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Functionality

Functionality and Workflow exist hand-in-glove with Ease-of-Use. As product differentiators, they must be clearly identified in setting user expectations—in fact, it may be a threshold factor in the purchase decision. Like Ease-of-Use, Functionality and Workflow differentiate a product in a highly competitive marketplace, and may bring added value that culminates in a higher degree of customer satisfaction, and increased sales.

Functionality may include additional features, such as paper trays to enhance capacity and reduce user interventions, or it may include the fundamental ability to handle larger format documents, such as Ledger-size (B- or A3-size). Both types of increased Functionality offer potentially increased Usability.

Sometimes design details all but eliminate a functionality improvement; for example, a printer is available with an optional second input tray; however, paper from the second tray feeds through an opening in the first tray thereby making it impossible to reload the first tray while the printer is printing from the second, defeating a significant reason why some users may have purchased the additional tray at all.

Remembering user aversion to manuals, actual usage of additional functionality is again a challenge. In an MFP, for example, resolving potential conflict among the shared resources is critical. These resources include the internal processor and related software as well as communication networks, document scanner, the print engine and any involved workstation. How is the priority of an incoming fax and a network print job rationalized with an ongoing document copy? How is the priority of a short document copy rationalized with an ongoing large network print job? These and other questions need to be resolved within the Usability and Functionality arena.

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