4.3 Visual Appeal

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Certainly, those who work in marketing can add to our conversation in terms of color and font, paper choice and graphics. I will address some considerations in making your document more visual appealing, more easily read, and more meaningful to your readers. Your graphics can be tables, graphs, flow charts, infographics, drawings, photos, and a wide variety of other objects.

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The readability of your document and the likelihood of engaging your audience are not only the result of good grammar, and good word choice. There’s also a visual appeal component. I’ll address the visual appeal components that relate closely to the writing of a document. Certainly, those who work in marketing can add to our conversation in terms of color and font, paper choice and graphics. But that’s not the topic of this lesson. I will address some considerations in making your document more visual appealing, more easily read, and more meaningful to your readers. As you plan and, ultimately, proofread your document, give some thought to the layout and the visual appeal. Think about your own reaction when you see a document with single spacing and small font. It can be rather daunting. Many of us might even put such a document aside, planning to read it later. Your goal with any document is to encourage the reader to stop doing anything else and read what you’ve provided. To accomplish this you should make the document visually appealing and enhance the readability. First, limit each paragraph to a single topic or idea. Shorter paragraphs are easier to follow and allow breaks for the reader. Each of your paragraphs should generally include at least three sentences. And be in a logical order such that each idea leads to the next. This makes it easier for your readers to follow your train of thought. Remember to use transition words between your paragraphs such as therefore, further, in addition, correspondingly, in contrast, or in summary. Also, vary the length of your sentences. This adds interest and variety. Also, think about your spacing. For lengthy documents, break up your text with subheadings. It is just unpleasant to look at a wall of text. When you add subheads, be consistent in your style and structure, a bit like parallel structure in sentences. In this example, note that a similar format and syntax is used for each subhead in the document. Using subheads such as this breaks up the text and makes navigation simple for the reader. Another opportunity to add appeal and gain the interest of your readers is the use of graphics. Many people, especially those in more technological and scientific fields appreciate the use of graphs and charts to present data. It’s not just technical documents that benefit from graphics though. A simple visually appealing chart, to convey critical information of any sort is welcome by people who by people who want to skim. Your graphics can be tables, graphs, flow charts, infographics, drawings, photos, and a wide variety of other objects. In deciding which graphics to use, think about, use graphics only if they illustrate something that is discussed in the text. Place your graphics near to the text that they illustrate. On the same or facing page is best. Use legends and keys that are easy to understand. Take care not to overuse the graphics too. Because too much can make the document just as daunting as a lot of text with little white space. As you revise, edit and proofread your document think about how the document looks to a reader. Does it attract your attention? Is there enough white space to make it seem manageable and not overwhelming? Are there some interesting graphics that highlight important findings or expectations? Remember, you want your reader to feel that the document is easy to understand, not too much work to read, not too much difficulty to understand it, and has interesting graphics that highlight the important points

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