Technical Writting – Assignment Example

1. White space, sometimes referred to as negative space, is an important part of the document design process. List and describe one way that you might create adequate white space in a document, such as increasing the line spacing (select another method in your response). What goals of document design do you think white space helps achieve? Explain your response.
Another way of adding white space to a document is by providing a heading/subheading for paragraphs with the same idea (Galko, 2001). Aside from making the document look less cramped and crowded, it directly gives the main idea of a section. A clean layout makes skimming/scanning a lot easier for busy readers, allowing them to skip sections they already know about or deem unimportant.
White space helps increase the readability as it makes the document easy on the eye. Readers generally prefer well-organized text rather than seeing everything in one big lump that gives the impression of having too many sentences to read. Moreover, it is said that white space “maintains balance, provides a sense of elegance through simplicity, and focuses the reader’s eye on a desired part of the page…” (Johnson, 2009, para. 27).
2. Letters, memos, and e-mails are three methods businesses use to communicate. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each and when is it more appropriate to use one over the other? Are these forms of written correspondence more effective than verbal communication (why or why not)?
Letters are often sent to people in another department or outside of the company. Because it is formal in nature and sincere in tone, it is often used “to notify, request, respond, and persuade” (Kranz, 2007, p. 140). Formality however requires the writer to strictly follow correct spelling, grammar and formatting conventions. Letters also take time to be sent as it needs to be personally handed to the addressed recipient.
Memos are “brief documents used to impart information between a select group of people… within the same company” (Kranz, 2007, p. 50). It gives readers the information quickly without losing the formality of a letter. The writer therefore must be skilled at summarizing key information as readers expect a brief message.
E-mailing is the most common form of communication today as it is quick, reliable and readily accessible. Because of this, e-mails are often perceived as informal compared to letters and memos. E-mails are especially useful when urgent information needs to be conveyed.
Written correspondence allows the receiver to review the content and gives him/her much time to digest the message. On the sender’s end, it helps him/her not to miss important points when conveying lengthy information. Verbal communication, on the other hand, is a more personal approach and directly gets the message across. The choice depends on the message, the level of urgency and the audience/receiver.
References
Galko, Francine D. (2001). Better Writing Right Now: Using Words to your Advantage. New York: LearningExpress, LLC.
Johnson, Tom (2007, July 9). The Paradox of White Space: Some Research and Examples of White Space in Web Design. Retrieved September 12, 2009, from http://www.idratherbewriting.com/2007/07/09/white-space-in-web-design/
Kranz, Garry (2007). Communicating Effectively: Write, Speak, and Present with Authority. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.