Readability---initial caps?

Subject: Readability---initial caps?
From: Kat Nagel/MasterWork <katnagel -at- EZNET -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 1996 07:15:21 -0400

Please forgive the cross-posting. I vaguely remember a similar topic being
discussed on one of these lists (TECHWR-L, copyediting-l, utest) over a
year ago but <snivel> I didn't save the discussion. Now the issue has
become critical on a tight-deadline project, and I have nothing to back up
my opinion except --- er, um --- vague memories.

The project: a PowerPoint presentation with 45 slides


The issue:

The graphic artist on the project believes that projected text (overheads
and computer displays) is remembered better if -all- significant words
(everything except articles and short prepositions) have initial caps. He
bases this on many years of experience designing and presenting visual
materials to diverse audiences.

The writer (me) believes that while -titles- look good with every word
initial-capped, -body text- should follow standard usage: only proper
nouns and first-word-in-sentence should be capped.


Examples:

The Business Information Directory Is the
Business Person's Guide to <Company-name> Information
and
<bullet> Resolves Cross-Platform Integration Issues

vs.

The Business Information Directory is the
business person's guide to <Company-name> information
and
<bullet> Resolves cross-platform integration issues


I've done a quick search of my usability/readability files, and a quick
literature search at the library. While I can find plenty of material
saying "don't use ALL CAPS", I find only scattered oblique references to
the initial caps issue.

The other writer and artist on the project are sitting back and letting us
fight it out. At the moment, I've gotten my way only with the direct
quotes. Everything else (all 45 slides) has most words in headings and
body text with initial caps. It is driving me nuts.

Can anyone refer me to definitive articles/books that discuss readability
for initial caps vs standard usage? Or quote results from usability
studies they have done on this? Official deadline is Monday, June 17, but
simple text changes can be done on Tuesday if needed.

Thank you,


@Kat _______________________________ katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net
Kat Nagel MasterWork Consulting Services, Rochester, NY
Technical writing / Document design / Information services

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