Re: Overcoming Technophobia

Subject: Re: Overcoming Technophobia
From: Fred Wersan <wersan -at- ZEUS -dot- MA30 -dot- BULL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1993 17:45:40 EST

Bonnie Graham writes in her list:

5) Be graphical. Non-phobic users probably don't need a screen shot of every
screen. Phobic users do, because they're never really sure they're at the right
place until you tell them they are.


I think that even people who aren't phobic like screen captures, though
not of every prompt, warning, etc. (At least I sure do) I think they are a great
tonic for people who may be "written procedure" phobic, don't trust the
documentation to get it right, or don't trust themselves to read the
documentation and follow it. And, sad to say, they help you overcome poorly
written procedures.
Once again, know your audience and its needs.

This could be grist for a sub-thread. In a recent issue of Technical
Communication (STC pub, for those who aren't members) William Horton said he
wasn't a big fan of screen captures, but said if you're going to use them, keep
em smallish.

I was working on a book with scads of them, but I decided to keep them. My
audience is (for this product) largely European, with English not their primary
language. I wanted a visual backup for the words. And in some testing of the
manual here, I noticed users checking the screen on the terminal against the
screen in the book. Like the boor on the NFL commercial, I'm a big fan.

Fred Wersan
Bull HN Informations Systems
300 Concord Rd.
Billerica, Mass. 01821
f -dot- wersan -at- bull -dot- com

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