Re: Screen captures

Subject: Re: Screen captures
From: Vrushali Humnabadkar <vrushali -dot- sudhir -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2013 20:54:06 +0530

Visual communication through the images or screen captures, icons, symbols,
diagrams and flowcharts have not been an integral part of technical
communication for nothing, if only words had the power to convey all.

Research does say that words comprise only 5-7% of brain retention where as
51%+ retention happens through visual communication. What is already proven
and understood need not be a point of contention.

The point of discussion here is how can technical communicators improve
upon this known fact and use it for the betterment of our audience.

It totally depends on who your audience is but in any case whether it is a
5 year old or an 80 year old person images, videos, illustrations and
everything under the sun that can be pictorially depicted wins no matter
what, for the depth it carries. Thats what I would like to believe.
Regards,
Vrushali Humnabadkar
Technical Communicator

On Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 5:04 AM, Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com> wrote:

> I've been following this discussion with interest but what about the
> users? Has there been any research or surveys to try to assess whether
> users want them/don't want them, love them/hate them?
>
> Best Regards,
>
> Mike
> --
> Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
> Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - WordPress Websites
> Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - Custom Microsoft Word templates
> (262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com - http://www.writestarr.com
> President - Working Writers of Wisconsin http://www.workingwriters.org/
>
>
> On 2013-02-14 11:07 am, Janoff, Steven wrote:
>
>> The issue of whether screen captures are effective or not does not
>> appear to be a simple one. I don't feel that it can be dismissed with
>> anecdotal evidence one way or the other.
>>
>> The academics studying this at the doctoral level -- not just
>> doctoral students but established scholars -- have not been able to
>> offer conclusive proof either way, unless I'm just missing a
>> particular study (I've only scanned their results).
>>
>> Admonitions such as "It depends" or "Know your audience" don't
>> address the larger issue.
>>
>> This is a cognitive issue, remember. I believe images and text are
>> processed in different areas of the brain. The question becomes
>> whether an image can enhance text-based learning at all, and if so,
>> under what circumstances and, for screen caps, what kind of screen cap
>> -- but you also have to establish how you're going to measure the
>> outcome. What determines whether a screen cap is an effective aid or
>> not? Can screen caps sometimes hinder learning, as has already been
>> suggested? Are they neutral in some contexts?
>>
>> I don't see how any of us can offer a conclusive decision based on
>> our experience if the academics can't. To me it's just guesswork.
>>
>> There's a need for more research in this area. Until that happens,
>> to me this falls into the same category as trying to decide a style
>> point when there is no guideline in the established style authorities
>> (CMOS, AP, MMOS, GPO, etc.).
>>
>> Also, the research that has been done is somewhat dated. How do you
>> account for the increased sophistication of today's users in UI
>> operation versus those of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s? It's possible
>> that mental models are not static but evolve. I mean that in two
>> ways. My mental model of a particular software app evolves as I use
>> it and become familiar with it. And our collective mental model about
>> certain kinds of UI's evolve as technology evolves. So, for example,
>> teenagers can master the current crop of digital devices with ease,
>> while many of us Baby Boomers long for the days when a TV had two
>> knobs: ON-OFF/VOLUME and CHANNEL.
>>
>> I think any of us are hard-pressed to say "Get rid of all screen
>> shots" or "Use lots of screen shots" or even "Use some screen shots"
>> with any authority. Which is a shame, because this is our field,
>> after all.
>>
>> Steve
>>
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^**^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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> for creating mobile help.
>
> Learn more: http://bit.ly/WNaCzd
>
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^**^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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--
Warm Regards,

Vrushali Humnabadkar

9860577696

[image: View Vrushali Humnabadkar's LinkedIn profile]View Vrushali
Humnabadkar's profile
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
STC Vice President Nicky Bleiel is giving a free webinar on best practices
for creating mobile help.

Learn more: http://bit.ly/WNaCzd

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Screen captures: From: Anonymous
RE: Screen captures: From: Janoff, Steven
RE: Screen captures: From: Mike Starr

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