RE: document design: I don't know what I don't know

Subject: RE: document design: I don't know what I don't know
From: Kelley Walker <kelley -dot- walker -at- libtax -dot- com>
To: tech2wr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2012 12:14:20 -0400

Becca -

The typography class is probably overkill, but I'm guessing you will benefit from the document design class.

As for what to read, were I designing a course, I would start with the Robin Williams' work, The Non-Designer's Design and Type Book. This book has been invaluable to me, especially when I found myself doing book layout work. I'm assuming much of your documentation work will be read on a screen, in which case you may want to take a look at Jakob Nielsen's work on the topic (and the researchers to which he points) to see what can be culled and incorporated into your independent study. Nielsen recently wrote a piece talking about changing thinking and research on font faces and online reading: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/web-typography.html

When I searched for the exact title of Robin Williams' book, I also saw this book, which looks like it may be what you are looking for?
Document Design: A Guide for Technical Communicators by Miles Kimball and Ann Hawkins.

Hope that is helpful.

Kelley

> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+kelley -dot- walker=libtax -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+kelley -dot- walker=libtax -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
> Behalf Of Becca
> Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 8:35 PM
> To: tech2wr-l
> Subject: document design: I don't know what I don't know
>
> I am in a technical communication certificate program at our local community
> college. I'm trying to put together a proposal for an independent study class
> on document design from a writer's viewpoint. (My documents are
> serviceable, but not particularly inspired). The school has several courses that
> relate to what I want to learn: for example, there's a typography class and a
> document design class, but they're all part of the Graphics Design curriculum,
> and (from the few courses I've taken in that curriculum) very design-focused,
> not document-focused. I'm not a graphics designer, and not interested in the
> design of type faces, for example, but I know I need to know more about
> specing type faces beyond Arial and Times New Roman. the trouble is, I don't
> know what I don't know - I'm not sure where to begin asking the questions,
> much less finding answers.
>
>
> So - if you were designing a 3-credit course in designing technical
> documentation, what sorts of topics would you include?
>
> Thanks!
>
> -becca
>
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References:
document design: I don't know what I don't know: From: Becca

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