Re: Guidelines for including screenshots in numbered procedures

Subject: Re: Guidelines for including screenshots in numbered procedures
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 08:19:01 -0400

t (may I call you t?),

Your guidelines seem sensible. However, there is an additional strategy you may be able to apply that will reduce the need for screenshots still further.

You can include, perhaps as a preliminary section of your user guides, some generic screenshots that represent the various styles of UI used in your system. On these you can name specific sections of each screen so that you can later refer to them with a word or two. If the user knows which of the named sections to look in, or if certain controls are consistently located in a specific place, this can reduce the need for repetitive and function-specific screenshots later in the document.

If your UI is so inconsistent that no two screens have anything in common, then translation cost are the last thing you should worried about. Keeping an eye out for an armed mob of users surrounding your building ought to be a much higher priority.

Dick Margulis

tstorer -at- free -dot- fr wrote:

When to include screenshots in a step procedure

Before adding a screenshot, ask yourself if it answers the following

. Does the screenshot help the user locate the next action in a complex
user interface?
If it does, then users need the screenshot to avoid wasting time peering
at the screen making a decision as to where to guide the mouse. Include
the screenshot.

. Does the screenshot verify the results of an action when there might be
ambiguity, for example if the action can have different results depending
on previously applied settings or previous actions?
If it does, users need the screenshot to check at a glance whether they
have the right onscreen results to continue the procedure. Include the

If one or both of these conditions are met, include the screenshot with a
clear conscience. If neither of them are met, do not include the


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