[Whatwg] Request for HTML-only print link

Sander Tekelenburg st at isoc.nl
Sat Jul 28 12:29:50 PDT 2007

At 20:02 +0200 UTC, on 2007-07-28, Sander wrote:

> Sander Tekelenburg schreef:
>> At 07:12 +0200 UTC, on 2007-07-28, Sander wrote:


>> incosistency makes things harder to use. A print method that works the same
>> across web sites is much more usable.
> I don't think it's confusing as the browser's own print button is still
>there. So, people who prefer to use that one still can.

Your main argument for a print links seemed to be that some people might not
know where to find their UA's print command (hard to believe -- even IE by
default presents a shiny print button always). Giving them a "print link"
doesn't help them, because now they still don't know where their UA's print
command is. So if you'd really want to help those people, you would not
provide a print link. You'd let them figure out how to print, or you could
add a help page that explains how to print a web page (making sure that
you're clear about which specific browsing environment you''re talking about).

Btw, compare with authors providing a "back" link. I thought there's pretty
widespread consensus by now that that's a bad idea. I don't see how a print
link is any different.


> Compare it to the sentence "You can find our address on the contact page".
>From a usability point of view it is advisable to make "contact page" a link

Actually, no, that would be close to "click here". "You can <a
href="contact.html#address" rel="contact">find our address</a> on the contact
page" would be the more usable markup. (Or alternatively, the entire sentence
can be the link.) (Btw, this in turn shows that the sentence was not written
for the Web. I understand that this was just a quick example. But it's the
sort of text that makes sense in print, but not on the Web. Unfortunately
many authors still throw text that was written for print on the Web.)


> But if you leave it all up to the UA, then it's not all the same for all
>users, in all cases.

So what? If every browsing environment would work and present the same,
there'd be no need for more than one browsing environment. The very fact that
different people have different needs and preferences is why we have
different UAs, why we have separation of content and presentation and why
different UAs work differently. It is what makes the Web work.

The only thing that's important, if you're talking about usability, is that
things work the same for a given user  across sites. And per definition, only
UAs can provide that experience.

Sander Tekelenburg
The Web Repair Initiative: <http://webrepair.org/>

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