Re: Screen Captures; was, RE: Synonym for "cycle through"

Subject: Re: Screen Captures; was, RE: Synonym for "cycle through"
From: INKtopia Admin <admin -at- inktopia -dot- net>
To: "Porrello, Leonard" <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 14:00:25 -0400

Leonard,

The archives are right where they've always been. The new design of the
home page may have confused you a bit (techwr-l.com automatically redirects
to techwhirl.com), but it's easier than it used to be. You can click the
Email Discussion Groups link at the top of the banner and select Search
Email Archives. Or you can go to techwr-l.com/archives or
techwhirl.com/archives, or even google techwr-l archives and you'll get
there.

Regards,

Connie

On Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 12:54 PM, Porrello, Leonard
<lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>wrote:

> Granted the increasing prevalence of icon graphics in GUIs (iPhone,
> Android, ribbon menus), this is an excellent topic and it has appeared a few
> times on the list. I went to the techwr-l web site to see if I could dig up
> any old threads, and I couldn't figure out to where the new owners have
> moved the archive. Help? Anyone?
>
> Several years ago, someone in Sweden (I forgot his name) did some extensive
> usability research, for his PhD thesis, into the helpfulness of screen
> captures. He found that screen captures consisting of parts of screens taken
> out of context actually slow down the user. Screen captures of entire
> screens are neutral, and screen captures of entire screens--with call
> outs--do help the user (but minimally). In other words, except for the case
> in which the partial screen capture slows down the user, screen shots don't
> do much to enhance usability.
>
> I think we can take his research with a grain of salt and argue that for
> confusing interfaces (aka poorly designed interfaces) screen captures can go
> a long way. I would also add that the research didn't look at the value (or
> lack thereof) of including an introductory screen capture of an entire
> screen/dialog box as a "hand-holding" device to orient the user.
>
> When online help is accessed from a GUI and the link places the user on the
> page that has the info he needs, I never include screen captures. For guides
> that users look to for procedural help, often before cracking open the GUI,
> I'll orient the user by including a screen capture of the page they will
> start at.
>
> To help to minimize translation costs and add a bit of color in the case
> where a GUI features labeled options and icons that do not contain words
> (such as the paper clip in the ribbon menu of Word), instead of saying
> something like "Click Attach File", I would say, "Click [paper clip icon]".
> I do not say, "Click the [paper clip icon] icon." I haven't seen any
> research on using icons to the exclusion of words in help text, so I'd
> appreciate any thoughts anyone may have.
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:
> techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of
> Weissman, Jessica
> Sent: Friday, October 14, 2011 9:17 AM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: RE: Synonym for "cycle through"
>
> I am no longer sure whether screen shots in manuals are useful enough to be
> worth the trouble of creating them and keeping them up to date. If the
> reader is in front of the actual screen, the picture in the manual is
> redundant.
>
> I can think of a few reasons screen shots mght be useful:
>
> - to help readers be sure they're following directions for the right screen
> - to help reviewers figure out whether the manual is correct and useful -
> reviewers usually look at the document in isolation, not in front of the app
> - to make the manual more visually attractive
>
> Manuals do look incomplete without the screen shots, but that may just be
> because we're used to seeing them.
>
> Of course I may be smarting from having to update a whole bunch of screen
> shots because the developers changed the capitalization on two field labels
> that appear on a lot of screens. The sharp-eyed reviewer thought it was
> important enough for me to fix.
>
> - Jessica
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References:
RE: Synonym for "cycle through": From: Weissman, Jessica
Screen Captures; was, RE: Synonym for "cycle through": From: Porrello, Leonard

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