Design a Doc

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  • 8/7/2019 Design a Doc


    5Designing Documents,

    Slides, and Screens

    LEARNING OBJECTIVESAfter reading and applying the informationin Module 5, youll be able to demonstrate

    Knowledge of The importance of document appear-

    ance, layout, and design Essential design principles The relationship between readability

    and your credibility

    Skills to Apply design principles to paper pages,

    presentation slides, and Web pages Use computer software to increase

    document readability

    M O D U L E

    Module Outline Why is design important?

    When should I think aboutdesign?

    How should I design paperpages?

    How should I design presenta-tion slides?

    How should I design Web pages?

    How do I know whether mydesign works?

    Review of Key Points

    Assignments for Module 5

    Polishing Your Prose: Activeand Passive Voice

    Please see the OLC to preview the key skills from the ConferencBoard of Canadas Employability Skills 2000+ covered in this module

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    Module 5Designing Documents, Slides, and Screens 87


    A well-designed document looks inviting, friendly, and accessible. Good document desaves time and money, builds goodwill, and reduces legal problems. Effective design groups ideas visually, making the structure of the document more obvious and easieread. Research shows that easy-to-read documents enhance your credibility and buildimage of you as a professional, competent person.1

    Why is design important?

    Design is essential to meaning making.

    Your audience brings expectations to and constructs meaning from the design of ymessage. Business audiences expect document and slide design to make it easy for thto read and understand the content.

    When should I think about design?

    Think about design at each stage of the writing process.

    Because layout and design make the first impression on readers, document design vital component of persuasion. Indeed, you create the best documents when you thabout design at each stage of your writing process:

    As you plan, think about your audience. Are they skilled readers? Are they busy? they read the document straight through or skip around in it? Design the documenmeet readers needs and expectations.

    As you write, incorporate lists and headings. Use visuals to convey numerical dclearly and forcefully.

    Get feedback from people who will be using your document. What parts of the dment do they find hard to understand? What additional information do they need

    As you revise, check your draft against the guidelines in this module.

    How should I design paper pages?

    Follow the design principles of contrast, repetition, alignmenand proximity to meet audience expectations.2

    Use the following guidelines to create visually attractive documents:

    Use white space to separate and emphasize points. Use headings to group points. Limit the use of words set in all capital letters. Use no more than two typefaces in a single document.

    Decide whether to justify margins based on the situation and the audience.

    Use White Space

    White spacethe empty space on the pageemphasizes the material that it separfrom the rest of the text. This emphasis makes the material easier to read. Creating wspace is also known as menu writing, because the visual design principlebrief highlighted by spaceis the same as you find on restaurant menus.

    FedEx saved $400 000 ayear by redesigning itsground-operations

    manuals. Before,employees could find

    the right answer only53 percent of the time.Afterward, their successrate was 80 percent, andthey found answers

    25 percent faster.

    Source: Joseph Kimble,

    Writing for Dollars, Writing

    to Please, The Scribes

    Journal of Legal Writing, 6

    (19961997): 1415.

    F Y I

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    You can create white space in several ways:

    Use headings. Use a mix of paragraph lengths (maximum six to seven typed lines). Use lists. Use tabs or indentsnot spacingto align items vertically. Use numbered lists when the number or sequence of items is exact.

    Usebullets (large dots or squares like those in this list) when the number and sequencare equal.

    When you create a list, use parallelism: begin each item on the list with the same part ospeech. If you begin your list with a verb, for example, begin every followinitem on the list with a verb. This parallel structure meets the readers subconscious expectation.And meeting reader expectation is the most important aspect of business writing

    Not parallel: The following suggestions can help employers avoid bias in jobinterviews:1. Base questions on the job description2. Questioning techniques3. Selection and training of interviewers

    Parallel: The following suggestions can help employers avoid bias in jobinterviews:1. Base questions on the job description2. Ask the same questions of all applicants3. Select and train interviewers carefully

    Also parallel: Employers can avoid bias in job interviews by1. Basing questions on the job description2. Asking the same questions of all applicants3. Selecting and training interviewers carefully

    Figure 5.1 shows an original typed document. In Figure 5.2 the same document is improveby using shorter paragraphs, lists, and headings. These devices take space. When saving spacis essential, its better to cut the text and keep white space and headings.

    Use Headings

    Headings are words or short phrases that identify a complete idea and divide your lettememo, or report into sections. Headings increase readability because they summarizwhat the reader is about to read and increase white space.

    Make headings specific. Make each heading cover all the material until the next heading. Keep headings at any one level parallel: all nouns, all complete sentences, or a


    In a letter or memo, type main headings flush with the left-hand margin in boldCapitalize the first letters of the first word and of other major words; use lowercase foall other letters. (See Figure 5.2 on page 90 for an example.) In single-spaced text, triplspace between the previous text and the heading; double space between the heading anthe text that follows.

    Unit 1 Building Effective Messages88


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    In a report, you may need more levels of headings. Module 15 shows how toup five levels of headings for reports.

    Limit the Use of Words Set in All Capital Letters

    We recognize words by their shapes.3 (For example, try reading each line in Figure 5.3) Ucapital letters, all words are rectangular; letters lose the descenders and ascenders that mreading easier and faster. Use full capitals sparingly. Instead, bold text to emphasize it.

    Module 5Designing Documents, Slides, and Screens 89


    When you buy goods on credit, the store will sometimes ask you to sign a WageAssignment form allowing it to deduct money from your wages if you do not pay your

    bill. When you buy on credit, you sign a contract agreeing to pay a certain amounteach week or month until you have paid all you owe. The Wage Assignment Form isseparate. It must contain the name of your present employer, your social insurancenumber, the amount of money loaned, the rate of interest, the date when payments aredue, and your signature. The words Wage Assignment must be printed at the top ofthe form and also near the line for your signature. Even if you have signed a WageAssignment agreement, Roysner will not withhold part of your wages unless all of thefollowing conditions are met: 1. You have to be more than forty days late in paymentof what you owe; 2. Roysner has to receive a correct statement of the amount you arein default and a copy of the Wage Assignment form; and 3. You and Roysner mustreceive a notice from the creditor at least twenty days in advance stating that thecreditor plans to make a demand on your wages. This twenty-day notice gives you achance to correct the problems yourself. If these conditions are all met, Roysner mustwithhold 15 percent of each paycheque until your bill is paid and give this money toyour creditor.

    If you think you are not late or that you do not owe the amount stated, you can argueagainst it by filing a legal document called a defence. Once you file a defence,Roysner will not withhold any money from you. However, be sure you are right beforeyou file a defence. If you are wrong, you have to pay not only what you owe but alsoall legal costs for both yourself and the creditor. If you are right, the creditor has to payall these costs.


    FIGURE 5.1

    A Document with Poor Visual Impact

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    Unit 1 Building Effective Messages90


    When you buy goods on credit, the store will sometimes ask you to sign a Wage Assignment form allowing

    it to deduct money from your wages if you do not pay your bill.

    Have You Signed a Wage Assignment Form?

    When you buy on credit, you sign a contract agreeing to pay a certain amount each week or month untilyou have paid all you owe. The Wage Assignment Form is separate. It must contain the following:

    The name of your present employer Your social insurance number The amount of insurance The rate of interest

    The date when payments are due Your signature

    The words Wage Assignment must be printed at the top of the form and also near the line for yoursignature.

    When Would Money Be Deducted from Your Wages to Pay a Creditor?

    Even if you have signed a