One of the most significant topics in my opinion that we have covered in the Technical Communication class was design principles. Although many would believe designing documents is arbitrary and not significant in the grand scheme of the effectiveness of the document, this is not the case. A document is greatly influenced by how it is designed. For example, a single document could be designed many different ways to appeal to different audiences. An audience that does not have a high education would not bother reading a document with an abundance of large and complicated words. This audience instead would be subject to a more topic and answer based document which may be easier to read. This type of document is concise while a Technical Memo for your boss may be longer and use more technical terms. Design elements such as proximity, alignment, repetition, and contrast allow documents to be better organized and therefore more effective to their specific audience.
In the Mechanical Engineering field document design is of the utmost importance. Technical documents are commonly created by Engineers to present new technology to the public and the company the Engineer is working for. Due to the broad audience of Engineering documents I must be able to not only write, but also design each and every document specific to the audience and their culture. In doing so many confusions such as language and cultural ethics can be avoided while also providing the needed information clearly and concisely to all consumers.
By Troy Giberson
One of the topics that we covered in class that is most likely to stick with me through my college career was the topic of infographics. I found out not only what infographics can be used for and how to use them, but to actually create them myself. I tried various infographic templates to produce the ideal infographic, that still I could not come up with. I learned how things can work in your mind, but not in reality, exactly like mechanical engineering technology. Things can work perfectly in your mind but when you try and manufacture that part or mechanism, it might not work. And just like the infographic you have to just take a step back and approach it from a different angle until it is satisfactory. I plan on using infographics for future presentations and to show group members data I’ve found or collected as well. I think that learning how to produce infographics was one of the most beneficial topics we covered in this class.
My infographic (created using MS Excel and Gimp because I couldn’t find a template I liked online) shows how much each pony would have cost you if purchasing a 2010 sports car at sticker price. You may not consider the Smart a sports car, but I included it as a cheap, less-powerful reference. I was planning on including high-end supercars such as the Ferrari 599 GTO and Bugatti Veyron, but they threw off the scale enough to shrink the graph to the point where it was not legible. A major drawback, as noted below the graph, is that only power is compared here, not weight, torque, drag coefficients, etc., so a Miata or Exige will still beat a Mustang GT around certain tracks, for example, even with fewer horses and at a higher cost per unit of power. However, this image is meant to simply give an idea of what will get you the “best bang for your buck.”
– Matt Williams –
PDF Link: Infograph_Project
This is a simple infograph that expresses the “Combined State & Average Local Sale Tax Rates” in the United States. I chose to use a simple bar graph for this project because it is easy to read and the entirety of the design does not take away from the information. The information used came from http://taxfoundation.org/article/state-and-local-sales-tax-rates-2014. Although they had already created their own infograph, I found it hard to actually look at the information quickly and effectively.