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An official website of the United States government

Here's how you know

An official website of the United States government

Here's how you know

Theme:
Version:
Theme:
Version:

Print guidelines

When converting content on a website to content for print it is important to focus on these primary goals in order of priority:

  • Readable - This is a priority and takes precedence over the other print goals.
  • Reducing ink usage - Many over 65 users are on fixed income and don’t want to spend money to buy more ink for their printers. It is important to be considerate of ink usage when thinking about printing format.
  • Reducing paper usage - The over 65 audience is known to print more often than the general user. Users would generally prefer to print on fewer pages to reduce paper usage.

Page components

Header/Footer

Header and footer web components will not be printed and this header and footer will be used instead (see sketch symbols below).

  • USA banner
  • Medicare.gov Logo
  • HHS Logo
  • Page numbers (nice to have)
  • Date printed (nice to have)
  • Website URL (nice to have)

Images/Backgrounds

  • Images will not be printed unless they are necessary to convey the content.
  • If an image will be printed it should have an image caption.
    • To do: Ask content team if there are any caption guidelines for Medicare.gov
  • Remove shadows, background colors, and dark colors from the pages to reduce ink use. Focus on black and white print styles.

Typography

Use a 1:1 transfer of font styles and sizes to the printed version of the page. The minimum font size that should be used would be 14 px.

Spacing

Thinking about how much paper is used for printing is important and can be frustrating for the user if the content being printed isn’t reduced to a minimum amount of paper. Reducing the padding and spacing being applied when printing is key. When considering your print layout make sure the page is still readable while reducing as much vertical space as possible.

Page breaks

Limit page breaks between important sections of content. This could pertain to card content or possible different sections of the page. Be aware of how the page will print on a standard piece of paper. Refer to this link for developer instructions on how to change page break styles.

Interactive components

Elements that should be included in print should be determined on a case-by-case basis but generally interactive elements should not be shown when printing. Consider these elements when creating a print layout:

  • Buttons - Should probably not be printed
  • Links - Should be printed if the link contains relevant information
  • Clickable cards - Should probably be printed
  • Tooltips - Will not be printed
  • Modals - Will not be printed
  • Show/hide components - Will not be printed unless the user expands the element
  • Videos - Will not be printed

Layout

Three and two column layouts should be removed so that a single column layout can be used instead to improve readability.