Streamlining Printing

Alan Cooper’s About Face (1.0) poses some questions about probability versus possibility in the context of printing: Just how often do most people print more than one copy? Use a different printer? Adjust the orientation? The paper size? These are necessary features, but their use is the exception rather than the rule. Usually, the user just wants to print out one complete copy of a document on their default printer.

With this in mind, the Print dialog could be streamlined by using progressive disclosure exactly like that in the open and save dialogs:

A simplified print sheet

The widget to the right of the Printer pop-up menu would toggle the display of the detailed configuration commands for trays, orientation, etc. Ideally, the dialog would be smart and remember the state on a per-application basis.

To print a single copy without even the simple dialog appearing, Option-Command-P could be used:

Prompt-less printing menu command

This modifier behavior would be consistent with the Restart, Shutdown, and Log Out commands. Open the Apple menu and press the Option key: the ellipses disappear, indicating that the confirmation dialogs will be skipped and the Option modifier symbol is displayed.

Published by

Daniel J. Wilson

I am a designer, drummer, and photographer in Brooklyn, NY.

3 thoughts on “Streamlining Printing”

  1. Why not a cascading menu (like Open Recent), where Print expands to your installed printers? Then you dont even have a print dialog to deal with.

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