Friday, February 19, 2010

NPR - Print formats

Why is it so hard that news, information and editorial Websites and blogs don't put or hide the print format button? Many readers still prefer to read a print copy as reading Web pages takes a lot of energy when there are a lot of format and style changes and a lot of ads, often interspered in the text. It's just easier to read or print the clean, or hopefully clean, print version.

Then many insert ads, extraneous links and other crap in the print version. But my complaint is when the Website just doesn't have a print button, or at best hides it as s very small icon where you spend time search the entire page to see if it's there and if so, where. It's like "Where's Waldo's print button?"

And I'm especially angry with Websites which cuts the article into two, often more pages, of text so you have to go to the "next" Web page, obviously with all of their ads and links, hoping you'll decide to click and either go to the link or the ad where they get a few parts of a cent from the ad company.

Many of these are the same Websites that don't have the print button, so there is no way you can put the whole article together. I have found some at least have a "single page" format link, but then they still don't have the handy print format. It's like they expect you to sit there and read it while, like the others, notice and click on the links or ads.

To which I say, "Yeah, right." That's the best way to get me not to go anywhere except leave after struggling to read the article around all the ad, extraneous images and links. And when people complain about my Website not having a print format button. Simple, you don't need it. All the Web pages are pre-formatted for print. They print direct to the page at full scale.

And I don't have ads and all the other links are hidden in the navigation bar links below the Website logo. I will be adding PDF version of Web pages eventually, and linked on the same Web page, so readers can print in a print format or save to their computer for later use. But that's on the schedule for now, after I finish the first complete draft of the Web pages for the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide.

But that's off the point, which is more a rant or vent against Website designers. If you have an article, especially those of more than a page, for God's sake have a readable print format and put a print icon or link so we can actually read the article. You know like they used to do, with paper. Is that so hard?

It's not because when I pointed this out at the Bilerco Project, they added it, in plain sight on each article. Now that's cool. Easy to find and use. It took them less than a week to implement it into their Web pages. And they even thanked me for the idea.

Gee, common and human sense. Gotta' love it when it works. To the others, expect words about your insensitivity with readers not to have one. It's not about copyright issues or people stealing articles, you're covered by the copyright law there. It's about your readers, you know the customers you want to click on the links and ads? Yeah, us.

So, what don't you understand?

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