Text processing skills/Text and document design basics/Design basics theory

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Before you get started on the rest of this module you should make yourself familiar with some basics of document design and structure. While this isn't something you will be specifically tested on, it will make the rest of the module, as well as creating any documents in your day to day life, a lot easier.

Firstly, while how your document looks is clearly important, the content and it's accuracy is even more important. Think about emails or flyers you've received recently: would you be more or less inclined to read them if they started with a spelling error or included inappropriate language?

This short reading covers the importance of thinking about who the document is intended for and how to make your point efficiently and professionally: Professional and Technical Writing: Business Communications

While it's clear that grammatically correct, correctly targeted and efficient communications are important, if the actual layout of the document is confusing, disorganised or just plain ugly people will take it less seriously. For example, an email from a doctor telling you that you have an illness probably shouldn't have an image of kittens in it, similarly the information in flyer should be organised in a way that makes it easy for the reader to understand.

Visual Mess is a website created by design enthusiast Daniel Higginbotham, the goal of his guide is to help regular people think about design in the documents they create.

If you'd rather watch a video, this one called Document Design in Business Communication is a good overview.