Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 88, Issue 10

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 88, Issue 10
From: wsfn <WSFN -at- rocketmail -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2013 10:24:24 -0800 (PST)

Dear Anonymous;
You may want to check with your corporate folks to determine if some of your customer base is U.S. Federal Government or possibly European.  If so, the reason they hesitate to include the screen caps is because they can be considered Section 508 (or the European equivalent) incompliant (not accessible for persons using screen readers, specifically) if not handled well. 
If you determine that a federal contract or staff is involved in consuming your documentation (online or otherwise) it will be required to be Section 508 compliant.  You can select appropriate screen shots and have no problems if you follow some simple steps.
1. Does the graphic provide any additional or different information from the text surrounding it? (Yes?, add that to the alt text and/or the figure label)  (No?, keep the alt tag and figure label short and sweet, no need to explain anything... or don't include the image at all).
2.  Make sure every graphic provided includes an alt tag and/or a figure label which clearly indicates the purpose of the graphic.  "Screen XYZ showing PDQ state." OR "Screen XYZ showing the drop-down as described in step 4."
3.  IF the content is really complex and has call-outs or highlighted content, include an extended explanation as well as an alt tag (provide a link to it in the alt tag)...avoid if at all possible.
4.  Loophole which can be used in extreme situations: provide a point of contact and how to reach them to provide additional details in an alternative format (like read to someone, email, plain text document, etc.) that explains the content that is not easily provided in this format.  LAST RESORT ONLY.

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus!

> From: "techwr-l-request -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l-request -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
>To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
>Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 1:55 AM
>Subject: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 88, Issue 10
>Message: 1
>Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2013 12:13:42 -0500
>From: Anonymous <anonymous -at- techwhirl -dot- com>
>To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
>Subject: Screen captures
>    <CAC8ceKnm7dbdFiA=2GLXa3ND6Mevv_nEVFJN_8Mx66CChR2dxg -at- mail -dot- gmail -dot- com>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>Please post all responses to the list as individual replies will not be
>forwarded to the original poster.
>My current position has a corporate policy that discourages screen
>captures. In the documents I'm working on (I just inherited them) there are
>numerous screen captures. Right now for pretty much each procedure that
>spawns a new screen or dialog box there's a screen capture at the start of
>the procedure. It's a complex software product and I believe the screen
>captures add value. I don't believe we've surveyed either the development
>team or the user community. The documents are currently published as PDFs
>but may be additionally be converted into web-based documents in the future
>(both the PDF version and the web-based version would be available to
>How much value do you believe screen captures add?
>Are you aware of any research as to how much either real or perceived value
>screen captures add?
>Do users want them even if we don't (they can add significant maintenance
>issues but I'm okay with that)?
>I'm considering proposing using conditional text capabilities and have a
>couple possible scenarios:
>One would be to produce two versions of the documents... one with screen
>captures and one without.
>For the HTML-based version, an option would be to produce documents with
>clickable thumbnails that would allow the reader to expand the thumbnail of
>any screen capture to full size. The clickable screen captures would have
>to have their own home on a server somewhere.
>Thank you.
STC Vice President Nicky Bleiel is giving a free webinar on best practices
for creating mobile help.

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