My Experience with Document Design and Technology

1. What experiences, if any, have you had designing and/or developing print or digital documents that integrate words and images (brochures, newsletters, flyers, reports, web sites, etc.)? Please list and describe any projects you have worked on and the technologies used to produce them.

I have had a number of experiences designing and developing digital documents that integrate both words and images. For my Digital Writing class, I created website pages using a program called CodePen. These pages were constructed solely through HTML and CSS commands and were created specifically to practice document design by incorporating text types and sizes, background and font color, images, lists, and graphics.

For my Advanced Composition class, I created a WordPress blog just like this one to discuss the dangers of perfectionist behavior and demonstrate how perfectionistic tendencies can be changed into healthy, productive behavior. The blog features text, images, and a fully functional survey, so design principles had to be taken into account to make my website usable and accessible.

I became more familiar with integrating graphs and tables into text-based documents through my Management Writing course. For this class, I had to create both a feasibility report and a recommendations report. I had to be mindful of the ways that I integrated my visual elements because I needed the information presented in my graphics to be both timely with my writing and visually appealing. I practiced integrating visuals throughout the text and placing them in an appendix at the end of the document.

My Public Relations course really pushed my ability to create visually appealing documents with succinct messages. I had to create both a graphic corporate flyer and a full page ad. Both projects were produced on a program called Canva. These projects necessitated good document design because they both involved the use of text, images, color, and alignment.

One of my most recent experiences designing digital documents was a group project I completed for my Writing for the Government course. My groupmates and I resigned a pdf fact sheet about Title VI civil rights into a detailed Prezi presentation. Not only did this document require skillful design of text, color, and images, it also required appropriate transitions between points and quality voiceover audio.

To see my work, please visit my personal ePortfolio: https://idbbutler20.wixsite.com/isabelbutler

2. What are your expectations in taking this class, and what do you hope to accomplish?

I expect this class to grow and challenge my current knowledge of the principles of document design. My goal after graduation is to be a copy editor, so it is extremely important to me to partake in courses that are going to expand my understanding of what strong writing and document design looks like. I’m very interested in diving deeper into the AP stylebook this semester because I only just became familiar with its basic principles last semester when I joined the Mace & Crown as an assistant copy editor. I also hope to leave this course with more confidence in manipulating visual design elements (images, graphics, tables) because I often find it more difficult to edit multimedia documents as opposed to only text-based documents.

3. What, if anything, makes you nervous or unsure in thinking about this class?

I feel most nervous for the usability testing that we’ll have to complete for all of the major assignments. I am quite the perfectionist and having my peers critique my projects by publicly checking them for usability and accessibility feels uncomfortable and overwhelming. It’s not that I am not receptive to constructive feedback; I genuinely do want to improve my skills and that means being critiqued. I just struggle with the fear of failure and disappointing others. Therefore, it can be difficult for me to take criticism without feeling shameful or guilty, as if I’ve “let down” my teacher and classmates. It is definitely a mindset that I have to work very hard to overcome.

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