Icons for notes, warning, etc...

Subject: Icons for notes, warning, etc...
From: <Daniel_Hall -at- trendmicro -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 08:18:17 -0700

I've recently inherited a(nother) set of Frame templates to maintain and improve.

Leaving aside various other problems I need to fix, there's been some discussion in the department about adding icons to our notes and warnings, which are currently set off from the text by a horizontal line above and below, and the text "Note:" or "Warning:" in red at the left. (I know what you're thinking, but this is unrelated to the recent "Another tragic case of not reading the manual" thread!)

I have mixed feelings about the icon issue. While they tend to make help differentiate important information from the body text, they're also sometimes considered a little juvenile. Since my audience is composed of sys admins (Unix, Linux, Win) I want to avoid having the doc immediately round-filed for falling into the "for dummies" category.

Having looked through the list archives without finding the information I seek... I was wondering if anyone out there has made a similar switch (from simple text to using icons) and if you've had positive or negative user feedback (or any user feedback) as to the effectiveness of the change.

I would be especially interested in:

1. Information from folks writing for a similar audience who have made this change.

2. Whether people using icons in their written doc are using the same (or similar) icons in their on-line help.

I guess I'm looking for anecdotal "evidence" that this is a Good Thing®. Or not.



"Have something to say and say it as clearly
as you can. That is the only secret of style."

--Matthew Arnold


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