When Should You Use Images?

Posted on: January 28, 2010

It can sometimes be difficult to decide whether to use images in a document. And if you have ever worked as part of a project team, then you know that the opinions of your colleagues on that point can range widely, which complicates arriving at a mutually agreeable decision. How to reach consensus? How to determine if images really are necessary for clarity and audience understanding, or if the document would serve its purpose just fine without them?

After all, images take up space in a document. They can make layout and formatting more difficult and time-consuming and, especially for print pieces, typically increase production and printing costs.

As a rule of thumb, if you answer “yes” to one of the following questions, then you may need to incorporate images into the appropriate parts of your document:

  • Does the document discuss a physical object, or the relationship of one object to another? (plants, animals, hardware, equipment, and so on)
  • Does the document discuss a logical object? (software, a process, a procedure, and so on)?
  • Does the document concern how something changes over time?

Now, let’s assume that you have answered “yes” to one or more of the preceding questions. To help refine your thinking about where images should appear in the document, ask the following set of questions:

  • Would an image help your readers understand a sequence of steps in a procedure? (example: a flowchart)
  • Would an image help your readers identify the parts that make up a physical object? (example: an illustration or a photo with each part labeled)
  • Would an image help your readers understand how a software application is organized? (example: a structure diagram)

If the answer is still “yes,” then images will probably be essential to the success of your document.  Elizabeth Lexleigh  The Write Ideas


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Welcome to LexPower!

Word Power for Business and Technology
Put The Write Ideas to work for your company

Enter your email address to get a free subscription to this blog. You will receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5 other followers


Copyright © 2009-2011 by LexPower. All rights reserved. You may not use or duplicate my blog material without my express and written permission. You may use excerpts and links, provided that you credit LexPower fully and clearly, and also give specific direction to the original content. All unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
%d bloggers like this: