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Designing Documents for Readability

Helping your reader get the message. Designing Documents for Readability. Visual elements of a page. Text Headings and titles Graphics Simple separators (lines and boxes). White space. Use white space to set off important items or markers. Figures and tables Titles of sections

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Designing Documents for Readability

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  1. Helping your reader get the message Designing Documents for Readability

  2. Visual elements of a page • Text • Headings and titles • Graphics • Simple separators (lines and boxes) • White space

  3. Use white space to set off important items or markers. • Figures and tables • Titles of sections • Titles of figures and tables • Headings

  4. Use serif and sans-serif fonts wisely. • Serif – for longer blocks of text that are up close to the reader. • Sans-serif – for text that will be projected or seen from a distance.

  5. Disseminating documents digitally: • Convert documents to PDF (Portable Document File) to preserve formatting. • When sharing documents for review (before they are finalized), use Track Changes in MS Word – don’t convert to PDF until final draft.

  6. Document Paper and covers Single-sided? Margins Sections Start on right-facing pages? Use line or other graphic device? Headings and Subheadings Position Font & size & characteristics Main Text Font Paragraph indentation? Line spacing Page Numbering Where on page? What font/type? Different for different sections? Tables and Figures Integrated with text?? Where do labels go?? References Citations in parentheses in text? Reference list goes where? Abbreviations, Acronyms, Equations Include glossary? Where? Acronyms spelled out where? Mathematical variables explained where? Style Sheet Checklist

  7. Writing collaboratively is a mixed blessing. • Why?

  8. Designing and writing documents collaboratively. • Set up a style sheet early in the process. • Learn and use Track Changes!! • Name files with date and your name. • Agree early on division of labor for each assignment: • research, writing, editing, graphics, etc. • Stay in good contact with each other! • Respect your own deadlines.

  9. Assignments for next week: • Post project idea on Message Board by noon on Wednesday, Sept. 8. • Respond to at least one other person’s idea by 5:00 p.m. on Thurs., Sept. 9. You may change ideas based on feedback in lab and on message board. • Post project topic in your own words, even if you plan to partner. Do state at end the name of potential partner.

  10. Posting your Project Topic: • Write a 2-3 sentence description of a real sustainability problem/issue in the region or on campus. • Name the experts whom you will interview for information on the problem and possible solutions. • Identify which grants you will apply for (see the posted RFPs).

  11. Problem Description assignment • This first section of your proposal describes the sustainability problem you will study solutions for. The problem must be local and real. • Identify experienced professionals who have some idea about the real problem and possible solutions. Base your description on: • Interviews with the subject-matter expert (SME) • Published sources of information • Define sustainability on the basis of the actual problem/need AND your research.

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