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Visual Aids? Is it worth it?

Visual Aids like Photos, Graphics, and Videos can be a very effective way to communicate to any audience and industry.

The first rule is always to ask or gain permission to take photos or shoot videos in any facility, company, or factory. Companies might have photo and video rules and regulations that must be followed.


Hint: A good smartphone can be less cumbersome and more effective than a camera. It's easy to use and most of us carry it with us at all times. A quick opportunity to capture information or visual aid is as easy as point and click, and as a bonus, less disruptive to the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who are explaining the process.


Action Photos

Action Photos with people help the audience identify with the writing. This can also be a distraction if used too frequently or if the person/people have left the organization. A solution is to try to not use anyone's face in the document, instead, take photos from multiple angles and distances. This will provide process clarity and help engage the audience whether you are creating a technical manual, operation guide, maintenance manual, instructions for use, user guide, etc.


Videos

Videos are a good way to capture an extended or complex process operation. If possible, we recommend making an audio recording for reference when writing the document along with the video.


There are at least three advantages of video-audio recording:


1. The video sequence can be stopped, and details observed. This can help simplify and clarify technical writing.

2. The video sequence can be stopped, and more photos can be parsed out and used in the writing.

3. The audio will help recall specific equipment names, terms, and other details not in the notes.


Summary

All documentation, whether Technical or Medical, can benefit from the use of Visual Aids. With the advantages of smartphones, these visual aids can be streamlined, quick, efficient, and budget-friendly - all while increasing user engagement and clarity of the document. Take advantage of the technology in your own pocket!


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