I'd look at Apple documents and IBM documents to see some good examples.
Both are online.

Joel

On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 4:30 PM, <Syed.Hosain at aeris.net> wrote:

> Hi, all.
>
>
>
> This is perhaps a bit of a vague set of questions, but I am interested
> in improving the look of our manuals and specifications documentation
> and would like to see what others are doing in this regard.
>
>
>
> 1.  Specifically, I am working on various manuals for our software API's
> as well as general technical specifications.
>
>
>
> 2.  These tend to be reasonably dry documents, where I have used
> numbering for chapter and section titles so people can refer to them by
> those numbers when talking internally here, as well as when we get
> questions from our customers.
>
>
>
> 3.  The target audience for most of these documents are engineers
> (software and hardware) and technical managers and the like. No consumer
> docs, or marketing folks or web page formats, etc.
>
>
>
> 4.  At the present time, my chapter and title fonts are Arial (various
> sizes depending on the section and subsection level) and my body font is
> Palatino Linotype in 11 point.
>
>
>
> 5.  Pretty much in black text most everywhere, except where I use Red
> italic font in a sidehead to make certain short one-to-two sentence
> notes (also in italic, but in black) stand out right next to the
> sidehead word. These are important notes to not overlook by the reader.
>
>
>
> My goal is to improve legibility.
>
>
>
> 1.  Are there any sample documents (at any site) that people could point
> me to as ones that they liked a lot for (a) legibility and (b)
> readability for such documents?
>
>
>
> 2.  Do people think that a Sans Serif font improves legibility for body
> text? I have seen some recent manual examples using "Calibri" in a 10
> point size (that I wasn't sure that I particularly liked, but if it
> makes things easier to read, then I'd be willing to try it).
>
>
>
> 3.  What about color? Like in Section and chapter titles?
>
>
>
> 4.  In many places in my manuals, I have numbers (usually enclosed in
> quotes to designate strings) that I show in a fixed-width font (using
> "Consulas" in 11 point), even when in paragraphs that have body text in
> Palatino. I have experimented with making these a fairly Dark Blue
> color, and also tried bold (in black), to make them stand out a bit
> more. This seems to work reasonably well, but I am not sure that I want
> to get too much color in these manuals and specifications just yet, so I
> have not actually sent anything out yet!
>
>
>
> Finally ...
>
>
>
> 1.  I am looking to see if I can find a few people to look at two PDF
> extracts (less than 10 or 20 pages) from two of my
> manuals/specifications to get some critiques along the above lines -
> look and feel criticism only (the words and content are a different
> thing entirely J!). Any volunteers who could take a bit of time for
> this? Thanks in advance!
>
>
>
> Regards,
>
>
>
> Z
>
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