Graphics are illustrations used to convey information. Used well, they clarify and enhance the text and make information more enticing, interesting, and entertaining.

Graphics word is derived from the word graph. A graph has x and y axis. The same way something which is created in digital word is seen on a digital screen, this screen also has x and y axis. So the output on any digital device is termed as graphics. In other words, an image that is generated by a computer is called graphics. The pictorial representation and manipulation of data, as used in computer-aided design and manufacture, in typesetting and the graphic arts, and in educational and recreational programs.

Why should graphics be used in an online help plan?

Users often learn better and more effectively through the use of visual information. As your plan is being created, think of your audience, adding graphics will
create a more effective learning environment and enhance the whole meaning.

Types of Graphics

Technical Illustrations

  • Use graphics to show what objects look like
  • Use graphics as examples that show how an action is performed
  • Use graphics to verify that the user has completed a step correctly
  • Use graphics to distinguish images of the software screen from the actual software screen
  • Use graphics to show the steps in a process

Conceptual Graphics

  • Use graphics to replace words
  • Use graphics devices to clarify meaning
  • Use graphics as summaries

Design Elements

  • Establish a functional grid for the screen
  • Include Icons (Icons remind users of actions that they might take.)
  • Add graphic devices to make ideas more visual
  • Use type position to differentiate text elements

Aesthetic Appeal

  • Use graphics to maintain interest
  • Use graphics to motivate users
  • Use graphics elements to entertain users
  • Use graphics to set the mood

Hackos, Jo Ann T., Dawn M. Stevens. Standards for Online Communication. New York: Wiley, 1997. Print.

Original Author: Inez Funchess
Editor: Mario Garcia, Tammy Fitzpatrick, Larita Clow