ENG 360 Ashworth College Technical Communication Worksheet

ASSIGNMENT 4EN360 Technical Communication
Directions: Be sure to save an electronic copy of your answer before submitting it to
Ashworth College for grading. Unless otherwise stated, answer in complete sentences,
and be sure to use correct English, spelling and grammar. Sources must be cited in APA
format. Your response should be four (4) double-spaced pages; refer to the “Assignment
Format” page located on the Course Home page for specific format requirements.
Part A: Written and Oral Communication Skills
Locate a website for an organization that hires graduates in your major. Besides technical
skills, what writing and communication skills does this organization seek in a job
candidate? Write a one-page essay on what they say directly on this subject. Include
reasons why each skill is important, and any additional written/spoken skills that you
believe would give a candidate a competitive advantage.
Part B: Effective Writing Teams
a. What types of projects require collaboration?
b. What are four primary attributes of an effective writing team? Provide an example
for each.
Part C: Internet Source Distortion/Misrepresentation
From media, personal experience, or the Internet, identify an example of each of the
following sources of distortion (faulty causal and/or statistical inference) for the
following:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
A study with questionable sponsorship or motives
Reliance on insufficient evidence/hasty generalization
Unbalanced or biased presentation
Unexamined assumptions
Faulty causal reasoning
Part D: Checklist for Style – Local Newspaper
Using the “Checklist for Style” on the following page (also found in Chapter 11 of your
textbook), rewrite the following letter to a local newspaper.
In the absence of definitive studies regarding the optimum length of the
school day, I can only state my personal opinion based upon observations
based by me and upon teacher observations that have been conveyed to me.
Considering the length of the present school day, it is my opinion that the day
is excessive length-wise for most elementary pupils, certainly for almost all
of the primary children.
To find my answer to the problem requires consideration of two ways in
which the problem may be viewed. One way focuses upon the needs of the
children, while the other focuses upon logistics, transportation, scheduling,
and other limits imposed by the educational system. If it is necessary to
prioritize these two ideas, it would seem reasonable to give the first
consideration to the primary reason for the very existence of the system, i.e.,
to meet the educational needs of the children the system is trying to serve.
Grading Rubric
Please refer to the rubric on the next page for the grading criteria for this assignment.
CATEGORY
Part A: Written and
Oral Communication
Skills (20 points)
Exemplary
20 points
The student describes 4 or
more well-written, currently
marketable skills with
reasons why each skill is
important.
Satisfactory
15 points
The student describes 4 or
more well-written, currently
marketable skills with fewer
than 4 reasons why the skills
are important.
Unsatisfactory
10 points
The student describes 4
currently marketable skills,
but does not provide
support for his or her
choices.
Unacceptable
5 points
The student describes
fewer than 4 currently
marketable skills, and does
not provide support for his
or her choices.
20 points
15 points
The student describes 4 or
The student describes 2 to 3
more types of projects that types of projects that
require collaboration + 4
require collaboration + 4
attributes of an effective
attributes of an effective
writing team with examples writing team with only
of each.
partial examples.
Part C: Internet
20 points
15 points
Source
The student provides 5 well- The student provides 5
Distortion/Misrepre written/evaluated examples – adequately
sentation (20 points) one for each of the 5 sources written/evaluated examples
of distortion.
– one for each of the 5
sources of distortion.
10 points
The student describes only
1 type of project that
requires collaboration + 4 or
fewer attributes of an
effective writing team with
only partial examples.
10 points
The student provides
passably written/evaluated
examples that may or may
not cover each of the 5
sources of distortion.
5 points
The student fails to
describe any projects that
require collaboration +
provides inappropriate
supporting attributes of an
effective writing team.
5 points
The student provides
poorly written/evaluated
examples that may or may
not cover each of the 5
sources of distortion.
Part D: Checklist for
Style – Local
Newspaper (15
points)
15 points
The student’s new iteration
is less than half the length of
the original and is free of all
the errors outlined in the
“Checklist for Style”.
12 points
The student’s new iteration
is less than half the length of
the original and includes no
more than 3 of the errors
outlined in the “Checklist for
Style”.
8 points
The student’s new iteration
is less than or equal to half
the length of the original
and includes no more than 5
of the errors outlined in the
“Checklist for Style”.
5 points
The student’s new
iteration is more than than
half the length of the
original and includes more
than 5 of the errors
outlined in the “Checklist
for Style”.
Mechanics Grammar,
Punctuation,
Spelling (10 Points)
10 points
Student makes no errors in
grammar or spelling that
distract the reader from the
content.
8 points
Student makes 1-2 errors in
grammar or spelling that
distract the reader from the
content.
5 points
Student makes 3-4 errors in
grammar or spelling that
distract the reader from the
content.
2 points
Student makes more than
4 errors in grammar or
spelling that distract the
reader from the content.
Format – APA
Format, Citations,
Organization,
Transitions (15
Points)
15 points
The paper is written in
proper format. All sources
used for quotes and facts are
credible and cited correctly.
Excellent organization,
including a variety of
thoughtful transitions.
12 points
The paper is written in
proper format with only 1-2
errors. All sources used for
quotes and facts are credible
and most are cited correctly.
Adequate organization
includes a variety of
appropriate transitions.
8 points
The paper is written in
proper format with only 3-5
errors. Most sources used
for quotes and facts are
credible and cited correctly.
Essay is poorly organized,
but may include a few
effective transitions.
5 points
The paper is not written in
proper format. Many
sources used for quotes
and facts are less than
credible (suspect) and/or
are not cited correctly.
Essay is disorganized and
does not include effective
transitions.
Part B: Effective
Writing Teams (20
points)
This is the end of Assignment 4.
Chapter 11
Editing for a Professional
Style and Tone
Technical Communication,
13th Edition
John M. Lannon
Laura J. Gurak
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Learning Objectives
➢ Appreciate the role of style in any document
➢ Write clear, concise, and fluent sentences
➢ Use precise language
➢ Achieve a tone that connects with your
audience
➢ Understand that various cultures have
various style preferences
➢ Understand that words can have unintended
legal and ethical consequences
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Learning Objectives (continued)
➢ Consider tone and style when writing email
messages.
➢ Recognize the benefits and drawbacks of
digital editing tools
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Style
No matter how technical your document, your
audience will not understand the content unless
the style is readable. To help your audience
spend less time reading, spend time revising for
a style that is clear, concise, fluent, exact, and
likable. Consider the following:
➢ the way in which you construct each sentence
➢ the length of your sentences
➢ the way in which you connect sentences
➢ the words and phrases you choose
➢ the tone you convey
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Editing for Clarity
Clear writing enables people to read each
sentence only once in order to fully grasp its
meaning. The following suggestions will help
you edit for clarity:
➢ Avoid ambiguous pronoun references. Pronouns
(he, she, it, their, and so on) must clearly refer to the
noun they replace.
➢ Avoid ambiguous modifiers. If a modifier is too far
from the words it modifies, the message can be
ambiguous. Position modifiers to reflect your
meaning.
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Editing for Clarity (continued)
➢ Unstack modifying nouns. Too many nouns in a
row can create confusion and reading difficulty.
➢ Arrange word order for coherence and emphasis.
In coherent writing, everything sticks together; each
sentence builds on the preceding sentence and looks
ahead to the one that follows.
➢ Use active voice whenever possible. In general,
readers grasp the meaning more quickly and clearly
when the writer uses the active voice (I did it) rather
than the passive voice (It was done by me).
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Editing for Clarity (continued)
➢ Use passive voice selectively. Use the passive
voice when your audience has no need to know the
agent.
➢ Avoid overstuffed sentences. Give no more
information in one sentence than readers can retain
and process.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Editing for Conciseness
Concise writing conveys the most information
in the fewest words. But it does not omit those
details necessary for clarity. Use fewer words
whenever fewer will do. The following
suggestions will help you edit for conciseness:
➢ Avoid wordy phrases. Replace phrases like due to
the fact that with one word: because.
➢ Eliminate redundancy. A redundant expression
says the same thing twice, in different words, as in
fellow colleagues.
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Editing for Conciseness
(continued)
➢ Avoid needless repetition. Unnecessary repetition
clutters writing and dilutes meaning.
➢ Avoid there sentence openers. Many There is or
There are sentence openers can be eliminated.
➢ Avoid some it sentence openers. Avoid beginning
a sentence with it—unless the it clearly points to a
specific referent in the preceding sentence.
➢ Delete needless prefaces. Instead of delaying the
new information in your sentence, get right to the
point.
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Editing for Conciseness
(continued)
➢ Avoid weak verbs. Prefer verbs that express a
definite action: open, close, move, continue, begin.
Avoid weak verbs that express no specific action: is,
was, are, has, give, make, come, take.
➢ Avoid excessive prepositions. Also replace lengthy
prepositional phrases like with the exception of with
shorter phrases: except for.
➢ Avoid nominalizations. Nouns manufactured
from verbs, like give consideration to are harder to
understand than the verbs themselves: consider.
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Editing for Conciseness
(continued)
➢ Make negatives positive. A positive expression like
Please be on time is easier to understand than a
negative one: Please do not be late.
➢ Clean out clutter words. Clutter words stretch a
message without adding meaning. Here are some of
the most common: very, definitely, quite, extremely,
rather, somewhat, really, actually, currently, situation,
aspect, factor.
➢ Delete needless qualifiers. Qualifiers such as I feel,
it seems, I believe, in my opinion, and I think express
uncertainty or soften the tone and force of a
statement.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Editing for Fluency
Fluent sentences are easy to read because
they provide clear connections, variety, and
emphasis. The following suggestions will help
you edit for fluency:
➢ Combine related ideas. Don’t force readers to insert
transitions between ideas and decide which points
are most important.
➢ Vary sentence construction and length. Do not rely
only on long, complex sentences.
➢ Use short sentences for special emphasis. Short
sentences, when used sparingly, are effective.
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Finding the Exact Words
Poor word choices produce inefficient and often
unethical writing that resists interpretation and
frustrates the audience. Use the following
strategies to edit for word choice, that is, to
find words that are convincing, precise, and
informative:
➢ Prefer simple and familiar wording. Don’t replace
technically precise words with nontechnical words
that are vague or imprecise. Don’t write a part that
makes the computer run when you mean central
processing unit.
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Finding the Exact Words
(continued)
➢ Avoid useless jargon. Every profession has its
own shorthand and accepted phrases and terms.
For example, stat (from the Latin “statim” or
“immediately”) is medical jargon for Drop everything
and deal with this emergency. Use them only with
specialized audiences.
➢ Use acronyms selectively. Acronyms are words
formed from the initial letter of each word in a phrase
(as in LOCA from loss of coolant accident) or from a
combination of initial letters and parts of words. Use
them only if you know your audience will understand
them.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Finding the Exact Words
(continued)
➢ Avoid triteness. Worn-out phrases like water under
the bridge make writers seem too lazy or too careless
to find exact, unique ways of saying what they mean.
➢ Avoid misleading euphemisms. A form of
understatement, a euphemism is an expression
aimed at politeness or at making unpleasant subjects
seem less offensive. Don’t use them to understate
the truth, however, when the truth is necessary.
➢ Avoid overstatement. Exaggeration sounds phony.
Be cautious when using superlatives such as best,
biggest, brightest, most, and worst.
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Finding the Exact Words
(continued)
➢ Avoid imprecise wording. Words listed as
synonyms usually carry different shades of meaning.
Do you mean to say I’m slender, You’re slim, She’s
lean, or He’s scrawny?
➢ Be specific and concrete. Don’t say job, when you
can better help your reader by specifying Senior
Account Manager.
➢ Use analogies to sharpen the image. An analogy
shows some essential similarity between two different
things. Analogies are good for emphasizing a point
(Some rain is now as acidic as vinegar).
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Adjusting Your Tone
Your tone is your personal trademark. The tone
you create depends on the distance you impose
between yourself and the reader, and the
attitude you show toward the subject. Use the
following strategies to edit for tone:
➢ Use appropriate level of formality. Use a formal or
semiformal tone in writing for superiors, professionals,
or academics. Use a semiformal or informal tone in
writing for colleagues and subordinates. Use an
informal tone when you want your writing to be
conversational.
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Adjusting Your Tone (continued)
➢ Avoid a negative tone when conveying unpleasant
information.
➢ Consider using the occasional contraction.
Unless you have reason to be formal, use (but do not
overuse) contractions, for example balancing I am
with I’m.
➢ Address readers directly. Use the personal
pronouns you and your to connect with readers.
➢ Use I and We when appropriate. Instead of
disappearing behind your writing, use I or We when
referring to yourself or your organization.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Adjusting Your Tone (continued)
➢ Prefer the active voice. Because the active voice is
more direct and economical than the passive voice, it
generally creates a less formal tone.
➢ Emphasize the positive. Whenever you offer
advice, suggestions, or recommendations, try to
emphasize benefits rather than flaws.
➢ Avoid an overly informal tone. Achieving a
conversational tone does not mean writing in the
same way we would speak to friends at a favorite
hangout.
➢ Avoid personal bias. If people expect an impartial
report, try to keep your own biases out of it.
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Adjusting Your Tone (continued)
➢ Avoid sexist usage. Use neutral expressions such
as chair or chairperson rather than chairman.
Rephrase a sentence, using plural forms (they), or
using occasional paired pronouns (he or she) to
include all readers. Avoid using diminutives like –ess
and –ette to refer to females.
➢ Avoid offensive language of all types. Use your
common sense. Be specific when referring to a
person’s cultural/national background. Avoid
potentially judgmental expressions. Use person-first
language for people with disabilities or medical
conditions. Avoid expressions that demean.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Considering the Global
and Ethical Context
➢ Adjust some of the guidelines in this chapter
depending on cultural considerations. For
example, in some cultures passive voice is
preferred, and informality is considered
inappropriate in the workplace.
➢ Poor word choice can also have ethical and
legal ramifications.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Style, Tone, and Email
People often pay little attention to the style and
tone of their email messages. Email can be
fraught with spelling errors and inappropriate
informality in the workplace. In general, keep
the tone and style of workplace email brief,
professional, and polite.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Using Digital Editing Tools
Effectively
Autocorrect and spell check tools look for words
judged to be incorrect and suggest or insert
replacements. But these digital editing tools can
be extremely imprecise and should be used
with caution:
➢ Spell checkers can’t tell the difference between words
like its and it’s or their and there.
➢ Grammar checkers work well to help you locate
possible problems, but do not rely solely on their
suggested ways to fix problems.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Review Questions
1. What are five aspects of style to consider
when you edit your work?
2. What is clarity?
3. What is conciseness?
4. What is fluency?
5. Why is avoiding poor word choice important?
6. What is tone?
7. What are three ways to avoid sexist
language?
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Review Questions (continued)
8. What are three ways to avoid other types of
offensive language?
9. Why is considering the cultural context
important in terms of style?
10. Why should you use digital editing tools
cautiously?
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 12
Designing Visual Information
Technical Communication,
13th Edition
John M. Lannon
Laura J. Gurak
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Learning Objectives
➢ Understand the role of visuals in technical
communication
➢ Determine when to use visuals
➢ Select the right visuals for your readers
➢ Create tables, graphs, charts, illustrations,
photographs, and videos
➢ Increase visual appeal by using color
appropriately
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Learning Objectives (continued)
➢ Identify ethical issues when using visuals
➢ Understand how cultural considerations affect
your choice of visuals
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Visuals
➢ Because they focus and organize information,
visuals make data easier to interpret and
remember.
➢ By offering new ways of looking at data,
visuals reveal meanings that might otherwise
remain buried in lists of facts and figures.
➢ Readers want more than just raw information;
they want this material shaped and enhanced
so they can understand the message at a
glance.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Why Visuals Matter
Visuals help us to answer questions like:
➢ Which information is most important?
➢ Where, exactly, should I focus?
➢ What do these numbers mean?
➢ What should I be thinking or doing?
➢ What should I remember about this?
➢ What does it look like?
➢ How is it organized?
➢ How is it done?
➢ How does it work?
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When to Use Visuals
➢ Use visuals whenever they can make your
point more clearly than text or when they can
enhance your text.
➢ Use visuals to clarify and support your
discussion, not just to decorate your
document.
➢ Use visuals to direct the audience’s focus or
help them remember something.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Types of Visuals
Visuals come in four categories: tables, graphs,
charts, and graphic illustrations.
➢ Tables: Display organized data across columns and
rows for easy comparison.
➢ Graphs: Translate numbers into shapes, shades,
and patterns.
➢ Charts: Depict relationships via geometric, arrows,
lines, and other design elements.
➢ Graphic Illustrations: Rely on pictures rather than
on data or words.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
How to Choose the Right Visuals
To select the most effective display, answer
these questions:
➢ What is the purpose for using this visual: Do I
want to show facts and figures? Show parts of a
mechanism? Give directions? Show relationships?
➢ Who is my audience for these visuals: Is it an expert
audience? A general audience? A global audience?
➢ What form of information will best achieve my
purpose for this audience: Is my message best
conveyed by numbers? Words? Shapes? Pictures?
Symbols?
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Tables
Tables display dense textual information such as
specifications or comparisons.
1. Numerical tables present quantitative
information (data that can be measured).
2. Prose tables present qualitative
information (prose descriptions,
explanations,
or instructions).
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Graphs
➢ Graphs translate numbers into shapes,
shades, and patterns. They display, at a
glance, the approximate values, the point
being made about those values, and the
relationship being emphasized.
➢ Graphs are especially useful for depicting
comparisons, changes over time, patterns,
or trends.
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Graphs (continued)
1. Bar graphs: Show discrete comparisons,
such as year-by-year or month-by-month.
➢ A simple bar graph displays one trend or theme.
A multiple bar graph displays two or three
relationships simultaneously.
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Graphs (continued)
➢ A horizontal-bar graph is good for displaying a large
series of bars arranged in order of increasing or
decreasing value.
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Graphs (continued)
➢ A stacked bar graph shows how much each data
set contributes to the whole.
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Graphs (continued)
➢ A 100 Percent bar graph shows the value of each
part that makes up the 100 percent value.
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Graphs (continued)
➢ A 3D bar graph shows a three-dimensional view.
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Graphs (continued)
2. Line graphs: Help readers synthesize
large bodies of information in which exact
quantities don’t need to be emphasized.
➢ A simple line graph plots time intervals (or
categories) on the horizontal scale and values
on the vertical scale. A multiline graph displays
several relationships simultaneously.
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Graphs (continued)
➢ A deviation line graph extends the vertical scale
below the zero baseline to display positive and
negative values in one graph.
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Graphs (continued)
➢ A simple band or area graph shades in the area
beneath the main plot lines to highlight specific
information.
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Graphs (continued)
➢ A multiple band graph depicts relationships among
sums instead of the direct comparisons.
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Charts
➢ The terms chart and graph often are used
interchangeably.
➢ However, charts, unlike graphs, display
relationships (quantitative or cause-andeffect) that are not plotted on a coordinate
system (x and y axes).
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Charts (continued)
1. Pie charts: Display the relationship of parts
or percentages to the whole.
➢ A simple pie chart simply shows the relationship
of parts to the whole. An exploded pie chart
highlights various slices:
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Charts (continued)
2. Organization charts: Show the hierarchy
and relationships between different departments
and other units in an organization.
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Charts (continued)
3. Flowcharts: Trace procedures or processes
from beginning to end.
4. Tree charts: Show how the parts of an idea
or concept are related.
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Charts (continued)
5. Gantt charts: Depict how the parts of an
idea or concept relate. A series of bars or
lines (time lines) indicates start-up and
completion dates for each phase or task in
a project.
6. PERT charts: Use shapes and arrows to
outline a project’s main activities and events.
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Charts (continued)
7. Pictograms: Display numerical data by
plotting it across x and y axes, and use icons,
symbols, or other graphic devices.
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Graphic Illustrations
➢ Illustrations can be diagrams, maps,
drawings, icons, photographs, or any other
visual that relies mainly on pictures rather
than on data or words.
➢ Avoid using illustrations simply to decorate
the page. Each illustration you use should
serve a specific purpose.
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Graphic Illustrations (continued)
1. Diagrams: Illustrate how things work or fit
together by altering their real appearance.
➢ An exploded diagram shows how the parts of an
item are assembled. A cutaway diagram shows
the item with its exterior layers removed to reveal
interior sections. A block diagram represents the
relationship between the parts of an item, principle,
system, or process.
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Graphic Illustrations (continued)
2. Maps: Are especially useful for showing
comparisons and for helping users visualize
position, location, and relationships among
various data.
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Graphic Illustrations (continued)
3. Photographs: Are especially useful for
showing exactly how something looks or how
something is done.
4. Videos: Are particularly useful to show how
to do something from start to beginning.
5. Symbols and Icons: Can convey
information
visually to a wide range of audiences.
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Using Color
Consider using color not only in your visuals,
but also within the text of a document in order
to:
➢ Organize textual material (color rules and color
background)
➢ Orient readers (color headings, tabs, boxes, and
sidebars)
➢ Emphasize information (color key words, cross
references, Web links, and text borders)
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Ethical Considerations
Because visuals are easy to manipulate, be
especially careful about using visuals ethically.
➢ Present the real picture. Visual relationships in a
graph should accurately portray the numerical
relationships they represent. Do not distort sizes,
angles, lengths, widths, or anything else to mislead
the viewer.
➢ Present the complete picture. An accurate visual
should include all essential data, without selectively
omitting important data.
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Cultural Considerations
➢ Visual communication can serve as a
universal language—as long as the graphic
or image is not misinterpreted.
➢ The use of color is an especially important
cultural consideration: For instance, U.S.
audiences associate red with danger and
green with safety. But these colors represent
different things in other cultures.
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Review Questions
1. Why is using visuals in technical
communication important?
2. When should you use visuals?
3. What are the four categories of visuals, and
what does each do?
4. What three questions should you ask yourself
when you are deciding which type of visual to
use?
5. What are the two types of tables, and what
kind of information does each type present?
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Review Questions (continued)
6. What are the two most common types of bar
graphs, and what is the function of each type?
7. What are the two most common types of line
graphs, and what is the function of each type?
8. What are the two types of pie charts, and
what is the function of each type?
9. What are the three most common types of
diagrams, and what do they show?
10. In what ways does color enhance any
technical document?
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 13
Designing Pages and
Documents
Technical Communication,
13th Edition
John M. Lannon
Laura J. Gurak
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Learning Objectives
➢ Understand why document design is
important
➢ Learn design skills that are needed in today’s
workplace
➢ Know how to use white space and margins
➢ Know how to choose typefaces and type
sizes
➢ Know how to use color, shading, and other
highlighting elements
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Learning Objectives (continued)
➢ Know how to use headings, subheads, and
running heads
➢ Understand that on-screen documents have
special design requirements
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Page Design
➢ Page design, the layout of words and
graphics, determines the look of a document.
➢ Well-designed pages invite readers into the
document, guide them through the material,
and help them understand and remember the
information.
➢ In technical communication, the term “page”
might mean a page of a report, but it can also
mean one panel of a brochure, a one-page
set of instructions, a Web page, and more.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Page Design in
Workplace Documents
➢ People read work-related documents only
because they have to. If there are easier
ways of getting the information, people will
use them.
➢ An audience’s first impression tends to
involve a purely visual, aesthetic judgment:
“Does this look like something I want to read,
or like too much work?”
➢ Therefore, workplace documents need a
clean, clear, attractive page design.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Design Skills Needed in
Today’s Workplace
In order to be able to meet the design
requirements of today’s workplace, you’ll need
to develop skills at:
➢ Using desktop publishing software. With such
software as Adobe InDesign or Quark, you control
the
entire production cycle: designing, illustrating, laying
out, and printing the final document.
➢ Electronic publishing. With programs like Adobe
RoboHelp or Adobe Dreamweaver, you can create
documents in digital format for the Web, the company
intranet, or as online help screens.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Design Skills Needed in Today’s
Workplace (continued)
➢ Using style sheets and style guidelines. Style
sheets are specifications that ensure consistency
across a single document or among a set of
documents. Style guides contain rules for proper use
of trade names, appropriate punctuation, preferred
formats for correspondence, and so on.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Creating a Design that Works
for Your Readers
Approach your design decisions to achieve a
consistent look, to highlight certain material,
and to aid navigation. You will need to think
about four design categories:
➢ Shaping the page
➢ Styling the words and letters
➢ Adding emphasis
➢ Using headings for access and orientation.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Shaping the Page
In shaping a page, consider its look, feel, and
overall layout. The following suggestions will
help you shape appealing and usable pages:
➢ Use the Right Paper. For routine documents, print in
black, on low-gloss, white paper. For documents that
will be published, consider the paper’s grade and
quality.
➢ Provide Page Numbers. Use lowercase Roman
numerals for front matter (ii, iii, iv). Number the
first text page and subsequent pages with Arabic
numerals (1, 2, 3).
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Shaping the Page (continued)
➢ Provide headers and footers. These appear in the
top or bottom page margins and provide publication
information.
➢ Use a Grid. Readers make sense of a page by
looking for a consistent underlying structure:
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Shaping the Page (continued)
➢ Use White Space. Sometimes, what is not on the
page (white space) can make a big difference. Areas
of text surrounded by white space draw the reader’s
eye to those areas.
➢ Provide Ample Margins. Small margins crowd the
page and make the material look difficult. On an 8½by-11-inch page, leave margins of at least 1 or 1½
inches.
➢ Keep Line Length Reasonable. Long lines tire the
eyes. Short lines look choppy. A reasonable line
length is sixty to seventy characters per line for an
8½-by-11-inch single-column page.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Shaping the Page (continued)
➢ Keep Line Spacing Consistent. In general, single-
space within paragraphs and double-space between
paragraphs.
➢ Tailor Each Paragraph to Its Purpose. Use a long
paragraph for clustering material that is closely
related. Use a short one to make complex material
easier to digest. Avoid “orphans” (one line at the
bottom of a page) and “widows” (one line at the top of
a page).
➢ Make Lists for Easy Reading. Whenever you find
yourself writing a series of related items within a
paragraph, consider using a list instead.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Styling the Words and Letters
After shaping the page, decide on the
appropriate typefaces (fonts), type sizes, and
capitalization. Following are guidelines for
shaping the words and letters:
➢ Select an Appropriate Typeface. Typeface,
or font, refers to all the letters and characters in
one particular style (e.g. Times, Arial, Helvetica).
In selecting a typeface, consider the document’s
purpose. For visual unity, use different sizes and
versions (bold, italic, small caps) of the same
typeface throughout your document.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Styling the Words and Letters
(continued)
➢ Use Type Sizes That Are Easy to Read. Use 10 to
12 point types sizes, depending on the typeface. Use
different sizes for other elements like headings, titles,
and captions for emphasis.
➢ Use Full Caps Sparingly. Uppercase letters are
hard read and look like the writer is shouting at you.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Adding Emphasis
Once you have selected the appropriate font,
you can use different features, such as boldface
or italics, to highlight important elements such
as headings, special terms, key points, or
warnings. The following guidelines offer some
basic highlighting options:
➢ Use indentation. Indenting lines helps set off
examples, explanations, or any material that should
be differentiated from body copy.
➢ Use ruled horizontal lines. These can separate
sections in a long document.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Adding Emphasis (continued)
➢ Use ruled lines, broken lines, or ruled boxes.





These help set off crucial information.
Use boldface. Boldface is good for emphasizing a
single sentence or brief statement.
Use italics. More subtle than boldface, italics
highlight words, phrases, or book titles.
Use small type sizes. These work well for captions,
credit lines, and labels for visuals.
Avoid large type sizes. These should only be used
on rare occasions to convey forcefulness.
Use color. Color should be used sparingly, however.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Using Headings for
Access and Orientation
Headings announce how a document is
organized, point readers to what they need, and
divide the document into accessible blocks or
“chunks.” Following are guidelines for using
headings effectively:
➢ Lay Out Headings by Level. Like a good road map,
your headings should clearly announce the large and
small segments in your document.
➢ Decide How to Phrase Your Headings. Depending
on your purpose, you can phrase headings as short
phrases, statements, or questions.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Using Headings for Access and
Orientation (continued)
➢ Make Headings Visually Consistent and
Grammatically Parallel. All headings at the same
level must look the same and use the same linguistic
format (for example, if the first major level heading is
phrased as a question, all others should be).
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Audience Considerations
in Page Design
In deciding on a format, know your audience
and their intended use of your information:
➢ If people will use your document for reference only,
make sure you provide plenty of headings.
➢ If readers will follow a sequence of steps, show that
sequence in a numbered list.
➢ If readers need to evaluate something, give them a
checklist of criteria.
➢ If readers will be encountering complex information or
difficult steps, design the page so that it is easy to
read.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Designing Digital Documents
Most of the techniques in this chapter are
appropriate for both print and digital documents.
However, for digital documents, pay special
attention to these additional considerations:
➢ Web pages: On a Web page, material is less linear,
links serve the function of headings, and readers
prefer smaller chunks of information, shorter line
lengths, more white space, wider margins, different
font styles, and larger font sizes. The same is true for
online help screens.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Designing Digital Documents
(continued)
➢ Adobe Acrobat and PDF files: Unlike normal Web
pages, PDF (Portable Document Format) documents
retain their formatting and appear exactly as they
were designed in print format. As a result, link to
them from Web pages, but don’t use them as a basis
for Web page design.
➢ CDs and other media: Documents may end up
being delivered as CDs or other media. The best you
can do is identify as early as possible the media in
which your document might be delivered, and adapt
your design to work with a non-print format.
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Review Questions
1. What is page design and why is it important?
2. What design skills will you need to learn to
compete in today’s workplace?
3. What are the four design categories that you
need to consider when designing a document?
4. What are five considerations you need to keep
in mind when shaping a page?
5. What is white space, and why is it important?
6. What are three considerations you need to
keep in mind when styling words and letters?
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Review Questions (continued)
7. What are five ways to add emphasis within
a document?
8. What are three considerations you need to
keep in mind when using headings for
access and orientation?
9. What are three considerations to keep in
mind when designing for your audience?
10. In what ways do Web pages differ in design
from print pages?
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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