One of the biggest takeaways I have from this course has been what may come across as a seemingly insignificant research statement. It stated how documents that look easy to read are reported by readers as being easier to read. This had a major impact on me. In much of my writing for documents with school and work I leaned on the content with the assumption that people would realize the document is easy to follow despite the formatting.
After reading what readers reported, I can see that the appearance of the document sets the stage for the reader’s mindset and it is not something that is necessarily quick to overcome. If the document is put out in a way which looks very complex, the reader will approach it with that mindset and may have difficulty following because of this preconceived notion.
The most important part of this realization is that it is not the responsibility of the reader to overcome my poorly formatted document. It is my responsibility to format it in a way which they feel comfortable approaching and will be able to gain the information which they need to. It is very easy to disregard shortcomings in writing as being easy to get past by anyone the writer deems intelligent. This is a critical error. It is not the responsibility of the reader to overcome my mistakes and I will try diligently to try to make sure that when I am the writer, I do not become the stumbling block to accessing the information that the reader needs.
This applies to everything from chart notes for patients to reports for other facilities. In everything I write going forward I will be much more cautious about how I lay out the document to try to make it as easy as possible for the person reading it to get the information which is important quickly and easily.