Avoid needless repetition. Unnecessary repetition clutters writing and dilutes meaning. ➢ Avoid there sentence openers. Many There is or There are sentence openers can be eliminated. ➢ Avoid some it sentence openers. Avoid beginning a sentence with it—unless the it clearly points to a specific referent in the preceding sentence. ➢ Delete needless prefaces. Instead of delaying the new information in your sentence, get right to the point. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Editing for Conciseness (continued) ➢ Avoid weak verbs. Prefer verbs that express a definite action: open, close, move, continue, begin. Avoid weak verbs that express no specific action: is, was, are, has, give, make, come, take. ➢ Avoid excessive prepositions. Also replace lengthy prepositional phrases like with the exception of with shorter phrases: except for. ➢ Avoid nominalizations. Nouns manufactured from verbs, like give consideration to are harder to understand than the verbs themselves: consider. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Editing for Conciseness (continued) ➢ Make negatives positive. A positive expression like Please be on time is easier to understand than a negative one: Please do not be late. ➢ Clean out clutter words. Clutter words stretch a message without adding meaning. Here are some of the most common: very, definitely, quite, extremely, rather, somewhat, really, actually, currently, situation, aspect, factor. ➢ Delete needless qualifiers. Qualifiers such as I feel, it seems, I believe, in my opinion, and I think express uncertainty or soften the tone and force of a statement. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Editing for Fluency Fluent sentences are easy to read because they provide clear connections, variety, and emphasis. The following suggestions will help you edit for fluency: ➢ Combine related ideas. Don’t force readers to insert transitions between ideas and decide which points are most important. ➢ Vary sentence construction and length. Do not rely only on long, complex sentences. ➢ Use short sentences for special emphasis. Short sentences, when used sparingly, are effective. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Finding the Exact Words Poor word choices produce inefficient and often unethical writing that resists interpretation and frustrates the audience. Use the following strategies to edit for word choice, that is, to find words that are convincing, precise, and informative: ➢ Prefer simple and familiar wording. Don’t replace technically precise words with nontechnical words that are vague or imprecise. Don’t write a part that makes the computer run when you mean central processing unit. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Finding the Exact Words (continued) ➢ Avoid useless jargon. Every profession has its own shorthand and accepted phrases and terms. For example, stat (from the Latin “statim” or “immediately”) is medical jargon for Drop everything and deal with this emergency. Use them only with specialized audiences. ➢ Use acronyms selectively. Acronyms are words formed from the initial letter of each word in a phrase (as in LOCA from loss of coolant accident) or from a combination of initial letters and parts of words. Use them only if you know your audience will understand them. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Finding the Exact Words (continued) ➢ Avoid triteness. Worn-out phrases like water under the bridge make writers seem too lazy or too careless to find exact, unique ways of saying what they mean. ➢ Avoid misleading euphemisms. A form of understatement, a euphemism is an expression aimed at politeness or at making unpleasant subjects seem less offensive. Don’t use them to understate the truth, however, when the truth is necessary. ➢ Avoid overstatement. Exaggeration sounds phony. Be cautious when using superlatives such as best, biggest, brightest, most, and worst. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Finding the Exact Words (continued) ➢ Avoid imprecise wording. Words listed as synonyms usually carry different shades of meaning. Do you mean to say I’m slender, You’re slim, She’s lean, or He’s scrawny? ➢ Be specific and concrete. Don’t say job, when you can better help your reader by specifying Senior Account Manager. ➢ Use analogies to sharpen the image. An analogy shows some essential similarity between two different things. Analogies are good for emphasizing a point (Some rain is now as acidic as vinegar). Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Adjusting Your Tone Your tone is your personal trademark. The tone you create depends on the distance you impose between yourself and the reader, and the attitude you show toward the subject. Use the following strategies to edit for tone: ➢ Use appropriate level of formality. Use a formal or semiformal tone in writing for superiors, professionals, or academics. Use a semiformal or informal tone in writing for colleagues and subordinates. Use an informal tone when you want your writing to be conversational. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Adjusting Your Tone (continued) ➢ Avoid a negative tone when conveying unpleasant information. ➢ Consider using the occasional contraction. Unless you have reason to be formal, use (but do not overuse) contractions, for example balancing I am with I’m. ➢ Address readers directly. Use the personal pronouns you and your to connect with readers. ➢ Use I and We when appropriate. Instead of disappearing behind your writing, use I or We when referring to yourself or your organization. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Adjusting Your Tone (continued) ➢ Prefer the active voice. Because the active voice is more direct and economical than the passive voice, it generally creates a less formal tone. ➢ Emphasize the positive. Whenever you offer advice, suggestions, or recommendations, try to emphasize benefits rather than flaws. ➢ Avoid an overly informal tone. Achieving a conversational tone does not mean writing in the same way we would speak to friends at a favorite hangout. ➢ Avoid personal bias. If people expect an impartial report, try to keep your own biases out of it. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Adjusting Your Tone (continued) ➢ Avoid sexist usage. Use neutral expressions such as chair or chairperson rather than chairman. Rephrase a sentence, using plural forms (they), or using occasional paired pronouns (he or she) to include all readers. Avoid using diminutives like –ess and –ette to refer to females. ➢ Avoid offensive language of all types. Use your common sense. Be specific when referring to a person’s cultural/national background. Avoid potentially judgmental expressions. Use person-first language for people with disabilities or medical conditions. Avoid expressions that demean. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Considering the Global and Ethical Context ➢ Adjust some of the guidelines in this chapter depending on cultural considerations. For example, in some cultures passive voice is preferred, and informality is considered inappropriate in the workplace. ➢ Poor word choice can also have ethical and legal ramifications. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Style, Tone, and Email People often pay little attention to the style and tone of their email messages. Email can be fraught with spelling errors and inappropriate informality in the workplace. In general, keep the tone and style of workplace email brief, professional, and polite. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Using Digital Editing Tools Effectively Autocorrect and spell check tools look for words judged to be incorrect and suggest or insert replacements. But these digital editing tools can be extremely imprecise and should be used with caution: ➢ Spell checkers can’t tell the difference between words like its and it’s or their and there. ➢ Grammar checkers work well to help you locate possible problems, but do not rely solely on their suggested ways to fix problems. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Review Questions 1. What are five aspects of style to consider when you edit your work? 2. What is clarity? 3. What is conciseness? 4. What is fluency? 5. Why is avoiding poor word choice important? 6. What is tone? 7. What are three ways to avoid sexist language? Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Review Questions (continued) 8. What are three ways to avoid other types of offensive language? 9. Why is considering the cultural context important in terms of style? 10. Why should you use digital editing tools cautiously? Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Chapter 12 Designing Visual Information Technical Communication, 13th Edition John M. Lannon Laura J. Gurak Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Learning Objectives ➢ Understand the role of visuals in technical communication ➢ Determine when to use visuals ➢ Select the right visuals for your readers ➢ Create tables, graphs, charts, illustrations, photographs, and videos ➢ Increase visual appeal by using color appropriately Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Learning Objectives (continued) ➢ Identify ethical issues when using visuals ➢ Understand how cultural considerations affect your choice of visuals Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Visuals ➢ Because they focus and organize information, visuals make data easier to interpret and remember. ➢ By offering new ways of looking at data, visuals reveal meanings that might otherwise remain buried in lists of facts and figures. ➢ Readers want more than just raw information; they want this material shaped and enhanced so they can understand the message at a glance. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Why Visuals Matter Visuals help us to answer questions like: ➢ Which information is most important? ➢ Where, exactly, should I focus? ➢ What do these numbers mean? ➢ What should I be thinking or doing? ➢ What should I remember about this? ➢ What does it look like? ➢ How is it organized? ➢ How is it done? ➢ How does it work? Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. When to Use Visuals ➢ Use visuals whenever they can make your point more clearly than text or when they can enhance your text. ➢ Use visuals to clarify and support your discussion, not just to decorate your document. ➢ Use visuals to direct the audience’s focus or help them remember something. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Types of Visuals Visuals come in four categories: tables, graphs, charts, and graphic illustrations. ➢ Tables: Display organized data across columns and rows for easy comparison. ➢ Graphs: Translate numbers into shapes, shades, and patterns. ➢ Charts: Depict relationships via geometric, arrows, lines, and other design elements. ➢ Graphic Illustrations: Rely on pictures rather than on data or words. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. How to Choose the Right Visuals To select the most effective display, answer these questions: ➢ What is the purpose for using this visual: Do I want to 

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