Designing Technical Documents Course Description:
- Free to all.
- Join (free account) to have the software track your progress (not required but recommended if you plan to take multiple Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative courses) or Peek In to access the course and track your own progress manually.
- 4 Units
- Covers Visual Hierarchy Using Type and Spacing and Creating a Visually Consistent Page Layout.
- Several 2-3 minute slideshow videos with narration.
- 2-5 self-assessment multiple choice questions with each movie. You'll received immediate correct or incorrect feedback.
- Hands-on exercises allow you to demonstrate that you've learned the lessons taught in that unit. Exercises provide hints and suggestions on what needs to be done and confirmation when you successfully complete the exercises.
- No final exam. You can repeat the exercises (or the entire course) as often as you need.
- No certificate of completion.
Course Outline and Details:
Unit 1: Overview of How the Course Works
Unit 2: Visual Hierarchy - Introduction 2:41
- Module 1: Type, 3 lessons and exercises
- Type Size 2:30
- Typefaces 3:18
- Type Weight 2:13
- Exercises: Examples of unformatted text; you use different variations of type size, typeface, and type weight to create visual hierarchy. Very simple. Click done and it will tell you if you got it right or not. Redo until you get it right.
- Module 2: Spacing, 2 lessons and exercises
- Paragraph Spacing 2:03
- Indentations 2:00
- Exercises: Adjusting paragraph spacing was a little tricky at first. You need to click on the space between paragraphs which is initially at 0 pts.
Note that the summary for Unit 2 says that it covered leading, however, that is not covered until Unit 3.
- Introduction 1:26 offers distinct definitions for legibility and readability.
- Legibility 2:14 covers type size and color contrast
- Leading 2:03 provides leading definition and discussion of typographic variables that affect leading.
- Line Length 2:01
- Widows and Orphans 2:44
- Tight & Loose Lines 3:11 deals with problems in justified text.
Unit 4: Page Layout
- Introduction 3:21 provides an overview of visual structure and the use of guidelines.
- Margins 2:37
- Grid 3:10
- Exercises primarily cover adjusting margins.
Who Should Take This Course:
Access the Course:
Dig Deeper Into Document Design:
- Visual Signposts covers many more options for creating visual hierarchies, grouping page elements, and creating visual consistency.
- Unit 2, Module 1 Type Topics In-Depth:
How to Match Type Size to Readership
Designing with a Single Typeface
- Unit 2, Module 2 Spacing Topics In-Depth:
Use Paragraph Spacing Not Returns
Break Up Text with Indents and Other Methods of Spacing Paragraphs
- Unit 3 Legibility and Readability Topics In-Depth:
Setting Leading or Line Spacing
How to Use Line Length Formulas to Find the Right Line Length
Widows and Orphans: How to Fine-tune Line Endings
- Unit 4 Page Layout Topics In-Depth:
Formatting Margins and Formulas for Margins
Guides and Grids