Using graphics is an essential part of creating technical documentation. They help you convey complex information in a more understandable and clear way for the readers. Graphics can be visuals, images or designs that are used to inform, explain, or illustrate. Nowadays graphic elements require a lot of attention as they can be interpreted the wrong way. Here are some tips to be sure you are using them correctly.
- Avoid senseless graphics. First of all, you should remember that graphic elements are meant to explain information, but not to decorate the document. Elements with no meaningfulness are useless for the readers. You should avoid content-free graphics.
- Make sure you are using legible graphics only. If a reader barely understands how to deal with your graphics — it ruins the idea of clarity and simplicity of the text.
- Use graphics of high quality only. Poorly designed graphics look unprofessional and careless. Your documentation should be attractive and appealing to your readers showing that you have done your best creating it.
- Use simple graphics. Simplicity is the key to efficient documentation. Your graphics should be easy to read and understandable from the first glance. Thus there are standard symbols created by the International Organization for Standardization. If they are appropriate in your document you can use them.
- Mind the color of your graphics. Often, they are black-and-white or grey-and-white. But if you are willing to use some other color — be sure your readers will interpret it correctly. Let`s say in some cultures the red color may be interpreted as a danger and in other cultures as prosperity. One more aspect of the color choice in graphics is accessibility. It is highly important as your readers may have visual impairments. You should check carefully which color combinations and contrast suit all categories of readers.
- Pay attention to the order of your graphics and their placement in general. In some countries, the audience will read them from left to right. In others — vice versa.
- Use only neutral graphics. You should avoid nudity or things that are considered to be offensive in different cultures.
Develop your skills to create efficient and simple documentation. Mind the purpose of your technical documents and the readers` needs.