in our app, we show certain PDF documents. We want to enable the customer to print this from the phone (using AirPrint enabled printers for example). Tapping on the print/share icon will open a dialog similar to this:

Print & Share Dialog

The question:

From UX perspective, do I use a Share Icon or a Print Icon in this case? If I choose Print Icon, it might be confusing that there are options other than printing available. If I choose Share Icon, might be confusing that you're supposed to click on SHARE to be able to PRINT.

Any thoughts?

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Since you want to provide 2 different actions in one single button, you can use iOS Action Icon enter image description here in which, according to Apple's Human Interface Guidelines is:

Shows a modal view containing share extensions, action extensions, and tasks, such as Copy, Favorite, or Find, that are useful in the current context.

The use of this icon is related with the Share extension you show on your example and makes sense to use, since, again, according to Apple's Human Interface Guideline:

Share extensions provide a convenient way to share information from the current context with apps, social media accounts, and other services. Action extensions let people initiate content-specific tasks, such as adding a bookmark, copying a link, or saving an image. People access share extensions and action extensions by tapping an Action button in an app to display an activity view. An activity view shows only extensions relevant to the current context.

The iOS user expects to find the screen that you are showing under this icon.

share icon

This icon is also used in Safari - as well as in other apple apps-, which you make it easier for the user to remember what is under it. I would propose for consistency reasons, to use this icon. The iOS user will feel familiar with the icon and most probably will find how the can print.

When people think of 'sharing' something, that's usually interpreted as via social media (FB, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn...) or email rather than printing as printing a document could be used for a number of reasons (keeping for own records etc. rather than sharing with others).

As per the iOS image you've shared I would try and separate the sharing button from the print button to avoid confusion. If print is a less used function of your app you could consider putting it in a sub-menu, similar to the 'More shown in your screenshot'

  • This is a good way of thinking, but under sharing button, you can find print in most native applications – Dimitra Miha Jun 8 '17 at 9:23
  • Are you referring to the button you mention in your answer? As (technically) that's referred to as an action button. I'm guessing its thought of as a sharing button as that's the most common actions to find within. – Joe Taylor Jun 8 '17 at 9:29
  • Yes, I am referring to this icon. You are right, it is called an action's icon – Dimitra Miha Jun 8 '17 at 9:31

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