TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Re: placement and annotation of screen captures in step-by-step instr uctions for software manuals
Subject:Re: placement and annotation of screen captures in step-by-step instr uctions for software manuals From:Linda Castellani <linda -at- GRIC -dot- COM> Date:Tue, 14 Apr 1998 15:20:49 -0500
My preference is for Method One, and I absolutely agree with you about
call-outs. They clutter the page and are not necessary in addition to the
step-by-step explanations. Even if the call-out might clarify which button
to use in a row of buttons whose functions aren't immediately evident, I
think it's much clearer to capture the button and include it in the
>1. Run the program. Screen A appears.
>2. On Screen A, click Next to reach Screen B.
>Whenever the user is supposed to click somewhere on the screen, or type
>something into one of the fields on the screen, my supervisor wants me
>to draw a circle on the area of the screen, make a callout pointing to
>the circle, and explain in the callout to "Click Here" or "Type <xyz>
>Here." She wants these call-outs in addition to the regular step-by-step
>explanations. I think that so many circles and call-outs clutters the
>page and suggests that the reader isn't intelligent enough to get the
>necessary information from the numbered steps and accompanying screen
>captures. Am I overestimating the intelligence of the average reader?
>Should I include the call-outs?