RE: Using screenshots in Online Help

Subject: RE: Using screenshots in Online Help
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 08:56:02 -0400


I use screenshots and partial screenshots extensively throughout the on-line
help systems I manage. The applications I document are extremely complex
financial services applications, and I know from feedback that I have users
at all levels who need to access on-line help. So the structure of the help
systems includes extensive use of dynamic html. This allows me to include
the screen shots in a "drop down" link. Advanced users are not likely to
need it, but beginners often need it to orient themselves for assurance that
they are where they thought they were.

This approach means that the screen shot doesn't take up additional real
estate in the help window unless you happened to click it. I don't know
whether documented research would say I'm doing the right thing, and frankly
it makes no difference. Our client financial institutions are quite happy
with what we provide, and so are their users. That's all the proof I

The structure also includes conceptual topics, procedural topics and
reference topics and it's pretty clear from the TOC and index structures, as
well as the "more information" links exactly which is which. As you're
planning the structure of your documentation, it's incredibly important to
utilize two concepts: understanding the level of experience of your
typical, and atypical users, and providing an organization that allows entry
to the on-line help system from many different points. Once you have a
handle on this, the use and frequency of screen shots should become clearer.

Hope this helps!

Connie P. Giordano
Senior Technical Writer
Advisor Technology Services
A Fidelity Investments Company
704-330-2069 (w)
704-330-2350 (f)
704-957-8450 (c)
connie -dot- giordano -at- fmr -dot- com

"Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'cause I'm afraid
that we've been cheated here on Earth" - Clint Black "Galaxy Song"

-----Original Message-----
From: Anitha R [mailto:anithar29 -at- hotmail -dot- com]
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2003 5:24 AM
Subject: Using screenshots in Online Help


How many of you include screenshots in your Online Help files?

We use screenshots extensively, as in, if there are 5 screens to accomplish
a task, we capture all the 5 screens and elaborate on them. Is this a normal
and accepted practice? We had done some research in this regard, and found
that not all product documentation contain screenshots. The argument being
that, when the application is readily available to the user at his desktop,
why should we provide snapshots of the application.

It would help if you could throw some light on usage of screenshots in
Online help. I tried searching on the Internet, but did'nt find any
guidelines for the same. Do guidelines exist, or is it at the discretion of
the Organization?

If screenshots have to be provided, then to what extent?

Thanking you in advance,


Previous by Author: RE: Press Release Distribution
Next by Author: RE: Screen shots for online help
Previous by Thread: Using screenshots in Online Help
Next by Thread: Re: Using screenshots in Online Help

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads