I am designing a photo gallery site where every picture page has a link for a high resolution version of the picture intended for printing, but I found out that people are simply clicking 'save as...' on the low-res version that gets displayed and printing that instead. The printed pictures come out fairly usable but could be much better if the high-res version was used instead.

What are some good ideas for preventing non-techie users from printing the low-res version that is intended for screen usage only?

  • why not "High Quality"? Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 17:48
  • "High Quality" seems a better option than "High Resolution", but I still don't think users would relate it to printing. Maybe being a little more explicit is more appropriate. I will follow Feinman's advice and run a little test with some users. Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 20:06

3 Answers 3


Give them a "print" option, rather than a "high res" option? Sounds like you might not be speaking your users' language.

Also, how much of a pain is this really to users? Maybe there is a reason they save and print the low-res version, e.g., download times, or they worry that they won't get what they see.

A simple usability test with a representative user could reveal a lot here.


Have a rollover state right on the image with big letters superimposed that say Click To Download Print Version. Clicking that could either directly download a version in the browser, or more simple, open the high-res version in a new tab where they can right-click to save it.

This way, you give them what they want in an obvious manner before then even get to right-click to download the low-res version.


It's probably not an option to use the high-res version of a picture and stick it in a container having the dimensions of the low-res version, right, and let the user's browser scale it appropriately? Because I can't think of another way to do what you want without re-training the user.

Consider adding a big "Print Me" button which links to a page that contains the high-res image and some JavaScript that automatically pops up the browser's print dialog.

  • Having the browser scale the high-res version is not an option since it would degrade experience for all users by making the site slower and benefit just a few that are actually printing the pictures. Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 17:31
  • But @ThiagoArrais it would only be the print version, which could call a different image though JS. The high res image would only be loaded for printing, not for navigating.
    – Yisela
    Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 10:46

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