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7. Fax Modem Hidden in Odd PDF Button

In Mac OS X 10.3, if you wanted to fax a document, you would choose File > Print and then click the Fax button at the bottom of the Print dialog box. Inexplicably, Apple screwed up this simple and straightforward feature in Tiger. Fax capabilities are still in the Print dialog box, but now they are hidden in an oddball PDF button that doubles as a pop-up menu (see Figure 7).

Figure 7

Figure 7 Panther put the fax feature right up front (left), but Tiger buries it in the PDF button/menu (right).

This is a classic case of exposing the implementation model instead of adjusting the interface to fit the user’s conceptual model. The engineers’ erroneous thinking is that Tiger saves faxes in PDF format, so naturally the Fax command belongs in the PDF menu. But most users don’t know nor care about the format for fax files, so it’s illogical to expect them to look in the PDF menu for the fax feature.

Apple should have left the Fax button out in the open where it was easy to find. If Apple had to jettison the Fax button to make room for the Supplies button, a much more logical solution would have been to add a Fax Modem choice to the Printer pop-up menu. After all, a fax machine is just a remote printer, and it should be possible for the user to choose it just like any other available printer.

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