Re: Who cares about ethics?

Subject: Re: Who cares about ethics?
From: Doc <doc -at- vertext -dot- org>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 May 2003 00:22:20 -0400

On Thu, 10 Apr 2003 20:18:49 -0700, Keri Morgret
<morgret -at- stanfordalumni -dot- org> wrote:

You talk about re sizing and otherwise modifying the screen shot so
that it fits more comfortably on the page and ask if it is ethical to
do that.

So long as you are not misrepresenting the basic geography of the
screen to the point that the user will get confused, you should be

Screen shots are notoriously ugly and a pain to deal with, so I'd like
to make a couple of suggestions.

If the entire screen shot is not necessary, don't use the whole thing.
The real problem with making the screen shot smaller is the very real
possibility that you will make it unreadable. A graphic that is
unreadable is useless.

Most screen shot programs will let you select a portion of the target
window. By doing that you will keep the user focussed on the area
actually under discussion. You will also be able to keep the content
of the shot reasonable large and readable. Some programs will actually
let you add a "torn edge" border to indicate that it is only a portion
of the window.

As you know, re sizing bitmaps can create real problems with
resolution. I eventually created a decent work-around. During a slack
period, I created a series of templates in Visio of all the various
elements of the company's interfaces. This made it easy to create a
vector graphic that matched the screen shot and reproduced well in
PDF. I was rigorous about duplicating the UI exactly but I would only
show those elements that were being discussed. It also let people with
low vision enlarge the graphics without losing resolution.

I don't recommend this for an EOL product, but merely as a
possibility for the future.

The VerText Company
South Hamilton, MA

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." - G.K. Chesterton

>I've taken to putting my screenshot into MS Paint, selecting
>one pane, and "scooting" it over closer to the other pane. Now I don't
>need to shrink the picture as much to fit into the documentation, and the
>text is more readable. (this application does not have resizable windows,
>otherwise I would just shrink the window a bit and be done.)
>I personally feel this is ethical - I'm not hiding any content, and I'm
>making the documentation more usable to the end reader.
>But what about when I also scoot the OK and Cancel buttons over a little
>bit, so it looks more balanced, like I had taken the screenshot like that?
>What about when I line up a couple of elements in the forms so that it
>looks better visually, and makes it such that I can take a large amount of
>"dead" space out of the middle? Again, I'm not deleting any content, but
>now I'm not 100% reflecting exactly what the interface looks like.


Robohelp X3, from eHelp, lets you quickly and easily create
professional Help systems for all your Windows and Web-based
applications, including Net.

Order RoboHelp X3 in May and receive a $100 mail-in rebate, PLUS
free RoboScreenCapture and WebHelp Merge Module.

Order RoboHelp today:

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: apologies
Next by Author: Re: Who cares about ethics?
Previous by Thread: Documenting that bad tech writing kills people (ex fear and loathing thread)
Next by Thread: Re: Who cares about ethics?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads