New Chapter On Right/Leave Left Page Blank -Reply

Subject: New Chapter On Right/Leave Left Page Blank -Reply
From: Bill Sullivan <bsullivan -at- POWERWARE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 16:06:41 -0400

>It personally wouldn't insult my aesthetic
sensibilities to see a chapter start on the left of a page. Would it you?

If we are just voting here, I will say no. I have a diverse background in publishing, and I personally believe I can handle a change in chapters anyplace you want to put it. Frankly, I am surprised that so many posters to this list have come down in favor of the right-hand page. Honestly, I would have thought a group of tech writers would be a little more liberal and open to change than that. And the "usability" argument gives me chills.

However, I don't know you, and I don't know your product or your market, and I have no idea how rigid things are where you are. So I cannot and will not say what's right for you.

If you can't stomach the white space on the left-hand page, perhaps you can do something creative with your chapters, either by deleting material or adding something to make the white space go away. Or, perhaps you could design each chapter opening as a spread. That could be dramatic, given the right context. Or, if your pages are large enough and your type isn't too big, perhaps (and I should stress the 'perhaps') you could just start your chapters in the middle of pages, wherever they might fall.

To be sure, most manuals and books start their chapters on old-numbered pages, but I am going to say that is more of a cultural thing than a usability thing. And cultures can and do change. If you can design something well, and let your design speak for itself, people are going to find it usable, no matter where you start your chapters.

Bill S.

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