If you’re a successful website designer, that’s a pretty sure sign that you’re willing to be flexible and cater to different audiences. Having one niche specialism isn’t usually enough, since the demands of the job will vary hugely. When designing pages for a site, one area you might sometimes have to consider could be designing with printing in mind, if the content you’re creating needs to work in an online format as well as on printed materials.
Making your website suitable for printing doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be physically printed on paper, but it could mean a different document type that requires the same format. For example, people may wish to use services such as GrabzIt, an online tool with an API that easily converts webpages to PDF documents for free. You can actually incorporate tools like this into your website, which will help to ensure your webpage is available to the user as you originally intended in a format that works for them.
However, before you reach that stage you’ll need to design it carefully. Even if you are adaptable and willing to take on new challenges, this might be tricky and require different skills to what you usually rely on. You will need a combination of design skills along with coding knowledge to get this to work.
Firstly, you need to understand the basic concept of print style sheets. Some may consider these antiquated, but it’s true that many people still prefer to print out webpages to read at their leisure, and sometimes with important documentation this can actually be essential. A print style sheet needs to be created in your webpage code to ensure there is a specific layout and style that can be applied to your content for print media, whether this is a PDF or a physical paper printout.
The kinds of changes you might make to your print style sheet compared to your regular webpage formatting may include removing any buttons and navigation menus, since these obviously don’t function when the page becomes static. This usually means the content itself is more prominent and can take up a larger space. You might also want to look at changing how links are displayed, since they won’t actually be connected to anything once they’re in a static form. Consider displaying the URLs in the content so people can see where they need to find out more.
Formatting in general is the most important thing here. Background colours may be changed to make them more printer-friendly, usually by making them white or light rather than a solid dark colour, and text would need changing to match. You may want to remove the vast majority of unnecessary images, branding and other stylistic elements in favour of a simple layout that just covers the basics. People will generally be printing your webpage because they want to read it rather than appreciate its design, so considering this will go a long way towards helping you get this design right.