Bitmaps and line art are two main file types that you may be considering for your product documentation. This blog will explain the primary differences between these two graphic types and the pros and cons to each.
According to an article in Technical Communication entitled "Illustrations in User Manuals: Preference and Effectiveness with Japanese and American Readers", studies show that "users comprehend more information and perform better with instructional materials that contain illustrations."
Graphics in manuals can appear in many formats including: line drawings, symbols, icons, photographs, illustrations, charts, tables and graphs. Adding high quality, professionally produced imagery that clearly correlates to the step-by-step instructions can add dimension and help the reader visualize processes and concepts that would otherwise be difficult to understand.
On the other hand, using poor quality graphics can have negative effects. It can cause confusion when readers try to interpret the manual instructions, increase the number of service calls your business receives, degrade the experience of the user and lower the reader's opinion of your brand.