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Computer Science - Information Presentation Notes.docx

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McMaster University
Computer Science

Elements of Page Design  Fist thing reader sees is overall pattern/contrast of the page  Regular, repeating patterns help reader make predictions about where info will be located Headings  Use few heading styles and subtitles  Use chosen styles consistently  Avoid using more than three multiple levels of headings  Should be consistent and in a logical order  Should have more space around them than regular text  Each first-level heading should have at least two second-level headings  Keep numbers smaller and lighter so text will stand out Subheadings  Provide a break in the text  Subheading must look like it belongs with the text below it  Twice as much space above subheading than below it Grid  Special organization system used to establish a standard layout  Divides space up clearly and provides procedural guide  A basis for decisions  Items that cross columns add liveliness and visual variety  Provides consistency on different pages  Match format of grid to content you want to present  Ex. Use three column for newspaper but not for a book  Do not do same thing on every page so readers don’t get bored  Add variety with horizontal breaks or vertical columns  Use a line of colour to add emphasis or contrast Margins  Give final proportion to printed product  Add needed air around the text  Gives reader a place for thumbs to rest  Bring balance to the page  Must be consistent with outline of the page Runarounds  Adds eye relief  Leave sufficient space for text in the smaller area to prevent a loss of readability  Make sure headings do not fall in center of runaround Justification  Text is usually set to flush left  Rag right edges are usually easier to read  Justified is sometimes harder to read  All lines have to be the same length so some words have a lot of spacing in between letters  Set text to ragged style if you have short lines (less than 36 characters) Page Numbers  Placement can make or break their usefulness  Easiest to find when near top or bottom outside corner, near the text block  Should be same size as text Manipulating Text Blocks Line Length  Wider lines of text require more slow reading and more concentration  Hard to find correct next line to read when lines are too long  Maximum 60-70 characters per line  Minimum 30 characters per line  10 average length words of serif type or 8-9 words of sans serif type  Larger type makes long lines easier to read  Solve problem of long line by leading between lines Line Spacing  Line spacing (or leading): white space between lines of text  Spacing should widen as width of typed material increases  Spacing should be at least two points more than body copy size  Ex. 10-point type should have 12-13 points of spacing  Different typefaces require different amounts of space  Type with long ascenders (b, d, f) and descenders (g, j, p) need more leading  Also allow more spacing if “x-height” is taller Kerning  Kerning is spacing between letters in a word  Done by the computer  Some letters placed closer to each other to make word look right Sentence Spacing  Could use one space after a sentence or two  One space wastes less space  Two spaces leaves a pause between sentences  Do not use two spaces if right-justify text Headings  Headers are chief navigational aids  Icons or bullets are less useful for navigation because give reader another task to perform to read message  Break up gray landscape of text  Provide transition between content elements  Set headings apart from text by increasing text size, bolding or using different typeface  Can be centered, in a box, placed at left side of text or set as a runaround  Keep hierarchy of headings consistent Lists  Allow readers scanning document to gather clues to content  List is an explanation of the topic  Can use bullets, numbers, dashes, indents or simply “first, second, third…”  Bullet should stand out and all text on the left should line up together  Should start with capital letter if phrases are long  Should have period at end if it is a full sentence Paragraphs  Contain set of related items of information  Could use indents or out-dents to signal new paragraph  Could also use a full line-space to signal a new paragraph Pagination  Avoid leaving the last line of a paragraph on a new page  Have at least two lines of a paragraph on the next page Copyfitting  Computer can count words, letters, spaces and lines for you  Can edit copy to fit the space it has to  Should allow extra room if it is going to be translated  English is more compact that most languages Shorter Documents  Shorter documents must be concise and structured  Put important info near the top of first paragraph  Use lists, tables or charts for supporting detail Longer Documents  Require consistent overall and type style  Encouragers reader to continue by establishing an expectation  Readers may give up if expectation is not met Style Setting  Using a style enhances user’s ease of navigation  Permit fast outline views of your creation  Generate accurate table of contents  Can create document then change the style to make things stand out Emphasis with Text CAPITALS - Can become an obstacle for the reader - Have to slow down and concentrate to read them Boldface - Gives a strong emphasis - Used for titles and headings or to get attention Italics - Used for titles, quotations, foreign words or breakouts - Do not add emphasis, reduce legibility - Save for less important info that you do not want to distract from main point Underlined - Not as strong of an appearance as boldface - Always intersect letters’ descending strokes Increased - Use only a few sizes of type in one document size of type - Will also change line spacing - Gets attention but do not use too much Different - Too many elements/typefaces will make document look amateur typefaces - Most people cannot use irregular type successfully Colour - Provides emphasis - Should be used for meaning not just for decoration - Could be used to attract attention Direct the Reader’s Eye  Want to control reader’s eye to lead clearly to your message  Page scanning forms a Z  Focal point should be where the reader’s eyes naturally begin  More than one focal point means the reader has to guess where to start  Colour can add navigation  Choose subtle pastel shades of colours found in nature  Bold primary colours can be harsh  Use graphic elements to pull eye toward most important information  Use shading, rule lines or boxes to make presentation stand out  Shaded background makes text boxes pop out and make it easier to follow data in a table  Horizontal lines signal break in the content and give the eye a break  Use above the text you wan to set off Developing Your Layout 1. Define the purpose 2. Analyze the target audience 3. Describe the main and supporting points 4. List where it will be seen/distributed 5. Establish the concept 6. Research content 7. Write copy/content 8. Organize information into logical groups 9. Select layout elements (charts, photographs, colour, placement, size) 10.Experiment with layout variations (consider where you want viewer to look, create focal point) 11.Photocopy different layouts (look at it several ways before committing) 12.Evaluate the selections (possibly ask target audience for opinion) Graphic Placement  Good idea to make a rough sketch before the final product  Need to decide where the visual emphasis should be  Best to use flush right or flush left placement for headings  Centering things breaks up white space so is less effective  Rules for placing graphics: 1. Place a small graphic flush right with the column of text 2. Place graphic that is same width as text column flush right and left justified 3. Place graphic that is narrower than text column flush left within the text column 4. Limit area of illustration to width of margins of document 5. Place a graphic that is wider than the text column flush right within text column and let it extend to white space Typeface and Fonts  Best typefaces are easy to read, attractive and don’t inhibit readers progress  Sans serif type: has no feet, letters stand as individual elements (ex. Arial)  Serif type: has feet, blend words together with horizontal lines (ex. This typeface, times new roman)  Easier to read because was used in books we learned to read Combining Typefaces  Can use serif typeface for body and sans serif for contrasting headlines  Can also only use one typeface  Should not use more than two typefaces in a document  Do not use two different serif types or two different sans serif types  Sans serif rarely used as body text  Good idea to stay within a family of type Selecting Typefaces  Each typeface has variety of uses  Specialty and decorative typefaces are hard to read  Can choose one typeface but vary its size and weight throughout document  When choosing, consider: audience, content, mood, graphics, amount of text  The “voice” of the type should complement other elements Photocopies  Serif typefaces do not copy well  Thinner strokes disappear in reproduction  Sans serif typefaces have strokes of more even thickness  Choose type with larger counters (holes in letters)  Small holes fill up with ink when a copy is made Font vs. Typeface  Font: a full set (including numbers and symbols) of any one size and style of type (ex. 12-point Helvetica, bold)  Use no more than three sizes of one type within a page  No more than five within document Body Text Size  Size of document type usually goes up to 14-point  Above this is considered “display” type  Standard size has been 10-point  Make type half the measure of the line length  Longer lines can use larger type  Type used in call-outs or footers should be smaller than the body text Type and Legibility  Type with smaller x-heights: need to be a larger size to be legible 
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