RE: Never lead with a graphic

Subject: RE: Never lead with a graphic
From: rebecca_hopkins -at- comcast -dot- net (Rebecca Hopkins)
To: "Tech Whirlers" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 08 Jul 2008 19:44:28 +0000


Thanks for the advice - I'm just arming myself for the inevitable conversation with the boss.

I talked to one of my younger co-workers, and he said that's what he learned in school as well - never lead with a graphic. He could not remember the rationale, however. Since the boss is newer to the tech writing circus than I am, I'm thinking she also "received" this wisdom that I missed out on.

We're going through one of those clean-out-the-fridge, salute-it-or-paint-it re-orgs of the company's various doc sets, and standards for standardization's sake are being carved in stone as we speak. Two people who remember it from class outnumber one person's personal opinion. I will have to find references to back up my argument.

-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>
> I assume that my reader is using one of my applications and has come to
> the user docs because he doesn't understand something or is otherwise
> having problems. In other words, as he is reading my docs, he has the
> GUI open on his monitor. Granted that, while I usually do have
> introductory text, I ensure the graphic appears on the first screen of
> the help (or page in a PDF) for the given section. This quickly lets the
> reader know, "you are here". Explanatory text always comes after this.
> I can't imagine any reason why you wouldn't want a screenshot on the
> first page of a help section. Why not ask your boss his rationale? Or,
> maybe you can tell him that you don't understand and ask him to provide
> some samples.
> Leonard

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