Content and Complexity: Information Design in Technical Communication

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Michael J. Albers, Mary Beth Mazur, Beth Mazur (Editors), «Content and Complexity: Information Design in Technical Communication»
LEA, Inc. | ISBN 0805841415 | January 1, 2003 | PDF | 19,38 Mb | 376 pages




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Book Description:

From the foreword by Karen Schriver, author of "Dynamics In Document Design"

Information designers bring together words and images in ways that enable people to understand, take action, or make decisions. A good information design helps people to use the content in ways that suit their unique interests. Although information designers have long recognized the importance of developing good content, much of the literature in the field has focused on issues of graphic design and typography. This volume broadens our perspective with new ideas about creating information designs that speak to peoples’ needs through the design of effective content in products familiar to technical communicators.

Since the 1990s, information designers have been preoccupied with shaping content in order to reduce information overload. The authors here challenge us to think strategically about content—its selection, organization, and integration. They show that well designed content can help people ferret out fact from fiction, main points from details, and "must read" from "optional read" information. In addition, the authors remind us that the content we generate not only communicates information to people but helps to build relationships among people.

Throughout the book, a number of themes emerge. Perhaps the most prominent is the need to hone our skills in analyzing the structure of information more deliberately than we have in the past. For any given information design task—whether a paper document, an online help system, or a multimedia project—information designers need to identify core (must have) information and distinguish this content from supplemental (nice to have) information. With a thorough understanding of the structure, information designers can highlight the content distinctions through careful design of text, graphics, photography, full-motion video, typography, or sound.