers hire.  We don't need those people deciding what tags and
option sets to stuff into the UI, and we ESPECIALLY don't need a printer
dialog that makes those horrible choices the sole option for configuring
printing of a document.

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?  Let some actual UI designers figure out how to deal
with the WHOLE printing config process, and not just come up with a
framework for UI that the printer manufacturers stuff with arbitrary

I mean, two different printers could have the exact same option under
two quite differently named tags.  You go from requiring that a user
learn on printer dialog to the user requiring to learn a printer dialog
for each printer he uses.

I've read the design process for the dialog design, and I know that the
project is based on the promise that manufacturers will be working on
good design and not using tags as pure marketing vehicles and such, but
let's be honest - that's NOT how things have ever worked out in the past
with similar agreements, and it's not how things will work out in the
future.  Hardware manufacturers get specs and software designs wrong
constantly, and they rarely bother fixing those mistakes, even in newer

The printing dialog must have a solid and complete design from the start
that includes all common features and settings, and only rely on printer
manufacturers for the hardware-specific stuff.
Sean Middleditch <elanthis awesomeplay com>

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