Monday, April 16, 2007
Save by choice; Print by chance
You are in a hurry because your boss for an urgent meeting has called you and the meeting room is in the building across. You want to save the document that you’ve been working on before you leave. And in this state of flux you click on the ‘save’ icon on the top left corner of your word or PDF document only to realize that you have by mistake clicked on the ‘print’ icon which is sitting right next to the ‘save’ button.. And off you go..
You run to the printer to collect those pages that you never wanted to print, at least not now or desperately try to cancel the print command by going to the ‘printer properties etc..’ in the tool bar at the bottom right corner of your computer monitor.. But by the time your ‘rescue operation’ is completed you’ve lost precious time (remember boss is waiting!) and perhaps even more precious paper is wasted along-with the expensive ink in the printer cartridge.
This I am sure is not an isolated example and many of us, if not all, have gone through this misery. I believe we should not just blame ourselves for being careless and clicking the wrong icon. In fact it could partly be attributed to the proximity of the ‘Print’, and ‘Save’ icons in almost all the application softwares that that we use regularly these days.
I am curious that in these times of intuitive interface how come we are still living with this design anomaly?
May be I am thinking too much but I am sure not stretching this beyond its relevant context when I think that it could well be a conscious arrangement between paper manufacturing companies, makers of printers and the application software giants to keep it this way. Win-Win-Win?!
Because if we were to attempt a monetary quantification of the number of documents that are printed by mistake it might add up to a lot of money for both the printer (cartridge) and paper (reams) guy. Needless to mention, that the application software company could be getting a fixed ‘royalty’ on ‘the expected number of end user ‘errors’. Among the three, they could have well figured (basis some kind of pattern/trend analysis) the number of errors that an average user is expected to commit. May be this is ‘over-think’ may be it is the most obvious that we never think about. Whichever way it is, there is room for improvement and we should not wait for an MS Office Open Source or Adobe Open Source to come and fix it for us.
Posted by Saurabh Sharma at 1:44 PM