Rhetorical question about formatting devices :-)

Subject: Rhetorical question about formatting devices :-)
From: "Nealon, Jessica" <Jessica -dot- Nealon -at- McKesson -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 10:59:19 -0400

Are there any left? Is there some industrious writer with ties to layout
design that are working on something other that bold, italics, underline,
and the courier font?

Set the scene: I need to emphasize one word to convey conceptual
understanding. Bold? That's for anything the user clicks. Italics? That's
for anything in a drop-down list or to describe the result of an action.
Some writers here still use it for emphasis too, but I think it's confusing
to use one highlighting device to both represent and explain the
application. I mean, I get confused and I'm a writer. Underline? Not in the
internet culture. Anyone ever click and click and click on an underlined
word before it slowly dawns on you that the underline is serving a
rhetorical and not a technical purpose?

Isn't it bizarre how we have used up all our formatting devices to represent
items of the programs we're documenting and now, when we need to use them
for..., you know, ...writing, there aren't any left? Sure we can use them
the "old-fashioned way" in addition to representing the program but not
without disturbing (somewhat) user understanding. Or, are users more
sophisticated than that?

Has anyone faced this and come up with some new ones? That are not too
quirky like "click this **before** you click that." I don't know, does that
one work?

BTW, I realize that there are more formatting devices than I have listed
here. What I am getting at is when the style guide seems to have grabbed
most of the ones that an LCU would recognize.


Jessica Nealon
Technical Writer
Paragon Product Assurance Group - CLT
> McKesson Information Solutions, Inc

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