Re: Re[2]: Numbers or Letters when labeling a graphic?

Subject: Re: Re[2]: Numbers or Letters when labeling a graphic?
From: sharipunyon -at- gmail -dot- com
To: Grant Hogarth <grant -at- hedgewizard -dot- net>
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 19:37:14 -0400

Imagine trying to decipher Chinese letters, or random symbols and matching them with call out information. Also, the order of items can matter, for example if you are documenting a workflow or movement along a path. Numbers are just easier to deal with than letters. And you would have to specify to the agency to not translate the letters, and believe me they will anyway, at least occasionally.

> On Apr 23, 2018, at 5:53 PM, Grant Hogarth <grant -at- hedgewizard -dot- net> wrote:
>
> Question: Why translate the letters at all? Effectively they are just symbols to link up item on screen with item in text.
> Nobody is "reading" them as text.
>
> Grant
>
> ------ Original Message ------
> From: sharipunyon -at- gmail -dot- com
> To: "Lin Sims" <ljsims -dot- ml -at- gmail -dot- com>
> Cc: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Sent: 4/23/2018 3:45:44 PM
> Subject: Re: Numbers or Letters when labeling a graphic?
>
>> Short answer: you are right.
>>
>> Long answer: relettering all the graphics for translations is costly and time consuming. You are also now dealing with different alphabets, including Asian, Cyrillic, Arabic, etc. in your graphic program. Ugly and expensive.
>>
>> At my last job, we only used numbers in the graphic, and created a callout table below, primarily because of translation.
>>
>> As to the placement of the callouts, Iâm not a graphic person, but it seems like you are separating the reference from the referee, and possibly adding a lot of lines everywhere.
>>
>>> On Apr 23, 2018, at 4:18 PM, Lin Sims <ljsims -dot- ml -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
>>>
>>> My coworker and I are having a minor disagreement over whether we should
>>> use numbers or letters when labeling a graphic. Said graphic could be
>>> elements of a UI or parts of a piece of hardware or a map showing locations
>>> of objects.
>>>
>>> He says use letters, because that way readers won't think the labels are
>>> correlated to procedure steps (if there are any).
>>>
>>> I say use numbers because you don't have to worry about translations to
>>> other languages if /when that happens, and also you don't have to worry
>>> about going over 26 labels in a diagram.
>>>
>>> He's mostly working on the hardware products, which don't normally have
>>> that many labels. Right now I'm working on software user interfaces, and
>>> they have a lot of items that need explaining (oddly, the interface is
>>> fairly clean and doesn't look crowded, but they managed to fit in a LOT of
>>> information and controls).
>>>
>>> I even showed him my "Illustrating Computer Documentation" book that has
>>> numbers, and he's not only disagreeing with the numbers, he says all the
>>> labels have to be aligned at the top and bottom with connecting lines,
>>> because putting the labels inside the graphic is "messy".
>>>
>>> I, of course, have labels all OVER the place (left to right, top to bottom,
>>> as close to what's being labeled as I can manage without obscuring
>>> anything).
>>>
>>> I plan to drag out my Tufte books to see if this is addressed at all (doubt
>>> it, but will look), but are there any good resources out there for best
>>> practises?
>>>
>>> There is no house style manual; that's one of the things we plan to address
>>> RSN.
>>>
>>> --
>>> Lin Sims
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>
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Numbers or Letters when labeling a graphic?: From: Lin Sims
Re: Numbers or Letters when labeling a graphic?: From: sharipunyon
Re[2]: Numbers or Letters when labeling a graphic?: From: Grant Hogarth

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