Re: Typographical treatment of GUI components

Subject: Re: Typographical treatment of GUI components
From: "Chuck Martin" <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 22:40:36 -0700

"Dick Margulis " <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net> wrote in message
news:206050 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> "Richard G. Combs"<richard -dot- combs -at- voyanttech -dot- com> wrote:
> >This kind of step works fine without bolding:
> >
> > From the Output list, choose...
> >
> >But this one? I think the component label begs for some kind of
> >distinction:
> >
> > From the Select an output format list, choose...
> >
> >I prefer bold to italic. For one thing, it's easier to read on line.
> >Quotation marks? Yuck! :-)
> My approach to this situation is to violate a rule and risk the wrath of
the TW gods. Even though I want to see the label on the GUI use sentence
case ("Select an output format"), what I write in the procedure is this
(using title case):
> From the Select an Output Format list, choose ...
> Now I well know that THEY say the words in the procedure should reflect
EXACTLY what is on the GUI. But y'know what? I like my way better. No bold,
no italic, no font change, no graphic buttons. And I'm very conservative
about caps in general (he says after typing two words in all caps in this
paragraph); so this treatment does not generally give the page measles.

I think that would lead to another problem as we get more and more into
robust embedded user assistance. Lables where users are to perform actions
are becoming more than short phrases with sentence case, but full sentences.
Making a full sentence initial capped in the documentation not only detracts
from readability, but makes it look like it was written by a programmer. (I
stereotype, I know, byt many, many programmers I've worked with--along with
a fair share of marketing and sales people--seem to like to initial cap

I'm not a fontographer, but I'd guess that there are probably fonts out
there that are designed such that the Roman weight is easy to read and that
the bold weight stands out without being overbearing. Such fonts might be a
first choice for manual design.

Robust embedded user assistance is becoming more and more useful.

Chuck Martin


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