My Dell MFP printer fiasco: Get the basic features right before adding stuff nobody uses


It’s hard to pick the most frustrating aspect of trying to fix the email functionality on my Dell printer/scanner. However, perhaps the most insulting thing was realizing that Dell spent lots of time and energy on all sorts of obscure features that I doubt many customers use. Meanwhile, the core features that a large portion of customer rely upon are poorly designed and implemented, and it feels like nobody tested them at all.

Here are some of the features that seem like overkill in a printer targeted towards home and small office usage:

– Settings for ancient printing protocols, such as Apple’s EtherTalk
– Ability to create separate profiles for each employee, presumably to track or restrict usage
– Detailed alerts for notifying different staff members when the printer runs out of paper or toner

Sure, these might be useful to some customers. But the majority of people just want the darn thing to print, scan and fax without too much fuss. Ironically, even if some people really value the advanced features, they might be unable to use them because the core features are so poorly done. In my case, who cares about lots of extra scanner settings if I can’t get the thing to scan in the first place?

No matter what type of product you sell, it pays to get the basics right before developing the more advanced features. When the core features don’t work as advertised, shoving in the advanced stuff just makes things worse for everyone.