Designing The Document


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Designing The Document

  1. 1. Designing the Document Format and Graphics
  2. 2. Graphics <ul><li>Integral part of the text </li></ul><ul><li>Augment and balance the text </li></ul>
  3. 3. Challenges of Technical Writing <ul><li>Documents contain highly complex information </li></ul><ul><li>Single document intended for multiple audiences and for different purposes </li></ul><ul><li>Must facilitate quick transfer of information </li></ul>
  4. 4. Visual Design <ul><li>Page design and illustrations </li></ul><ul><li>Page design </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The way words appear on the page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As much graphic design as illustrations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Effective page design </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Guides reader’s eye to what is most important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cues as to the various paths through material </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Graphic Illustrations <ul><li>Transmit information all at once </li></ul><ul><li>Show relationship of all parts simultaneously </li></ul>
  6. 6. Conventions of Visual Perception <ul><li>Read from left to right </li></ul><ul><li>Read from top to bottom </li></ul><ul><li>Things in foreground more important than those in background </li></ul><ul><li>Large objects more important than small ones </li></ul><ul><li>Thick lines more important than thin ones </li></ul><ul><li>Areas featuring most activity contain the most important information </li></ul><ul><li>Related items grouped together </li></ul><ul><li>Contrast makes things stand out </li></ul>
  7. 7. Strategies for visual communication <ul><li>Decide on design compatible with work constraints </li></ul><ul><li>Create document design style sheet </li></ul><ul><li>Gear graphics to level of audience </li></ul><ul><li>Items should have visual connections if related </li></ul><ul><li>Provide visual road maps </li></ul><ul><li>Make document pleasing </li></ul><ul><li>Be consistent </li></ul><ul><li>Take advantage of universal symbols </li></ul>
  8. 8. Document Style Sheet <ul><li>Page layout grid </li></ul><ul><li>Formatting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Type fonts, sizes, line spacing, use of bullets and icons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Placement, size and type of graphics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of color </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Create Visual Hierarchies <ul><li>Most important material in prominent places </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly designed levels </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship of parts obvious at a glance </li></ul><ul><li>“Levels effect” allows people to read more quickly and process information more easily </li></ul>
  10. 10. Formatting Textual Elements <ul><li>Choose 10 or 12 point type </li></ul><ul><li>Serif and san-serif create different effects </li></ul><ul><li>Be consistent in styles you choose </li></ul><ul><li>Use boldface or italics to emphasize (use sparingly) </li></ul><ul><li>Do not use all caps </li></ul><ul><li>Use ragged right margins </li></ul><ul><li>List (use sparingly) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use numbers when definite sequence, steps or fixed quantity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bullets highlight information but not the order </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Purpose of Graphics <ul><li>Convey messages </li></ul><ul><li>Reach intellect as well as emotion </li></ul><ul><li>Color, design, size can be powerful </li></ul><ul><li>What issues or points in text might be enhanced by visual support </li></ul>
  12. 12. Purpose of Graphics <ul><li>Clarify </li></ul><ul><li>Simplify </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize </li></ul><ul><li>Summarize </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforce </li></ul><ul><li>Attract </li></ul><ul><li>Show Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Save Space </li></ul><ul><li>(Do not overuse) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Balancing Graphics and Text <ul><li>Be consistent with tone </li></ul><ul><li>Graphics and text should complement and not depend on each other </li></ul><ul><li>Overuse can cause cartoon-effect </li></ul><ul><li>Underuse can make text seem dense </li></ul>
  14. 14. Choosing Appropriate Graphics <ul><li>Figures, tables, charts, graphs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Represent data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Photographs </li></ul><ul><li>Line Drawings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use to show how something looks or works </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Charts and Graphs <ul><li>Bar chart </li></ul><ul><li>Gantt chart </li></ul><ul><li>Pie Chart </li></ul><ul><li>Flow chart </li></ul><ul><li>Decision Tree </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational Chart </li></ul><ul><li>Tree Diagram </li></ul><ul><li>Line Graph </li></ul>
  16. 16. Tables <ul><li>Information table </li></ul><ul><li>Decision table </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics </li></ul>
  17. 17. Placing Graphics in Text <ul><li>Introduce before it appears in the document </li></ul><ul><li>Place as close as possible to its discussion in the text. </li></ul><ul><li>Present the graphics as professionally as the text </li></ul><ul><li>Size should make it legible </li></ul><ul><li>Level of detail consistent with importance of info </li></ul><ul><li>Use color only to enhance message </li></ul><ul><li>Use white space around and within graphic to increase impact and readability </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid clutter with unnecessary graphics </li></ul>