Re: Document layout

Subject: Re: Document layout
From: "Jeanne A. E. DeVoto" <jaed -at- jaedworks -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 22:35:45 -0800

At 8:40 AM -0800 1/17/2000, Damien Braniff wrote:
> 70 pages, 2-column in 8-point Times New Roman - aaaaah!
>Not what I'd personally choose for highly technical material so I'm
>going to change it quick. My first thought is to go for a fairly
>standard layout - headers in maybe Arial with the body text in something
>like garamond with a nice wide margin to keep the character/line ratio

Be sure to ask your engineers first whether this suits their needs. The
current layout you describe doesn't sound very readable, but depending on
the material and the way it's used, readability may not be the highest
priority. For example, they might benefit from having the information
highly compressed as in the current layout; a more attractive design might
create a situation where they'd have to do a lot of pageflipping. Likewise,
keeping the characters per line around 40-55 might be great for text that's
meant to be read continuously, but be a disaster for code whose lines
average longer than that. It all depends. "Good layout" for one situation
is "terrible unusable layout" for another.

Headings in sans serif, body in serif, single column, and fairly wide
margins does seem to be pretty standard for technical material, and it's
highly readable for large swaths of text. If readability is the priority
for your material, this kind of layout sounds fine. But do check first and
find out how the databook is used.

jeanne a. e. devoto ~ jaed -at- jaedworks -dot- com

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