[Whatwg] Request for HTML-only print link

Sander html5 at zoid.nl
Sat Jul 28 18:41:56 PDT 2007

Sander Tekelenburg schreef:
>>>  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).
>> A lot of site owners just don't want to do that as it turns the focus on
>> the browser instead of their.
> Well, tough :) Users matter more than authors. (See
> <http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/ProposedDesignPrinciples#head-97abe59da6732ca0ab8a6d9d863b100bf1e51266>.)
> So when what authors want to do harms users, it is not a good idea to have
> HTML cater for those authors.
But a lot of users just don't know their browser and they just don't 
really bother to learn. They want things the easiest way, which in this 
case would be that "print" does print when you click on it.
I agree that it would be best if users knew how to use their 
applications to the full extend, but that's just not reality for a large 
part of users. Perhaps you have geek parents. I don't and I know a lot 
of people like them who don't even know what a browser is although they 
use them every now and then or even quite regularly.

>> Providing a print link on the spot where you
>> refer to printing doesn't force the visitor to think (which seems to be the
>> credo in usability land).
> Actually, it does force users to think because they now have to determine the
> difference between that particular print link and their UA's built-in print
> function.
That may be the case for those who have visited this site of yours 
(sorry ;-) ). I'm sure most won't even consider that there may be a 
difference. And if there is a difference that should be made clear.

>> You're right. It was indeed a quick example. What I meant to say was that
>> providing a link that offers what you're talking about is better than 'just'
>> talking about it.
> Understood. I'm not sure I see how the comparison makes sense though. Are you
> thinking of something like "We suggest you print this purchase confirmation"?
> Because I'd disagree. You can compare that with "we suggest you listen to <a
> href=filename.mp3>this exerpt of John Doe's speech</a>." Note that it makes
> no sense to mark that up as "we suggest you <a href=filename.mp3>listen<a> to
> this exerpt of John Doe's speech." Similarly ""We suggest you <a
> href=print>print</a> this purchase confirmation" wouldn't make sense.
> (Something like this could make sense however: "We suggest you print <a
> href=URL>this purchase confirmation</a>", if it points to a document that
> contains the purchase confirmation.)
What about "We suggest you <a href=print>print this purchase 
confirmation</a>" then?

There are some differences with your mp3 example compared to a print link:
The mp3-link always refers to a different file, whereas a print link 
(mostly) refers to the current file. So, sticking to the given example, 
you're probably already on the page with the purchase confirmation. And 
linking to the page itself has no use in this case.
More important, the mp3-file has a different extension that can trigger 
a media player to play the file or the browser downloading it. For print 
there's no such thing. If there was, that should probably be enough.


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