Designing for the Web ~ Typography
There is a way, other than 'print only' versions, of rendering this content for a printer. I’m referring to print style sheets, or, more specifically, a CSS file, which has been authored for print media and declared as 'print' in the 'media' attribute of the link tag.
The last to be thought about It's been my experience over the past few years that, despite a very clear need for users to print out web pages, designers very rarely address this need. Why is that? Do we think that print is important in a screen—based environment? Jason Santa Maria, graphic designer, had this to say when I asked about it recently: ‘Many people still see the web as a temporary medium, one that is always changing and where content is potentially irretrievable. I know many people who love to print things they find on sites, from articles to recipes to photos, to view when they are away from the computer or for their own personal archive. There's no reason that information shouldn't either support your brand or be designed with the same care as your site.’* Khoi Vinh, Design Director of NYTimes.com and the popular weblog, Subtraction.com, agreed with Jason: ‘Having developed web solutions for many text—heavy publications in my career, at least one user scenario remains: people like to print long passages of screen—based text for reading offline.’ This then begs the question: If printing from the web is so important for users, then why do we see print—based templates either being left to the last minute, or being developed by technical teams, rather than designers? In addition to implementation though, what else influences the decision for
‘Designers are focused on the immediate, knowable and sharable result of what gets rendered on the screen, so it's natural to consider print media stylesheets an afterthought. But other factors contribute to this, too, notably the monetization of 'printer friendly' versions of articles at many publication sites. That is, rather than offer a print—based set of CSS rules, many sites will offer an alternative screen rendering of the same article, slimmed down to just the primary text— we've all seen this. Very often, those print—friendly views are sold to advertisers for sponsorship, so in those cases at least, there's a financial reason not to create a print media style sheet.’ This is something that I hadn't really considered when researching this book. Jason also raised some interesting points about the medium: ‘Because print stylesheets are perceived as somewhat non— essential to most site creators, their main focus is their website and the appearance of it in various browsers. I think many people see print as a secondary medium, like mobile phones, that is optional. And I suppose it is a secondary medium, as far as the web is concerned, but there is very little preparation involved in producing some simple styles for print.’ Perhaps designers assume that because print styles are deemed secondary that they can be added at a later date. This can, at times, be true, but developing the example for this book, I found that creating a print style called for revisiting the code in the template to make sure the content flow was correct and that design elements could be added. So, in that sense, I'm not sure that assumption is true.
offering a print alternative? Khoi makes some valid points about revenue generation, through advertising, in the print versions: * Extracted from blog post http://www.markboulton.co.uk/journal/comments/ five_simple_steps_to_typesetting_on_the_web_printing_the_web/ licensed to Denis (1 user license)
Designing for the web