This was this week’s assignment:
As my focus this week was more on color and space, and specifically involved using whitespace, I felt like it might be difficult and pointless to try to create really instructional-heavy material. Therefore, for this assignment, I decided to develop a “Title Card” that I could use for presenting my information on PowerPoint, student handouts, and even my class website:
Who are my users and what assumptions do I make about them?
Just like the last few weeks, I would be presenting this resource to my own students, so it’s a group that I am intimately familiar with. My students in this class would be sophomores, between the ages of 13 and 17, with medium-low to medium English writing, reading & grammar skills. They should have a basic understanding of the parts of speech in English, as they would have been taught parts of speech at least once, in their freshman year, but most likely, they’ve forgotten the names and roles of the different parts of speech and are “due” for a reminder.
Why do you think your solution will work?
Lohr (274) passes on the wisdom of Hartley, who said that there are three instructionally-related benefits to the use of space:
- “It increases the rate of reading because readers are more able to see redundancies.”
- “It helps readers access to more personally relevant pieces of information.”
- “It enables readers to see the structure of a document.”
I think that my design here isn’t distracting, so it should make it easier and faster for my readers to take in the information. They also are able to see relevant information and focus on the structure of what I’m wanting them to see. I think this is an effective technique that I’m using here.
Lohr also has a lot to say about both symmetry and asymmetry. I battled internally to figure out how exactly I wanted to structure my image, but ultimately decided to center-align my list to “convey a self of calm and professionalism” (275). Lohr says that symmetry shows things are in equilibrium, and I like the idea of the balance being exhibited through the choices I’m making.
What did you learn from a “user-test”?
When I showed off this image, the biggest response I got back was “So… that’s it?”, as if I needed to make something more instructionally intense. I felt similarly weirded-out about doing that, as well, but like I said—if I’m to demonstrate whitespace and symmetry, it’s probably best to keep this as my focus. Additionally, it’s something that I’ll actually be using for the “branding” of this project, so it will be definitely used and will most definitely point attention to making my lessons more effective. When I bring this up to the users I’m testing, they seem to agree; when they’re pressed to give more critiques, they like the spacing and the center alignment of the assignment, so I think I’m ok with what I’ve done.
Lohr, Linda, L. (2008). Creating Graphics for Learning and Performance, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.