For most users, learning a new user interface for a piece of desktop software is bad enough. On a printer, the ideal UI is a pair of buttons that say “ON/OFF” and “START.” Without sacrificing any useful features, HP is trying to offer something with that level of ease.
Earlier this month, HP Canada released a slew of enterprise printing products, including a new addition to the M-series, the M9050 multi-function printer (MFP). Designed for workgroups of 30 to 50 people, the M9050 features the Easy Select control panel, which was integrated into its workgroup series two years ago, but has now been extended to colour laserjets.
“When you look at the screen, everything you want to do is all on that screen,” says Ryan Dudgeon, a category business manager at HP Canada in Mississauga, Ont. Take HP’s Universal Print Driver, which manages several devices on a network, as an example. A M9050 user would push a network ID button on the Easy Select control panel, grab the IP address and enter it, allowing them to start printing in seconds.
\“Most of the functions that common users are doing can be done in about two pushes of an LCD screen or less,” Dudgeon says. “We don’t want them going through extensive menus.” This saves on help-desk calls and increases productivity, something that can be measured as part of a customer’s return on investment, he adds.
The M9050 prints at speeds of 50 pages per minute, with the first page out as fast as eight seconds from “Ready” mode, according to HP. Scan to e-mail and additional digital sending features allow conversion of paper-based documents into electronic files. “What we’re seeing is that the IT admin sets up the device one time, then remotely manages them,” he says. “The user doesn’t necessarily know it’s being tweaked for them.” HP’s M9050 costs $13,799.