Mike Markel's Web Design Tutorial
SECTION 1: Why Design Matters
  
A study conducted by office equipment manufacturer Pitney Bowes Inc. found that the average worker is inundated with 204 messages a day, including e-mail, postal mail, fax, pager, and USPS Express Mail. Project managers and administrators manage an average of 363 messages per day. [Source: Pitney Bowes, 2001: http://www.pb.com/cgi-bin/pb.dll/editorials/pb_press_release_editorial.jsp?oid=8771&groupCatName=Our+Company&groupOID=8004&locale=US&language=ENG

Faced with this avalanche of information, readers no longer read documents from beginning to end, cover to cover. Instead, they search a document to find answers to specific questions. Readers also start reading at different places in a document. A busy executive, for instance, might start by reading a report's conclusion. Readers need help to quickly understand the structure of your document and find the information they need.

Understanding and using basic principles of design will help you create interesting documents that help readers find, understand, and remember information. Keep in mind, however, that although good design can help your readers understand and remember what you say, good design cannot rescue a document that contains incomplete or inaccurate information.
  

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