"Outdented" bullets and designers (was "Extended lists)

Subject: "Outdented" bullets and designers (was "Extended lists)
From: Anthony Veeder <anthony -at- EMULTEK -dot- CO -dot- IL>
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 10:33:18 EET

Beth Mazur, in two messages, referred to the use of outdented
bullets, and the role of graphic designers in document design:

>Needless to say, I'm in agreement with those who have responded
>previously that suggest that outdented/extended lists
>a) interfere with the natural preference to move back to the
>"virtual" left margin and
>b) make it unclear where the list items belong in the hierarchy
>of the document.

>I am partial to indented bullet/enumeration lists. They seem to
>be the most common type. Our graphic designers seem to prefer the
>outdent for "design" reasons. However, I believe that type to be
>the most unreadable. I was simply looking for feedback to either
>support or contradict my position.

1. Our manuals were initially designed by a graphic designer and
he too made use of the outdented bullet, thus:

Heading Level

Body text Body text Body text Body text Body text
Body text Body text Body text Body text Body text.

o Bullet list
o Bullet list

Body text Body text Body text Body text Body text
Body text Body text Body text Body text Body text.

I wrote the documentation, using his design, tinkering
with it where I saw fit. *All* our documentation has the
dreaded outdented bullets, and I don't see the problems that
Beth raises (the natural preference to move back to the
"virtual" left margin and the lack of clarity where the list
items belong in the hierarchy of the document).

In fact, it looks nice and flows well, IMHO. I do know
that this style is very rare which made me think that either
people just copy each other's styles, or there's really
evidence that the "outdented" bullet is bad.

2. This raises some important questions concerning the role of
graphic designers in document design. How many people's
documentation is initially designed by graphic designers
as opposed to technical writers. Good technical writers have
the design knowledge or instinct; most don't, and the level
of much documentation's graphic design is poor as a result.

Then there's typographic design, which is a speciality in
itself...

--
Anthony Veeder eMail: anthony -at- emultek -dot- co -dot- il
Technical Documentation Tel: +972-4-999-0044
Emultek Fax: +972-4-999-0050
Israel


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