Printers basically do one thing – they put ink or toner on paper.
Multi-function printers do a little more than that, but not much – they also scan and copy.
Looking at the screen on a modern printer though, you would think that they did a lot more than that. They are the most cluttered user interfaces I have ever seen. The one in the office where I work has 48 different options in copy mode on the front screen, and that’s not including all the sub-screens that you can get to.
I’ve spent years fascinated by the ever-increasing complexity that printer manufacturers continue to add.
My interest in printer interfaces has been driven by two fascinations: The first is an interest in design, of which most printers are a mind-boggling example of visual clutter. The second fascination is a quest to find a hidden menu that I’m sure most printers have. These are the options that I think this hidden menu has on it:
- Crinkle and crease paper
- Eat corner of paper
- Don’t print the bottom of the page
- Sub menu: Don’t print the most important information at the bottom of the material being printed if someone has been foolish enough to put it there
- Shuffle sheets:
- Sub menu: print the first 10 pages correctly to fool the person picking up the printout into thinking that it’s not shuffled
- Print at an angle
- Sub menu: Pick an angle that’s been scientifically proved to be the most annoying to anyone with an eye for such things
- Swap orientation:
- Sub menu: landscape on portrait
- Sub menu: portrait on landscape
- Sub menu: landscape inverse on portrait
- Sub menu: portrait inverse on landscape
- Queue shuffle
- Sub menu: print the biggest printout first
- Pick your paper:
- Sub menu: A4 on A3
- Sub menu: A3 on A4
- Sub menu: prefer any coloured paper that someone puts in the printer for a specific printout so there’s none left for their printout
- Just beep
- Sub menu: continuous beeping
- Output tray randomise
- Randomly pick from the above
- Sub menu: increase randomness when printout shows signs of being urgent
- Sub menu: pick multiples when printout shows signs of being really urgent
If you have managed to work out where this menu is I’d appreciate knowing where it is, thanks.