Almost usable — Sharp MFP printer menuby Wojciech Adam Koszek ⋅ Jul 2, 2012 ⋅ East Palo Alto, CA
After reading the "Design of Everyday Things" I share some insights on things I've noticed in the office.
I decided to give Sharp MFP printer a try. I’m pretty conservative (lets say I’m radical: if something works nicely for me, I don’t wanna change). But printers which we had here in the company never really worked for me, since on the floor of hundreds of people printers are the things that nearly never work. Either lack of toner or lack of skilled human being to figure out, what’s wrong with the darn machine, which claims it’s jammed, but it’s not.
So here I was, in the front of MFP, swiping my badge to be able to do “something” with it. MFP has a badge reader, but apparently it’s either an option or something added late in a design, since the sticker saying “swipe your badge” is glued to the printer’s cover in an ugly way. But it’s visible and works – which is very good. I knew right away I need to swipe my badge.
After getting an access to the menu, I had no idea what to do. This printer is very smart, so you must register yourself in it. SSO policy is very handy, so it’s “register once, do whatever you want as you”. So yes – registration window showed up. 4 fields – card number, name, surname and password. Default field marked: card number. Text on the screen said - “swipe once again”, so I did and it worked. Then I changed the field to “name” on the touchscreen… and … nothing.
I haven’t expected that. You know – in front of the LCD panel I either have keyboard right away, or I expected little keyboard to be displayed, but… MFP is different.
So here I am, knowing how to fiddle with bits and bytes and assembly files and .v files and routing a wire to a flip-flop, but not knowing how to type my name in a printer.
I politely read the label on the printer – slide up, slide down, press a button. But nothing on keyboard…
It tool me around 5-7 minutes to figure out, that the machine’s panel has a little keyboard which you have to pull out. Aha! Anyway – after this initial pain and frustration, I logged in.
[Update from 2012/05/09 - firmware got updated; now virtual keyboard shows up, and is pretty convenient]
The 1st menu is nice – 3 icons only: copy, scan and print queue. So I scheduled 1 American-letter printout and started to understand, that MFP can indeed be an improvement. This printer only prints when a person is next to the printer. And you print to the queue, not to the physical device. In other words: you can schedule a printout to your person print queue, go to another building, swipe your badge and get your pages there. It’s meant to be secure to.
Not sure if I’m just unlucky, or the machine didn’t like me, but 1st thing I experienced was a paper jam. Poor me. Menu showed up and walked me through the process of removing jammed paper. I removed 1 sheet of paper and hoped it’s enough, however printer kept being unhappy and unsatisfied. Power off/power on didn’t help. Repeating the procedure once again made me realize that 1 thing sticking out isn’t a printer’s part, but yet another sheet of paper. As you read it, I know you know I probably suffer due to some form of moronic illness, but: printer and paper have the same color nearly [good: it’s clean; bad: hard to see jammed paper]. But it got fixed.
Swiping badge after removing jammed paper didn’t work. Nothing seemed to be happening. Power off, power on. Printer alive, no jammed. Printer warming up and here it is. A sheet of paper. Oh, yet another one. And another one.
And here I am, in front of the printer secured by a badge reader. Printer, which is supposed to generate pages in a confidential, secure manner standing with 3 pages of a person, who generated a jam. Conclusion: MFP doesn’t cancel printouts after paper is jammed. This SHOULD NOT HAPPEN.
After that came my page.
This is shortened story. I’ll save you the rest. That that I tried to scan couple of interesting quotes from couple of books from Amazon which I got lately, but it wasn’t trivial either. Especially canceling buggy choices is hard on MFP – some menus don’t have Cancel/Back buttons.