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Apple Guide:

How do I decide whether to use Apple Guide for my project?
How do I create an Apple Guide if I'm not a programmer?
How do I create sidebars and notes in a guide?
How do I write a helpful Oops panel?
How do I use pictures in my guide?
Where can I find examples and help?

How do I use pictures in my guide?

You can include a picture anywhere in a panel window by using the <PICT> command. (There's no way to include pictures in the access window or in the title area of a panel window.) The easiest way to include a picture is to put the <PICT> command on a line by itself wherever you want the picture to appear.

(It's possible to place a small picture in the middle of a text line by inserting enough spaces to leave room for the picture and using the Point() function with the <PICT> command to place the picture in the gap you've made in the text. However, because this method depends on the gap appearing at a particular hard-coded location on the panel, it can be a problem to maintain; if the surrounding text is rewritten or translated, the gap will move, and you'll need to re-compute the point where the picture should be placed.)

As with any special effect, ask yourself whether this picture is necessary. Does it enhance the user's understanding, provide help with navigation, or serve another useful purpose? Or is it there just to look nice? Remember that someone using your guide is probably focused on completing a task or finding a particular bit of information, not on reading the guide for its own sake; any visual elements that distract such a user's attention are likely to be annoying.

If possible, avoid placing pictures of interface elements (such as buttons, palettes, or menus) in the panel window. Since their attention is on the guide window, users sometimes get confused and click these pictures instead of the actual interface elements. If you want to point out an interface element to a user, it's better to use a coachmark instead.

If you do need to include such a picture, you can use graphic techniques to make it more obvious that this is not an actual user-interface element: a gray drop shadow, a torn-off edge, or something similar. This makes it less likely for a user to confuse the picture with the actual interface element.

 Next: Where can I find examples and help?

Jeanne A. E. DeVoto
Copyright © 1996 Jeanne A. E. DeVoto