Re: Graphics for hardware instructions

Subject: Re: Graphics for hardware instructions
From: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, KevinMcLauchlan <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2009 10:53:50 -0800 (PST)

Obviously you're talking about a document that will be distributed electronically. The graphics you're writing about would be impossible in hard copy.

If you really need the graphics at all, it would be a heck of a lot quicker, simpler, and cheaper to do head-on views of each facet of the product.

And maybe not all of them. Why bother giving the user a graphic of the underside of the thing where there are no controls the user has to worry about, no indicators that could tell him anything, and nothing happens? You don't want to create bloatware. That drives up your printing cost, increases your need for file storage, complicates the process of keeping the document updated in the future, and increases the chance the file will become corrupted and unstable the next time you open it.

Worst of all, it can produce an upset user if you drown him with a bunch of information he doesn't need. Unless those graphics are part of the document that you're sure will be looked at, the user may never see them. Most users will go directly only to the info they really need at the time. If you somehow force him to look at the graphics, he will be annoyed because that wastes his time. If the user's computer isn't powerful enough, trying to view those graphics may cause his box to lock up or slow down so much he has to abend to get control back. That is not conducive to user satisfaction.

Why waste money on graphics the user doesn't actually need and which may cause him a problem? Give careful consideration to whether or not they are really useful enough.


--- On Fri, 11/20/09, McLauchlan, Kevin <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com> wrote:

> From: McLauchlan, Kevin <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
> Subject: Graphics for hardware instructions
> To: "TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Date: Friday, November 20, 2009, 10:54 AM
> For a hardware product, is it
> reasonable to want 3D line drawings of the equipment that
> can be rotated to show all sides (and exterior features) of
> the product?
>
> I'd like to get a pro illustrator to create such a thing
> from samples or from engineering drawings, and provide me
> with source files that could be manipulated (preferrably in
> a FLOSS vector-art program) by me to take whatever views I
> desired, show connections to other equipment, show
> rack-mounting, etc.
>
> Does anybody work this way?
>
> We have no in-house illustrators. Our mechanical hardware
> design is done by outside contractors. Our in-house
> arteeeestic types are more of the web-design or "here's a
> lovely new logo and corporate color scheme" sort. 
>
> My skills are limited, which means I could get where I want
> to be eventually, but there's no time. I think it should be
> good to have a pro do the initial work and leave me with
> something good-looking and fully manipulable. 
>
>
>
>
>
> Kevin McLauchlan
> Senior Technical Writer
> SafeNet, Inc.
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Are you looking for one documentation tool that does it all? Author,
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Try the latest Doc-To-Help 2009 v3 risk-free for 30-days at:
http://www.doctohelp.com/

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but still has all the power you need. Get results fast in an intuitive
authoring environment that works like a familiar word processor.
http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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Graphics for hardware instructions: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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