Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design

Adventures in Japanese UI Design: Sharp Konbini Printers

It’s time to look at another Japanese user interface design. This time we will look at the Sharp konbini printer which you can find in some Japanese convenience (コンビニ) stores like Lawson’s and FamilyMart.

For those who don’t know, Japanese convenience stores are easily Japan’s best feature. Here is a small list of things you could do at a convenience store: buy lunch, get an Amazon.com delivery, get cash from an ATM, pay your bills, grab a late night snack. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design The Sharp konbini printer take copies, fax documents, scan documents and print both regular documents and photos (on photo paper).

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design This is what the printer looks like. Notice on the right hand side there is a coin slot.

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design The coin slot in detail (from another machine). This is how you pay. Paying with coins is a bit old school, but this is a good way to get rid of your small coins.

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design Coin slot in detail (from another machine).

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design My Japanese is not so great yet so the first thing to do is change the language. The standard user interface is in Japanese, but the machine offers 8 languages including Russian, Spanish, English and Chinese.

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design Next you have to get your files on the machine. Some machines allow you to bring your files on all kinds of media. Most machines only allow USB tranfers and transfers through a specific smartphone app called PrintSmash. You can only download it if you have a Japanese iTunes account.

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design This is menu where you select the type of print. Notice you can print up to A3 size. You can print photo IDs or index prints, as well as multiple photos per page.

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design Folder selection – Basically you are browsing the filesystem of your inserted media here to find the files you want to print.

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design Example of an error. Unfortunately the system couldn’t handle a 10Mb JPG file.

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design Notice how the system treats the metadata created by Mac OSX as broken files. This can be confusing at times.

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design A preview of what the print will look like. I printed an image from Howl’s Moving Castle, one of my favorite films. Printing this image on photo paper costs ¥120, or €0,82 at the current exchange rate. For reference printing a black and white A4 costs ¥10 or €0,68.

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design While your document is printing you can keep yourself busy with a little game. Very Japanese.

Konbini Printer - Japanese UI User Interface Design This is the end result! The print is pretty good for the price and convenience of being able to do it yourself.

I really like these conbini printers: you don’t have to have a printer at home, or worry about ordering ink. You can make photo prints and relatively cheap document prints. And if you are in Japan, there’s probably a convenience store close to you anyway.

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