Technical Editing & Production



Page Design


Kimball & Hawkins -- Chap 5. Pages.

Page Design- Directing the Reader's Eye

Writing for Human Performance: Relating Reading Research to Document Design

How people read

Universal principles of design

Additional readings

Kimball & Hawkins -- Chap 9. Lists, Tables, and Forms

ECU style guide rules

East Carolina Art logo sheet

ECU purple 2009


Poor page design Design sample 2 Design sample 5
Design sample 1 Design sample 3 Design sample 6
  Design sample 4  


Critical thinking paper

“ When you think your work is complete, ask at least one member of your target audience to look at it and tell you what message is initially conveyed. Find out if he or she has reviewed it in the way you had expected, and if any elements were inappropriate—perhaps too jarring, too large, too small, or difficult to read.”

I like this advice (from the end of Page Design: Directing the reader’s eye), but how would you go about actually doing it? It’s one of those pieces of advice that sound very easy, but can fail miserably when you try to actually do it. In a usability course, on one homework, a student designed a page that was supposed to be tested with users. Instead, he said "I showed it to some people and work and they all agreed it looked more usable." Does that input tell us much about the quality of the overall design or its ability to communicate information?

Some specifics to consider:

How do you handle the issues of getting feedback from your target audience?



Page 150, exercise 2. Find a couple of documents and explain the grid choices they used. Sketch out & post your view of the grid. How does the grid fit the document's needs.


“The bottom up and top down models of reading differ in their starting points but share the notion that reading is a linear process.” It’s very easy to make the argument that web reading is not a linear process, but does that also apply to paper reading? Avoiding a discussion of whether the potentially non-linear nature of the web implies non-linear reading (I sort of question that line of thought), what does it mean that reading is a linear process? Does that same linear process apply to reading technical material for comprehension and/or decision making? How does linear reading relate to forming links (Spyridakas uses schemata) between current information, previously read information (in the same text), and prior knowledge. Also consider how it relates to the research mentioned about reading ability?

Further clarification: most reading research would ask you to read a passage of a few hundred words and then measure some aspect of what you did (speed, comprehension, etc). We could easily get into a long discussion about whether or not that type of research directly applies to reading technical material. It also leaves open great research opportunities for those of you who might want a thesis topic?


Thoughts to ponder

One reading said people can pages in a Z pattern. This is true of reading print, but not the web. Web scan is an F. (Nielsen's alertbox is a good source of design for web.....although many people disagree with his points as being too "you MUST do this")

How do perception, culture, and rhetoric impact overall page design? How can you use sequence, hierarchy, connection, and balance to create visual systems of meaning within page design? And how do they relate to the cultural and rhetorical impact?




Design by Michael J. Albers Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
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