Thursday, April 9, 2009

Note to HP: Canada does not use A4 paper

While I think the ISO 216 system of paper sizing (A4, B1, etc.) is much more sensible than arbitrary "letter", "legal", HP should know that Canada doesn't use it! We use "letter". I'm using the HP 'universal printer driver' at work, and it's helpful features raise an interesting question about interface design.

The driver documentation says that the default paper size is selected based on the locale setting in the OS. Mine is set to "Canada", so my default paper is A4. If this worked, it could be a helpful feature to get people printing quickly. The poor design decision here is to not let anyone override this default. To create a profile with default paper size as "letter", I have to create an entirely new printing profile. That wouldn't be such a big deal, except you can't set a new printing profile as the default. So, the default 'General Everday Printing' with A4 is what I'm stuck with, meaning an extra click to change the paper size every time I have to print something. I guess it's time to switch to the older, non universal, driver.

Or, I guess I could pretend to be in the USA, but then I won't be able to read dates and my spell checker would not like how I spell colour.