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Document Design

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Document Design. distinguishes things that are different from one another and ... programming, graphic design, user interface design, visual interactive design... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Document Design


1
Document Design
  • Justine Nielsen
  • English 518 Tech Comm Theory
  • April 24, 2003

2
Document Design
  • Analyze your audience
  • Determine appropriate information architecture
    and medium
  • Design for use
  • Select effective design tools

3
Analyze Your Audience
  • Reconsider your audience
  • Who are they?
  • What do they want or need?
  • How will they use the material?

4
Analyze Your Audience
  • Who is your user?
  • Technical ability
  • Interest in the subject
  • Translation needs (language options)

More to come at Jen and Ryans May 1st
presentation onGlobalization Issues
5
Analyze Your Audience
  • What is your users goal?
  • Complete a task
  • Solve a problem
  • Make a decision

6
Analyze Your Audience
  • How will they use the document?
  • Location
  • Duration
  • Motivation

7
Analyze Your Audience
  • Become a user advocate
  • Firsthand knowledge is best Whenever possible,
    learn the procedure or use the product yourself
  • Test usability Speak with or observe users of
    the product or document (find something similar
    if the original is unavailable)

8
Analyze Your Audience
  • User advocates design documents
  • to help readers quickly and easily find accurate
    information.
  • to be used (skimmed), not read.
  • to make the process seemintuitive effortless.
  • to help users do their work.

9
Information Architecture and Medium
  • Which medium is most appropriate?
  • Do I need more than one medium?
  • Do I need more than one version?
  • Do I want to use dynamic design, or can I get by
    with static content design?

10
Information Architecture and Medium
  • Which medium is most appropriate?
  • Online
  • Print
  • Other
  • All of the above, a.k.a. Single-Sourcing

11
Information Architecture and Medium
  • Online
  • Layer information to serve a variety of users,
    disclosing ideas hierarchically
  • Simple, brief explanations are best for novices
  • Experts may require additional detail
  • Effectiveness derives in part from both the
    online page or sites design structure and from
    its information content
  • Test with various technologies, not just
    bleeding edge versions

12
Information Architecture and Medium
  • Print
  • Consider physical workplace conditions when
    determining page size, substrates, and graphic
    elements (page layout, fonts, colors)
  • Index specific, rather than inexact, terms

13
Information Architecture and Medium
  • Other document formats
  • Electronic file (PDF, Excel, raw data)
  • Other

14
Information Architecture and Medium
  • Single-Sourcing
  • Content databases (like FrameMaker) quickly
    generate multiple versions in different media
    with varied contentand for different users

15
Information Architecture and Medium
  • Document Design distinguishes things that are
    different from one another and connects things
    that are related to one another.

16
Information Architecture and Medium
  • More to come
  • at Brads June 5th Information Architecture
    presentation

17
Write for Use
  • Make information easy to find
  • Just chunk it!
  • Keep it short (words, sentences, lists,
    procedures)
  • Employ long paragraphs (3 sentences) only for
    explanation, not for instruction
  • Use jargon judiciously and appropriately
  • Use repetition rather than cross-referencing

18
Write for Use
  • and easy to understand
  • Use direct writing style
  • For instructions, begin each step with an action
    (verb?) and identify the expected response
  • Generate scenarios and analogies to clarify
    content
  • Exemplify

19
Write for Use
  • Lists and Procedures
  • Online Maximum 7 items
  • Print Maximum 9 items
  • Procedure too long?
  • Break it down into several steps or consolidate
    steps

20
Select Effective Design Tools
  • Use text organizers
  • Design for visual effectiveness
  • Include accurate and relevant technical
    illustrations

21
Select Effective Design Tools
  • Use Text Organizers
  • Headlines
  • Kickers
  • Subheads
  • Headers and footers
  • Pull quotes and sidebars
  • Bulleted and numbered lists

22
Select Effective Design Tools
  • Design for visual effectiveness
  • Combine words, images and shapes to create a
    visual language
  • Clarify abstract or difficult concepts with
    graphics
  • Use visual elements (fonts, paragraph spacing,
    colors, graphics) consistently
  • In a diagram, use shading or boxes to clarify
    relationships

23
Select Effective Design Tools
  • Design for visual effectiveness
  • Dont overwhelm readers with too much information
  • Create tables and diagrams break those down into
    simpler, multiple graphics
  • Provide ongoing motivation for readers design
    for interest, access, and impact
  • Make it memorable
  • Avoid intimidating your reader

24
Select Effective Design Tools
  • Include accurate and relevant technical
    illustrations
  • Avoid distortion, deception, and
    misrepresentation

25
Select Effective Design Tools
  • Include accurate and relevant technical
    illustrations
  • Remove distracting chart junk

26
Select Effective Design Tools
  • Include accurate and relevant technical
    illustrations
  • Use appropriate file format (.jpg, .gif, .tif)
    to produce quality images with the appropriate
    screen or output resolution
  • Create online images that load quickly

27
The Bottom Line
  • Why do I need to know this stuff?
  • Provide the total package
  • Technical communicator vs. writer
  • How can I market my design skills?
  • Audience analysis, task analysis, verbal
    communication, interpersonal and investigative
    skills, computer programming, graphic design,
    user interface design, visual interactive design

28
The Bottom Line
  • How could I
  • best exhibit these skills to a prospective
    employer?
  • See you June 4th
  • for our Digital Portfolio session!
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