DISCUSSION: Multiple Text Styles on Same Page

Subject: DISCUSSION: Multiple Text Styles on Same Page
From: Beth Agnew <bagnew -at- INSYSTEMS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 14:20:14 -0500

Hi all,

I've just completed a review of some documentation from another company,
and what struck me most about their user guide was the glut of type styles
on any particular page of their manual. You see it in many manuals:
headings in various fonts of Arial, body text in Times, code samples in
Courier, and then add bold, italic and bold italic to emphasize examples,
filenames, or user input. All of these various uses of font and typeface
are laboriously described in their "Conventions Used in this Manual"
section. We discussed conventions before on this list back in September and
the consensus was that we didn't need a section to tell users what all the
type faces signified. But are we still using them?

If you have long paragraphs then the odd line of Courier doesn't look so
bad, but in this particular example, it was a heading, line of text, couple
of lines of code, line of text and so on, in procedural steps with numbers
and bullets, too! Yikes!

The result of all these text styles is a very busy and visually cluttered
page. I've been using a "downstyle" look for headings where appropriate (I
was going to say I've been downstyling headings, but I know how verbing a
noun drives some of you crazy!) and increasing the white space to offset
certain information, rather than using a different font.

What do y'all feel about multiple text styles on the same page?

Beth Agnew
Senior Technical Writer, InSystems Technologies Inc.
65 Allstate Parkway, Suite 100 Tel: (905) 513-1400 ext. 280
Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 9X1 Fax: (905) 513-1419
mailto:bagnew -at- insystems -dot- com Visit us at: http://www.insystems.com

See my friendly face at:

http://www.documentation.com/, or http://www.dejanews.com/

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