RE: Graphics in line with text (little key graphics)

Subject: RE: Graphics in line with text (little key graphics)
From: amdohlman -at- uwalumni -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2004 07:36:55 -0700

Patrick wrote:
>>We use FrameMaker 6.0 to create our user manuals and documentation.
>>Recently, a marketing person suggested we insert a small thumbnail in
>>the text of the actual button that a user pushes. So, instead of "Press
>>Enter," it would be "Press (then you'd see the graphic of the key)".

What Dick and Bruce said - don't do it!

At my current job, we used to have a quick start guide and appendix that
used this very convention, with little key pictures (that were even 3D,
sorta). It looked okay, but really wasn't the best use of space. Worse,
while the key icons might be cute, they don't serve any purpose. It's just
a picture of a key; it doesn't serve to locate the key for users - if they
don't know where the Ctrl key is on the keyboard, the key graphic isn't
going to help them find it. They'll still have to look for it.

In my job, I like to ask myself "What's it doing?" for everything in the
documentation, from text to graphics to everything else. If it's not doing
something useful, productive, or informative, perhaps it should be tossed.
Definitely it should be examined closely. Toss this one, if you can.

Good luck,
Amy Dohlman

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