Welcome to my IPD blog! If you're Miss Jenny..... HI! If you're a Taylor's student trying to look for references to copy...... PARAPHRASE!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Our education in the secondary level has always lead us to believe that a good document or presentation is one that contains massive amounts of hard facts with no bad mistakes–that is, no errors of grammar, punctuation, or spelling, when all this is merely half of the work. So what is a good document then?

As Anderson points out, a good document helps readers to read through the document efficiently while emphasizing on the most important contents of the document to the readers. Anderson also suggests that a good document is one that encourages readers to feel good about a communication. (Anderson, 1987)

In this post, I will be discussing the factors that contribute to a good document design while analyzing the slides of my previous presentation to determine whether the document design was good or not.

Firstly, one of the most crucial element in any document design is the heading.  A heading captures the essence of the topic of a document. (Svenonius, 2000) Headings are important to direct readers to specific information. Headers neatly divides main points from one another to help readers see when one topic finishes and another begins. (Reep, 2006)

In this slide, the readers won’t have any problem finding the heading because it is separated in it’s own textbox and has a larger font than the other text. The short heading immediately gives the audience knowledge of what the topic of the slide is and instantly directs them below to find out more.
Proportion of page elements also contribute to a good document.  Reep states that using the same proportions for text and visual aid would cause the article to appear bland to the reader thus interfere with their ability to understand the document. Each relevant text should be at the size that is helpful to the reader. (Reep, 2006)
Take for instance this slide. The document does seem monotonous because both the title text and the sub texts are of the same font and colour. Though the text size is different, using the same font bored the readers. (Schriver, 1997) The colour of the text and the colour of the background is closely similar and is very displeasing to the eye because it is hard to read the text.
Perhaps what could be done to improve it is to use a darker background and break the points into two separate slides so that it doesn’t appear crammed.

Visual aid also contribute to a good document design. Providing visuals like background pictures will increase the readers interest in the article because the document is eye catching and pleasant to look at. (Microsoft Office Online, 2007)
This slide contains a lot of bright colours that catches the readers attention and at the same time, presents the text clearly. The bold black colour of the text together with the white background of the textbox makes a good contrast with the colourful backdrop. This ensures that the readers are still able to concentrate on the important contents.
  1. Anderson, P 1987, “Technical writing : A reader-centered approach,” 2nd edn, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich , Orlando, Florida.
  2. Microsoft Office Online, 2007, “Tips for creating and delivering an effective presentation,” online, retrieved 7th September 2009, from
  3. Reep, D C, 2006, “Techincal writing,” 6th edn, Pearson/Longman, New York.
  4. Schriver, K A, 1997, Chapter 6: Dynamics in document design: creating texts for readers, Wiley Computer Pub, New York
  5. Svenonius, E, 2000, “The Intellectual  Foundation of Information Organization, 1st edn, The MIT Press, Campbridge, Massachusetts.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails