Graphic Content Warning: The Pros, The Cons, and The Alternatives to Screenshots
There are multiple reasons to use screenshots, from introducing new features and helping confirm the context of content to simply breaking up solid walls of text. However, screenshots can carry a lot of overhead, including localization considerations and short shelf-lives due to continuous deployment, which may make them more effort than they're worth. For content that appears in the context of the user interface, screenshots can also be redundant and unnecessary.
In lieu of screenshots, there are other visuals — including infographics, illustrations, and abstract simplified user interfaces — that may better engage audiences and complement concepts and interactions. Which you use depends on your intent and message.
Visual communication is powerful and can play an active role in your content experience, but like any strategic approach, it is most effective when used with purpose. Screenshots may seem like an easy tactic, but they carry baggage that can hinder the overall effectiveness of your message. In this presentation, information architect, Steve Stegelin, challenges us to think outside the screenshot for more engaging and meaningful visuals that can contribute to the conversation.