English
6700

Document Design and Production

Spring
2016

 

Graphics reading

Week 1

Guidelines for using graphics

Comments

This presents four guidelines that you need to follow when you consider including graphics within a document.

Readings

Guidelines for using graphics

Choosing the best graphic

Voice

 

When graphics will help (and when they will not)

Comments

Any graphic can be classified as: navigation graphics, content graphics, or ornamental graphics. Too often, the use of graphics get lumped into the category of "graphics" and the differences between the three categories are lost.

They are all very different in the way they influence a design, are perceived by a reader, and affect the quality of your design.

Readings

Deciding When Graphics Will Help (and When They Won't)

People's responses to the article

 

Voice

 

Ethical graphics

Comments

 

Readings

Ethical graphic design and use

Whats wrong with this graph?

Great moments in deceptive graphs

Misleading Graphs: Figures Not Drawn to Scale

Voice

 

Choosing a graphic

Comments

Different graphs are not interchangable and it is not matter of "I like XX graphs." You must use the proper graph to communicate the information effectively.

Readings

Choosing a graphic

 

Voice

 

Photographs

Comments

Readings

Using photographs

 

 

Voice

 

Illustrations

Comments

Readings

Using illustrations

Using simple diagrams

 

Voice

 

Tables

Comments

When a reader needs actual values, use a table. But also remember that people can't easily distiquish trends with tables.

In general, avoid the Excel graph that has both a graph and table tied together. Make a design choice on what the reader needs. The other form is just extra ink.

Readings

Guidelines for designing tables

Designing Tables 101

Designing Terrific Tables

Voice

 

Line art or photograph

Comments

Readings

Line art or photograph

Voice

 

Writing figure captions

Comments

Remember that figure and table captions have three parts. Figure captions go below the figure and table captions go above the table.

Readings

Writing figure captions

 

Voice

 

In-text references of figures and tables

Comments

All figures and tables used in a document should be references in the text. Follow these rules when referencing a figure or table.

  • In-text reference style is your choice, but it must be consistent. For example, See Fig. 1. see figure 1, (fig. 1), (Figure 1)
  • The figure or table goes as soon after the in-text reference as possible (never before).
  • Start numbering figures and tables at the beginning of the document. For your purposes, simply start numbering at 1. Only use numbering like 1.1 and 2.3 when there are chapters. None of the documents in this class will have chapters.
  • Figures and tables are each numbered seperately. In other words, there will be a figure 1 and a table 1.
  • Everything that is not a table is a figure.
  • Figure captions go after the figure and table captions go before the table.

Readings

 

Voice

 

Place the figure or table as soon after the reference as possible.

Comments

The graphic should appear as soon after the reference as possible. Ideally, it comes after the paragraph with the reference. However, because of size or the paragraph's position on the page, it might be pushed to the next page. But don't leave blank space at the bottom of a page, continue with the text and place the graphic at the top of the next page.

When you are first writing the text, just put the graphic after the paragraph that references it and move it to the proper place to control the page breaks later. The difficulty with placing graphics at specific spots on the page is problem with Word, if you get to use fancier layout programs, you'll find that it lets you simply say "float to top of next page."

When you do the final page formatting, just before printing, then you have to fill in any white space caused by the graphic so that there is not any large gaps. In this image, you'll need to move some text before the graphic to fill in the white space created because the graphic was too big to fit on the bottom of the page.

Readings

Keep the figure and caption together

 

Voice

2D versus 3D graphics

Comments

In general, unless you have three dimensions of data, use 2D graphics. They are easier to read.

Readings

Problems of 3D graphs

 

Voice

 

Legends

Comments

Excel always puts a ledgend on the graphic, but if you only have a single data set it is redudant. Then it is just chart junk

Only use a ledgend if you have two or more data sets. And make sure they have a descriptive and useful label.

Readings

 

Voice

 

Figures must fit within the margins

Comments

Figures must fit within the page margins. It looks very unprofessional to have figures that extend into the margins.

If you have a very large image, Word and most other programs will simply put it onto the page and may even cut it off if it extends past the page edge. It is your job to make sure the graphic is properly sized.

If you are using real cut & paste (think cutting a picture out and taping it onto a sheet of paper), it is very easy to get the image in the margin unless you conciously think about it.

What you need to do:

  • Keep the figure in the margin. Reduce the image if needed.
  • Maintain proper white space around the image. It's easy to smash it against the text above or below it.

Both of these examples show the image extending to the margins.

Readings

 

Voice

 

Misleading with perspective

Comments

Besides other issues with 3D graphics, they can distort the perspective of how the similiar different pieces appear. In this graph, with the 3D, it looks like the green and blue are almsot the same size. With the 2D graph, that is clearly not the case.

Readings

 

Voice

 

Week 2

Mark up the graphic

Comments

Don't expect people to interpret a graphic the same way you do or to figure out the relationships by comparing the text and the graphic. Use an image program to mark it up.

A common problem is that people will put a complex graphic onto a page and then not annote it. The result is the text has lines such as (from a corporate annual report analysis) "Some images of the products were used as background images with an opaque block of text separating the image and the text, which I thought looked very polished, however the random food items floating around the edges and center of most of the report’s pages felt very out of place in the overall design." The problem here isn't the things the person pointed out, but that the reader is expect to go to the page and FIND those thing without any guidance. The image placed into the report needed to be annotated to highlight the points being made.

Readings

 

Voice

 

Example - Graphics style guide

Comments

Readings

CDC graphics style guide

 

Voice

 

 

Long complex information flows

Comments

This only is a single panel that isn't completely serious. But what to do when you have complex interactions to show. This is design of intermeshed lines is one method to consider using.

Unlike Gantt charts and swimlane charts, it always you to show the when concepts/ideas merge together and move apart again.

Readings

Creating long information flows

 

Voice

 

Talking to artists

Comments

Artists and graphic designers have their own jargon. When you have to hire one, it helps to be able to speak there language so that you can be sure both of you understand what you want.

Readings

Tips on talking to artists

Voice

 

Why too many graphs look like crap

Comments

From the reading introduction:

It’s about more than just choosing the right chart type. It’s about presenting information in a way that is easy to understand and intuitive to navigate, making the viewer do as little legwork as possible.

Once more we come back to understanding what the audience needs and creating information that meets those needs.

Readings

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/data-visualization-mistakes

 

Voice

 

Too Much Data Disables Your Decision Making

Comments

Most people think they need more data so they can be completely sure about their decision. Or when they are writing a report, they want to provide lots of data, so the decision maker's job will be easy because they'll ALL of the data.

Unfortunately, people don't process data well and ignore most of it.

Graphics let you provide lots of data, but you can overload the person and actually cause worse decision making.

Readings

Why too much data disables your decision making

 

Voice

 

Graph comprehension research

Comments

Readings

Review of Graph Comprehension Research

Voice

 

Nightingale graphics

Comments

Readings

Nightingale graphics

Notes
Voice

 

Specific design techniques

Gestalt theory

Comments

Readings

Gestalt theory

 

Voice

 

Law of Pragnanz

Comments

Readings

Law of Pragnanz

Notes
Voice

 

Common fate

Comments

Readings

Common fate

Notes
Voice

 

 

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