RE: Use of screenshots in procedures?

Subject: RE: Use of screenshots in procedures?
From: <laura_johnson -at- agilent -dot- com>
To: <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 2010 15:45:43 -0600

A third reason to minimize screenshots is the cost of keeping them up to date, and potential confusion resulting from letting them get out of date. It's fairly common for small changes to the software (either your software or InstallShield itself) to cause some visible change to the InstallShield wizard, and if you've limited your instructions to "follow the wizard" plus decision support on any tricky bits, most of those minor changes won't force you to touch the doc at all.

My preference, like Sally's, is to keep the instructions minimal and focus on good clear text in the wizard itself. I have had situations like Kat's, where the wizard is inherently complicated (or so poorly designed that everyone's afraid to change it), and obviously in that case you gotta do what you gotta do.


-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Allison [mailto:maker -at- verizon -dot- net]
Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2010 10:29 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Fwd: Re: RE: Use of screenshots in procedures?

Reasons to include many screen shots:

1. Your audience is not proficient in English but is using an English-language manual. The screen shots provide confirmation that the process is going correctly.

2. Your UI is sufficiently complicated or feature-heavy that there is a lot going on in each window and you have to make multiple references to fields, lists, etc.

Reasons to minimize the number of screen shots:

1. Increases the cost of translation -- every screen shot has to be retaken in the target language, and all callouts have to be translated.

2. If you generate online help from the source file, it is very unhelpful to the users to have a help system that replicates the windows that are open online. Too much potential for confusion as to which is the active window and takes up too much screen space.

That's all I can think of off-hand.

In my recent contracts, I've seen a strong movement toward reducing the number of screen shots in user docs.



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Fwd: Re: RE: Use of screenshots in procedures?: From: Nancy Allison

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