Put Functions Everywhere Where They Apply
Although the lion's share of the techniques in this gallery will be text effects, text is almost always a substitute for a more powerful measure... one that usually entails writing a lot more code... providing more functionality... designing bolder solutions. So we'll start with an example from Macromedia Dreamweaver where they emphatically answer an age-old question in software development: where should this function go? The answer is everywhere. In the screen sample below I show four places where you can assign a style to an item. And there are more that I didn't get to! Gone are the days when it was acceptable to provide only one "invocation" or when designers had to justify the fact that redundancy is not foolish.
Instantaneous (Character-At-A-Time) Feedback
Explicit, Verbose Function Labels
Don't Disable, Don't Hide... Explain
Advice Right on Menus
What Vs. Why
This point gets into pure techwriting. When explaining new
features, you must explain two distinct facts: what something
technically accomplishes and what the benefit ultimately is...
how it saves time (or effort, which translates to time, no?).
Documenting "Not" Conditions
"We Have a Different Mental Model"
Explain What "Won't" Happen... and How To Do It If You Really Want To
Explicit Capability Limits
Describe Visual Items Visually, Not with Text
Help Beside Every Field
Help Below Every Field
Field Help in a Rollover
Function Information/Time Lags
Show Progress Indicators, Not Just the Browser Status Bar
Menus in Order of Frequency
Functions Right at the Point of Need
Display the Whole State of Affairs
Link and Blurb
For a Mistaken Effort
For Deferred Results
Explain Complex Options in Detail
This message deals with one of the most powerful and complex techniques, bulk or en masse changes. I'd consider two somewhat trivial improvements: Bold captions in the two group box borders, and change "OK" to "Update" because of the impact of the ensuing actions.
Show Choices Visually