Best practices for including images

Images can enhance technical documentation when the product UI or workflow that you’re describing is complex or difficult to understand. Use a screenshot, diagram, or GIF to clarify a process or provide conceptual information. Use an inline image if a UI element is unclear. In all cases, images must supplement rather than replace written content.

Images need to include additional text to assist users with visual impairments. For more information on making images accessible in Drucare docs, see Write accessible documentation.

When to include an image

Consider using an image in the following circumstances:

  • The UI requires complex interactions.
  • You need to orient users to a screen that has many functional parts.
  • You need to illustrate complex relationships among discrete parts of a product.
  • You need to diagram or illustrate conceptual information.
  • You need to illustrate several steps in a complex or intricate process.
  • The design of the UI or workflow isn’t intuitive and you think users might need extra help.

Before you create an image

Before you create an image, consider the following approaches:

  • Consider whether you can use a table or list instead of a screenshot to convey the information you want to capture. For example, you can display forms and search results in a table.
  • Understand that the information you capture in an image might change in the next release. Consider whether you’re willing to update the image every time the UI or process changes and maintain it for every release.
  • Whenever possible, reuse an existing image instead of creating a new one. Consider whether you can use the same image for multiple steps or procedures.
  • When you create a screenshot, capture the UI while using the light theme with your screen zoomed to 100%. Don’t capture the UI while using the dark theme.

After you create an image

After you place an image in your documentation, complete the following tasks:

  • Make sure your images are accurate and up to date before release.
  • Introduce each image with a full sentence that describes its contents.
  • Always include alt text with an image. See Include alt text in images.

When to avoid including an image

Avoid the following uses and types of images in your documentation:

  • Don’t include an image to replace or avoid writing an explanation about how to complete a task.
  • Don’t include a screenshot of the UI if the user can follow your written instructions without it. A well-designed UI doesn’t need an accompanying screenshot in the documentation.
  • Don’t use photographs in your docs.
  • Don’t include an image if it contains customer data or Drucare data.
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