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I tried something similar in a manual once, but used angle brackets
instead of arrows (Insert > Arrow > For Action).
To my great surprise, the reviewers (electrical and software engineers)
were initially confused by it and requested that I change it to another
format (which unfortunately took up more real estate in my document).
Funny thing was, the draft document also went to our training group to
use for developing training materials, and they kept the angle brackets.
They had no problem understanding the angle brackets, and neither did
the customers who came in for training.
Senior Technical Writer
Home Wireless Networks, Inc. mailto:cwhutchings -at- homewireless -dot- com
One of the writers in our department has suggested that we use an arrow
symbol in our procedures to guide users through menus and commands. =20
Instead of writing...
1. From the File menu, choose New, and then choose Mail Message
We would write...
1. File --> New --> Mail Message.
Our audience is system administrators and other techie types, however in
a year or so, we estimate that our audience will become more mainstream.
I don't think that a system administrator would be terribly confused by
the arrows, and perhaps they are more efficient after the user of the =
document becomes familiar with them. However, the arrows seem awkward =
Does anyone know of usability studies on this subject? What are your =
experiences (specifically with more advanced, computer-savvy users)?