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Step it out: Design an effective how-to layout

Added on Friday 16th of April 2010 12:59 am EST
 


Application: Any page-layout or design program
Operating Systems: Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


As a designer, it’s your responsibility to convey a message to your audience visually. Whether you’re advertising a product or summarizing your company’s annual earnings, how you arrange your page elements can affect whether your audience understands your message. When you design a how-to article, conveying your message clearly is especially important. So whether you’re designing instructions for building a wooden boat or a manual for using computer hardware or software, if your audience can’t follow along, your project’s Aa flop. Let’s look at some of the important elements necessary for a successful how-to layout.


Set your goals
Your main objective as a page designer is to lay out pages that are attractive—but also functional. This becomes an even more essential goal when designing a layout for a how-to article.
The purpose of the editorial part of a how-to article is to explain to readers the necessary steps to complete the project. Oftentimes writers will supply very little text and instead present—or request that you present—most of the instruction with visual aids. Thus, it becomes your responsibility to design the article in such a way that readers can follow the project from beginning to end.


Necessary elements
You’ll need to use certai...