We are building a list of Tips and Best Practices below.
Tip Number 1
Avoiding the use of passive verbs and passive construction. Any form of "to be" is passive. When sentences written in the active voice, the subject performs the action expressed by the verb; the subject acts. When sentences are written in the passive voice, the subject receives action expressed by the verb; the subject is acted upon.
Forms of "to be"
- will be; been
- will have been
- has been
- had been
- would have been
- to be
Other Boring Verbs
- acts as
- there is
- there are
- it is
- here is
- Long veils are worn by brides in weddings.
- Hillary Clinton is admired by feminists.
Tip Number 2 – Screen Shots
- Format: JPEG
- Resolution: at least 1280×1024 with JPEG at 100%. If you go to 1680×1050, you can drop to JPEG @ 90%. I use 1920×1200 and JPEG at 75% when at my desktop (1680×1050 otherwise). Since you will be using RD for your SS's, I think it has a net resoultion of 1280×1024, so you should use JPEG @ 100%.
- Naming scheme: Usually not picky. What I typically do is: installation shots: "inst_#_descr" e.g. "inst_1_setup_exe", inst_2_license_no", "inst_2a_license_yes". Increment the # for each new step, and use "abc" after the # for each sub-step w/in a step.
- For menu driven processes, "menu_item_subitem-tab".
- Meta-data: none
Screen Shot Guidelines:
- Take all the Screen Shot's at the same time, so you get the same aspect ratios in every shot.
- Make the browser window as small as you can UNTIL you start to lose items. For example, if you look at the top bar of the screens, you'll see the help pull-down, quetion mark, logoff, etc. On the summary screen, as you look at the tabs, if you get too small, it starts to create a horizontal scroll-bar because you can't see all the tabs on the screen. Grow it just large enough to not get the scroll bar. In other products, the summary is more narrow, and the "logoff" part starts to run into the product name. So, as small as you can, without losing anything.
- Just get the "main topic panel" and, together or separately, the menu.
- In the course itself, just paste the main panel. Crop the images right in Power Point to get the part I want when size or layout are a problem. When a screen is really large (long), it's often sufficient to show a partial screen. Remember, in most cases, the instructor can show the real thing any time he/she wants, so the illustration is just for example. Another approach is to segment the pics to fit the presentation, i.e. use 3 illustrations cut from a single screen when the screen is already in functional panels or groupings. Last ditch if you really need to show the whole thing as a unit is to take multiple screen shots and edit them into a single image using your fave graphics program, then scale into the manual and/or slide.
- In the ppt, paste the menu and main panel separately, but on the same slide. Use a drop-shadow on the menu. Only use a drop-shadow on the main panel if you have a layered picture, e.g. "click this to get that". In those cases, put "that" on top of "this" and put a big, curved, red arrow (from clip-art) from button to click to edge of "that" (see existing ppt for examples).
- If doing a ppt slide with a check-list, etc., there are standard MS clip-art that goes on the slide as "gingerbread." Again, you can look at existing ppt for examples.
- Select a standard width for images in the SG. Use 5" and resize every image to that width to maintain visual consistency in margins, etc. If that distorts an image too badly, make an exception, but try to keep it all the same. One exception is pop-up dialogs and such. Use actual size, if illustrating them at all. You normally do not make them an actual "figure" in the book, but include the "inline", if you will.
- Captioning – in the SG, the caption tag style doesn't have everything built into it. So, when labeling illustrations, use Word's "Insert Caption" tool (found on the References tab of the ribbon) and insert them with the prefix "Figure x-y:" where x and y are autonumbered with chapter number and figure number. That's the default Word setup, so easy to do, and vastly simplifies keeping your images properly labeled. Also try to avoid referring to illustrations by number in the text so consistency is easy to maintain. Instead say, "as shown in the preceding figure" or "as illustrated in the following figure" or similar phrases. Try not to use "below" or "above" in these phrases.