Print-this-page Function – a Bad Idea and Its Solution
Reading in a browser is different than from paper
Writing text for online reading is different than composing an article for a printed magazine. One assumption is that visitors are “jumpier” than readers. Subtitles, shorter sentences this page and paragraphs are key-elements in formatting online text to best effect.
The visitor’s interest needs to be captured before clicking on the next link. This is comparable to newspapers, where many pieces of information compete against each other on the same page.
Online content is printed on a crispy, blank page. There simply is no competition. The same text which was effective on the screen might look very bland printed. The short content, tuned to convey a message by starting every line with the perfect keyword, might look very lost when printed on a sheet of paper using the whole page-width.
Better to have no information than one that is out of context
Web-pages are not structured sequentially – unlike a book. The whole point of a web-site is to enrich it with links, connecting it to information that the visitor might find useful. Web-sites tend to tear information into chunks or create many entry-pages, leading further into the site. That makes very much sense in regards to online reading. Also advertising profits from that, because more pages mean more ads served and better information, what the user is interested in.
Word on the net is that 80% of traffic does not hit the homepage but directly jumps deep into a site. If the accessed page is only a segment of the relevant information, a printout is useless or at the very least out of context. It is not possible to really understand the quarterly numbers, when the company-strategy leading to those results is not known.