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ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Structure and Design in Technical Documents Week 7 Spring 2015 USF Sarasota-Manatee Length of this lecture audio.

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Presentation on theme: "ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Structure and Design in Technical Documents Week 7 Spring 2015 USF Sarasota-Manatee Length of this lecture audio."— Presentation transcript:

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2 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Structure and Design in Technical Documents Week 7 Spring 2015 USF Sarasota-Manatee Length of this lecture audio (13 slides) = 00:24:49 Jot down the three audio codes and the numbers of the slides where they are mentioned. Send the Week 5, 6, and 7 codes with Assignment 3, due by Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. © 2015 by T. E. Roberts, Instructor

3 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 1 of 13 Week 7 Agenda Basic rules of organization A-B-C Format (Abstract, Body, Conclusion) Design guidelines Design and content work as partners to serve your reader Assignment 3 reminders This lecture owes a debt to Pocket Guide to Technical Communications, Chapter 2, and Kaplan Technical Writing, Chapter 6 (pages ), as well as various sources in print, on the internet, and the instructor’s own experience. Basic rules of organization A-B-C Format (Abstract, Body, Conclusion) Design guidelines Design and content work as partners to serve your reader Assignment 3 reminders This lecture owes a debt to Pocket Guide to Technical Communications, Chapter 2, and Kaplan Technical Writing, Chapter 6 (pages ), as well as various sources in print, on the internet, and the instructor’s own experience.

4 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 2 of 13 Basic Rules of Organization 1: Different parts for different readers Document should be aimed at a specific class of reader but readable by every decision maker Abstract (introduction/summary) concisely expresses main message 2: Emphasize beginnings and endings Most readers are in a hurry and thus need key messages clearly stated at opening and closing of sections Information (as in a technical document) differs greatly from entertainment (novel, movie, video, poem, memoir, intellectual musings) Your document needs a clear objective and a way to assess results 3: Repeat key points Readers may not read sequentially from beginning to end Repetition will not only reinforce a message but also make it visible again and again throughout your document Repetition and repetitiousness are not the same! 1: Different parts for different readers Document should be aimed at a specific class of reader but readable by every decision maker Abstract (introduction/summary) concisely expresses main message 2: Emphasize beginnings and endings Most readers are in a hurry and thus need key messages clearly stated at opening and closing of sections Information (as in a technical document) differs greatly from entertainment (novel, movie, video, poem, memoir, intellectual musings) Your document needs a clear objective and a way to assess results 3: Repeat key points Readers may not read sequentially from beginning to end Repetition will not only reinforce a message but also make it visible again and again throughout your document Repetition and repetitiousness are not the same!

5 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 3 of 13 A-B-C Format Abstract: The big picture Introduction (What’s the purpose of the document?) Summary (What are the key points?) Scope (Size of project, process, application, and so on) Contents (List the sections to follow) Body: Supporting Details Background (What led to this report or document?) Methods (How was information collected and analyzed?) Data (Specific evidence, analysis, proof, features and benefits) Conclusion: Wrap-Up, Recommendations Results (Conclusions from research and analysis) Action steps (What should the reader do with this information?) Emphasis (What is the single most important message?) Future follow-up (Where to find additional information?) Abstract: The big picture Introduction (What’s the purpose of the document?) Summary (What are the key points?) Scope (Size of project, process, application, and so on) Contents (List the sections to follow) Body: Supporting Details Background (What led to this report or document?) Methods (How was information collected and analyzed?) Data (Specific evidence, analysis, proof, features and benefits) Conclusion: Wrap-Up, Recommendations Results (Conclusions from research and analysis) Action steps (What should the reader do with this information?) Emphasis (What is the single most important message?) Future follow-up (Where to find additional information?)

6 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 4 of 13 Design Guidelines 1: Use white space liberally 2: Use headings and subheadings for clarity 3: Use lists frequently but meaningfully 4: When appropriate, eye-catching titles can generate interest “Five Injuries Common in Ill-Equipped Labs” “Six Reasons for Mastering PhotoShop” “Three Often-Neglected User Documents” 5: Use fonts effectively PAGE DESIGN PRINCIPLES APPLY TO BOTH PAPER AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA 1: Use white space liberally 2: Use headings and subheadings for clarity 3: Use lists frequently but meaningfully 4: When appropriate, eye-catching titles can generate interest “Five Injuries Common in Ill-Equipped Labs” “Six Reasons for Mastering PhotoShop” “Three Often-Neglected User Documents” 5: Use fonts effectively PAGE DESIGN PRINCIPLES APPLY TO BOTH PAPER AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA

7 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 5 of 13 Design Guidelines (cont.) 1: Use white space liberally Crowded content is hard to read Extra spacing shows attention to design quality Effective page layout improves reader understanding Space costs nothing extra in electronic documents 1: Use white space liberally Crowded content is hard to read Extra spacing shows attention to design quality Effective page layout improves reader understanding Space costs nothing extra in electronic documents

8 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 6 of 13 Design Guidelines (cont.) 2: Use headings and subheadings for clarity Use at least two subheadings under a main heading (“divide” < di- means “two”) Maintain parallel grammatical construction (e.g., verbs or nouns, but not a mix of the two) (note use of parallel imperative verbs on this slide: USE, MAINTAIN, PLACE, KEEP, APPLY) Place at least one heading/subheading on each page of text to provide the reader a visual break and easy scanning Keep paragraphs short -- scannable chunks rather than big blocks of text Apply consistent format for headings (MS Word makes this easy through STYLE command) 2: Use headings and subheadings for clarity Use at least two subheadings under a main heading (“divide” < di- means “two”) Maintain parallel grammatical construction (e.g., verbs or nouns, but not a mix of the two) (note use of parallel imperative verbs on this slide: USE, MAINTAIN, PLACE, KEEP, APPLY) Place at least one heading/subheading on each page of text to provide the reader a visual break and easy scanning Keep paragraphs short -- scannable chunks rather than big blocks of text Apply consistent format for headings (MS Word makes this easy through STYLE command)

9 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 7 of 13 Design Guidelines (continued) 3: Use lists frequently but meaningfully Use no more than five items at a time (a limit of three is even better) Apply bullets, numbers, and indentation consistently & logically Punctuate, space, and capitalize lists properly Create proper lead-in and parallel structure 3: Use lists frequently but meaningfully Use no more than five items at a time (a limit of three is even better) Apply bullets, numbers, and indentation consistently & logically Punctuate, space, and capitalize lists properly Create proper lead-in and parallel structure

10 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 8 of 13 Design Guidelines (continued) 4. When appropriate, eye-catching titles can generate interest While only a small part of the physical design, the wording in titles, heads, and subheads may have a major impact on reader’s understanding The composition of titles and heads benefits from experience, creativity, and sharp understanding of content This is a specialized job at some publications such as newspapers Although not emphasized for technical communication, strong titles and heads can strengthen a document -- the following tips may be helpful: When appropriate, eye-catching titles can generate interest While only a small part of the physical design, the wording in titles, heads, and subheads may have a major impact on reader’s understanding The composition of titles and heads benefits from experience, creativity, and sharp understanding of content This is a specialized job at some publications such as newspapers Although not emphasized for technical communication, strong titles and heads can strengthen a document -- the following tips may be helpful:

11 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 9 of 13 Design Guidelines (cont.) 5: Use fonts effectively Apply mix of serif and sans-serif for headings and body copy (some believe serif is easier to read for body copy) SERIF (example: Times Roman) = abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ SANS SERIF (example: Arial) = abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ Stick with just two fonts in a document (excessive variety of fonts marks you as an amateur who has just discovered the “font” command on his or her computer!) 5: Use fonts effectively Apply mix of serif and sans-serif for headings and body copy (some believe serif is easier to read for body copy) SERIF (example: Times Roman) = abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ SANS SERIF (example: Arial) = abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ Stick with just two fonts in a document (excessive variety of fonts marks you as an amateur who has just discovered the “font” command on his or her computer!)

12 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 10 of 13 Design + Content Partnership How you say something cannot be conceptually separated from what you are saying Readers of technical documents are also often writers of such documents and thus may be more demanding than general readers “The medium is the message.” (Marshall McLuhan, 1964)“The medium is the message.” “We affect what we observe by the mere act of observation.” (principles of phenomenology)principles of phenomenology Ultimate standard of clarity and impact is the reader’s perception, not the writer’s intention... writers who think they are “superior” to the reader will fail (see this advice on “how to read a technical document”: How you say something cannot be conceptually separated from what you are saying Readers of technical documents are also often writers of such documents and thus may be more demanding than general readers “The medium is the message.” (Marshall McLuhan, 1964)“The medium is the message.” “We affect what we observe by the mere act of observation.” (principles of phenomenology)principles of phenomenology Ultimate standard of clarity and impact is the reader’s perception, not the writer’s intention... writers who think they are “superior” to the reader will fail (see this advice on “how to read a technical document”:

13 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 11 of 13 Document Samples See also this prize-winning example: Florida Turnpike 2007 Annual ReportFlorida Turnpike 2007 Annual Report

14 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 12 of 13 Format & Content in Assignment 3 Option 1: Analytical Essay Use standard format shown on page 15 of syllabus See student sample on websitestudent sample Use headings and subheadings to guide the reader Use call-outs if appropriate Option 2: Technical Proposal See sample on website for format and contentsample on website Remember that this is a SELLING document Option 1: Analytical Essay Use standard format shown on page 15 of syllabus See student sample on websitestudent sample Use headings and subheadings to guide the reader Use call-outs if appropriate Option 2: Technical Proposal See sample on website for format and contentsample on website Remember that this is a SELLING document This box with lavender background is an example of a CALL-OUT. It may be used to emphasize a brief quotation or similar statement that sums up an important aspect of your message and thus deserves extra attention. Read MS Word Help instructions on how to position and format a text box on the page. (Use the call-out sparingly or it will be ignored!)

15 ENC 4260, Advanced Technical Writing Spring 2015 Week 7 Slide 13 of 13 Assignment 3 Reminders Send to me by Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Name your file and subject this way: Lastname_4260_3_markup.docx (if you want a detailed review and are willing to return a full revision within a week) Lastname_4260_3.docx (if you want just a grade posted to Canvas) Apply assignment & formatting directions and USAGE TIPS in syllabus carefully before completing your work Include lecture codes for Weeks 5, 6, and 7 in the body of your (indicate specific slide numbers) Begin thinking about Assignment 4 See directions in syllabus and choose a topic Prepare outline for submission by Monday, March 9, 2015, 6 p.m. I will introduce Assignment 4 in the Week 8 lecture Send to me by Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Name your file and subject this way: Lastname_4260_3_markup.docx (if you want a detailed review and are willing to return a full revision within a week) Lastname_4260_3.docx (if you want just a grade posted to Canvas) Apply assignment & formatting directions and USAGE TIPS in syllabus carefully before completing your work Include lecture codes for Weeks 5, 6, and 7 in the body of your (indicate specific slide numbers) Begin thinking about Assignment 4 See directions in syllabus and choose a topic Prepare outline for submission by Monday, March 9, 2015, 6 p.m. I will introduce Assignment 4 in the Week 8 lecture


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