Re: warning labels

Subject: Re: warning labels
From: ejray -at- OKWAY -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 1994 14:00:47 CST

I would suggest looking in Tech Comm, vol 38, number 1.
Charles Kemnitz wrote a comprehensive article about the
ANSI standards (sorry, forgot the number) for warning
labels, including colors, terminology, graphics, and
specific examples. As I recall, Charles was somehow
involved with drafting the specifications for those

BTW, for those who aren't familiar with this set of
standards for warnings, they have five labels: Danger,
Warning, Caution, Important, and Notice. Each term,
listed here in decreasing level of severity, carries
specific meanings. You say Danger if, and only if,
someone could be killed or seriously injured. If I
misstated any of these, please correct me--I don't have
the article in front of me.

On a related note, I haven't yet found a effective way
to relate these to computer documentation. When I was
writing for a heavy equipment manufacturer, it was easy
to use Danger, Warning, etc. correctly. Now that I am
doing computer documentation, it is much more difficult
and I have essentially discarded those standards.
Warning, in its ANSI sense, is rarely if ever
applicable, but you have to say something when you tell
people, for example, what it means to type:
format c:
rm -R *

How do others handle this?

ejray -at- okway -dot- okstate -dot- edu

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: warning labels
Author: csides -at- FSCVAX -dot- FSC -dot- MASS -dot- EDU at SMTP
Date: 3/2/94 5:15 PM

A student of mine is doing some freelance writing on the side for a small
startup hardware firm (as in nuts, bolts, ladders, and hammers as opposed to
computers). He asked me about information concerning the design (text and
graphics) of warning labels/messages.

I know David Dobrin had an interest in this at one time, and he may have
published something about it. John Brockmann, I believe, did also, but
back in the early 1980s.

If anyone has suggestions as to where my student might find some of this
information, I will pass it on to him.


Charles Sides (csides -at- fscvax -dot- fsc -dot- mass -dot- edu)

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