RE: Screen captures in multiple lanaguages or just in English? was, "RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing"

Subject: RE: Screen captures in multiple lanaguages or just in English? was, "RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing"
From: "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>
To: "Robert Lauriston" <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>, "Techwr-l" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 2009 11:05:47 -0700

Good question. I wish it weren't so, but according to some research, screen captures of buttons and icons enable users to complete tasks more quickly:

"The authors found that using the manual with button and icon information lead to the fastest task performance, whereas subjects using the textual manual performed slightly worse" (Nowaczyk and James, 1993).

On the other hand, this isn't necessarily an iron-clad argument for using images of buttons and icons. The same study also tested a manual that included buttons, icons, AND full screen captures, and found the following: "The manual with buttons, icons and screen captures lead to worst performance and lowest appreciation of helpfulness."

This tells me that the difference is between using screen captures of buttons and icons versus not using them is probably negligible. However, screen captures look nice and my boss likes them.

There is also another possible reason for using them, but I am not so confident in my reasoning. Using an actual screen shot arguably helps prevent problems with translation (in the case where the translator does not have an already translated version of the GUI to work from). For example, a button featuring "Find" can be translated into Italian as either "Trova," or "Cerca." If you are having your docs and GUI translated concurrently by different translators, using a capture of the icon from the translated GUI ensures that the text on the button will be correct. But maybe having the GUI and docs translated concurrently and/or using more than a single translator, is a really bad idea? Thoughts anyone? Or more to the point, does anyone with experience translating documentation have any experience with this issue?

Leonard

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Robert Lauriston
Sent: Monday, October 05, 2009 9:41 AM
To: beelia -at- pacbell -dot- net; Techwr-l
Subject: Re: Screen captures in multiple lanaguages or just in English? was, "RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing"

Is there any situation where placing a picture of a button is more
useful than simply typing the text (which is much faster and cheaper
to translate)?

On Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 9:27 AM, Leonard C. Porrello
<Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- soleratec -dot- com> wrote:
> Thanks for your message, Bee; it's particularly timely as I am looking
> into localizing my docs. The customer we are working with has their docs
> in several different languages and uses full screen captures (in all of
> the docs) from the English version of their application. We are
> considering using the same approach for our docs.
>
> I use full screen captures only to orient the reader. I do not use
> screen captures with call-outs or with graphically attached step-by-step
> directions. These would all remain in English in all versions of the
> docs.  I also use screen captures of buttons and icons. The icons are
> easy as they don't contain words; the buttons present more of a problem
> since they feature text (e.g., OK, Cancel, Finish, etc.) and would have
> to be translated. I do not have any partial screen captures. ...
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control! http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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References:
Re: Examples of Minimalist Writing: From: beelia
Screen captures in multiple lanaguages or just in English? was, "RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing": From: Leonard C. Porrello
Re: Screen captures in multiple lanaguages or just in English? was, "RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing": From: Robert Lauriston

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