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Locate and analyze sample documents
Find five different articles/documents for intensive study of the document design elements. Select several of these documents that demonstrate elements of a range of quality in terms of design.
You may select as many as five documents to illustrate as wide as possible variation in design elements and choices; you should select at least one well-designed document and one that is of poorer quality. For this part of the assignment, you will supply a reference list where the five documents you studied may be found. You will also indicate which of these you will be marking up during the latter phase of this assignment.
Find sample discussions from a field of interest to you. In terms of general interest, news editorials on issues are a good place to start. For more technical areas, you may want to turn to the discussion section of a journal in your field or a magazine (if such exist in your specialty). Blogs are also good sources, but you need to make sure the blog postings are of sufficient length. You want to consider a text that has a proper essay structure where you can easily find the main claims being made. If possible, find something from 500 to 1000 words in length. As you review the samples, ask yourself the following questions:
How does the author establish credibility and authority in what is said?
What claims evoke emotional involvement (engagement) for you as a reader?
What evidence or lines of reasoning does the text provide you?
Are parts of the sample discussion hard to classify in terms of the classical three elements because of ‘blending’.
Compile a reference list of your ten sample discussion documents. If you wish, you may print your documents.
One-by-one, consider the design elements discussed in the textbook and additional readings. Evaluate each sample discussion document according to each design element.
Mark up of documents
Select example documents that illustrate how such features as: 1) margin and white space; 2) font style and size; 3) headings; 4) charts; and 5) colour scheme affect the accessibility of information, interpretation, and audience acceptance. Mark up these documents in accordance with your evaluation, commenting on their design elements and the quality of design. For example, comment on how they exemplify good design or need improvement in the areas of design discussed in Unit 2. If possible, find examples of every feature and principle of document design discussed in the unit. Where possible, mark examples of both good and bad design.
If you have access to the technology to do this online, use it. If you cannot mark up the pages directly, you might consider writing a brief, informal report of your evaluation of each item in a separate file or in a personal notebook.
Choose the best five marked-up documents (i.e., those that reflect the widest possible variety of features) for discussion with others.
At the end of this assignment, you will need to submit marked-up versions of two documents, showing your analysis of the design elements in each.
Redesign one sample document
You also need to submit a version of one of the documents in which you improve the document design to increase the document’s accessibility of information, ease of interpretation, and/or audience acceptance. Choose a single document as the best candidate to redesign. You want to choose a document where you can demonstrate a range of redesign techniques that improve the quality of communication. The document chosen should be one in which you can show the greatest improvement.
Redesign your one chosen sample to improve the accessibility of information. To do so, you will need to:
Determine the features that need to be improved.
Convert the document to a format that will allow you to improve the document design.
Save various versions of the document as you change its features; it is important for your Open Learning Faculty Member to re-create your redesign process as part of understanding your thinking.
Change every feature you believe needs to be improved (within reason, of course—document design possibilities are infinite).
Proofread, finalize, and submit Assignment 1
When you are satisfied that your final review of your assignment is as careful as possible and as many errors as possible have been corrected, submit your work in accordance with the submission instructions. Remember, your final submission for this assignment will have three parts: a list of source documents, your marked-up examples with commentary, and a revised document.
Criteria for Marking
Your list of ten documents, a marked-up selection of these, and a revised, improved version of a selected document will be evaluated according to the following standards:
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