RE: Figures in User Manuals

Subject: RE: Figures in User Manuals
From: Kim Roper <kim -dot- roper -at- vitana -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 12:56:23 -0500


Personally, I think a List of Figures can be useful. If I'm looking in a
reference for, say, flash memory, but I only want a pinout of a specific
chip, then it might be shown in a List of Figures but not in the Table of

In my mind, omitting the captions assumes that the reader is following the
text. If not, the reader must be willing to identify a figure by hunting
for the appropriate text (presumably adjacent) or can recognize the figure
without any text description (and then I have to wonder about the purpose of
the figure). Captions also lend a degree of precision to cross references
("Figure such-and-such," rather than "the picture on page such-and-such").

Right now, I'm working on a manual for a product with several plug-in cards.
I'd like the user to be able to look at a figure, look at a card, and be
able to the confirm the identity of the card without having to look any
further than the caption.

Cheers ... Kim


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