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.
Subject:Boldface From:Jim Morgan <jim -dot- morgan -at- ips-sendero -dot- com> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Thu, 21 Oct 1999 17:02:57 -0700
We are currently discussing whether there is any advantage, in procedures,
to bolding the names of control elements within the software (e.g., dialog
box names or text box & button labels). We know plenty of companies do
this, but is it worthwhile?
Our debate so far is between those who say:
"Bolding such items helps the user to focus on them just by scanning the
page. The user immediately knows what's important within the procedure. The
words 'jump out' at the user."
and those who say
"It's not worth the extra formatting time spent by the writer. The user
should be reading the entire sentence anyway. Besides, the page quickly
gets cluttered with too many bold words. They lose their impact after a
Does anyone have any *real* statistics from *real* usability tests, not
just intuitive opinions or anecdotes? We have plenty of those.