Rethinking printer friendly format

by Jason Preston on July 5, 2008

Most news sites now carry a little “control panel” along with each of their articles that lets viewers e-mail, tag, or otherwise manipulate the page. One of the more common buttons is the “print” button—you know, the one that takes all the ads off the page?


Why does “printer friendly format” mean a plain page with, at most, a “printer format sponsored by” image at the top of the page?

Newspapers have spent years specializing in making things look nice on paper. Why not offer articles for print in a format that looks nice on a printed page AND provides space for advertisements? It’s not like it can’t be done – look at any magazine that approximates an 8×10 printed page.

If you want to be nice, display only grayscale ads, so that you won’t waste people’s color ink.

But I see no reason why “printer-friendly” need to mean “revenue-free.” It just needs to mean: “optimized for reading on paper.”

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11.05.08 at 8:15 pm

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1 TalkTNY 10.24.08 at 7:09 pm

When ads are placed on the printed page, a human being designs that page. It’s not a random square filled with an ugly flashing image designed to distract one’s attention from the real content.

Until online page layout is performed as inoffensively as print page layout we will continue to block, hide, and ignore online advertising.

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