Re: [Usability] Printing dialog and GNOME

Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
> [Removed desktop_architects, as I doubt design details of individual
> dialogs are really relevant to them.]
> One big advantage of a built-in preview would be that you could see the
> effects of your changes in the Print dialog itself (albeit with a delay
> of a few seconds after each change), without repeatedly reopening a
> separate preview window. For that reason, I suggest making "Print
> Settings" not a separate dialog, but tabs of the overall Print dialog,
> with the preview outside the tabs so it can be seen no matter which tab
> is selected.

This would be the killer, even in KDE you do not have such a thing. The
controls for the preview should not only have the two forward/backward
arrows, but also an input for the page number (was mentioned already)
and buttons to jump to the first and last page, then one can quickly see
whether there is a near empty last page. The preview renderer could even
tell if the last page is 80 % white and then place a warning in the
printing dialog, and a "Print all but last page" button ...

>> ...
>> This looks like a good start; some (hopefully constructive) comments:
>> ...
>>     2. "Pages per sheet" option:
>>        a. The "Pages per sheet" terminology is usually called "N-up"
>>           among printing professionals, but I personally have no
>>           preference and understand both terms equally well...
> Windows and Mac OS X both call it "Pages per sheet".

As XPP, too.

>>        b. Most programs show an graphical representation (icon,
>>           whatever) when they support N-up printing.
> Showing a preview in the dialog would make this largely unnecessary; but
> for 4-up and greater options, arrows would need to be used to show
> whether the pages were being laid out horizontally-first or
> vertically-first, as this would be difficult to tell otherwise.

But icons at the radio buttons can make choices easier to understand
than describing them only by text.

> (Would it be too much to be able to ask for a 2-up duplex book, or a
> 4-up leaflet, with the correct page ordering and orientation required,
> from within the Print dialog?)

Having this in the printing dialog would be a killer, and having this in
the desktop's PostScript generator is much more reliable than applying
ps-utils or built-in CUPS filters to arbitrary app-generated PostScript

>> ...
>>     3. "Orientation" is usually shown graphically...
> Same applies here: the presence of a live preview probably would make a
> separate graphical indication of orientation unnecessary.
>> ...
>> You can also get ideas from the Apple print dialog, but I'm not
>> 100% in love with their design...
>> ...
> Mac OS X's dialog appears very simple by default, but to me it has three
> major problems.
> 1.  Because the number of panes in the dialog is large, too many for
>     tabs, the panes are navigated using an option menu. This is hard to
>     discover, especially since it's immediately under two other option
>     menus (one for choosing the printer, and one for managing option
>     presets). As poor as an "Advanced" tab with a scrolling listbox of
>     options might be, I think it would be better than this, because it
>     would let the common options be more prominent in other tabs.
> 2.  When applications have app-specific options (in a Web browser for
>     example, printing the selection and/or backgrounds, and specifying
>     the header and/or footer), these are buried in a panel near the
>     bottom of the list -- when they're often the options you're *most*
>     likely to want to change.
> 3.  Over the last few years saving as a PDF, and then sending as a fax,
>     have been shoehorned as buttons into the Print dialog. But if I
>     can use the Print dialog to export a poster design I'm working on
>     as a large PDF for proofing, why not as a small JPEG to e-mail to
>     my client? And if I can send a document by fax from this dialog,
>     why not by e-mail or by SFTP? Done right, I think an extensible
>     "Print/Publish" dialog could save people a *lot* of time.

I have looked at the Mac dialog today for the first time. I also didn't
like it and found especially strange to choose the options shown in the
bottom part by a drop-down menu. At least KDE and XPP have nicer dialogs.


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