Readers can get lost in dense documents, but creating ample white space, or negative space, can help improve readers’ comprehension and help them navigate your document more easily.
Replaced blocks of text with headings, tables, and lists?
Headings, tables, and lists create white space and allow your readers to find information quickly.
Changed the format of headings at different levels, limited subheadings to three levels, and kept that formatting consistent?
Made clear lists with lead-in sentences?
Your lists will be clear and easy to read if you:
Always use a lead-in sentence to explain your lists;
Indent your lead-in sentence from the left margin;
Use left justification only – never center justification; and
Refrain from making sub-lists.
Use charts and graphs effectively?
Charts and graphs help readers understand relationships and increase white space. Some types of charts more effectively display certain types of information than others.
Used short sections?
When you keep sections short, you increase white space, organize your document, and provide a clear roadmap for readers.
Presented narrative information in chronological order?
To help readers follow your writing, you should present narrative information chronologically, e., in the order that it happened.
Arranged each section from general to specific, rules to exceptions?
Your readers need to understand general informationfirst before being ready to look at specific details or cases of general principles. Also, your readers expect to learn the rules before exceptions. (Consider using tables or lists to outline exceptions.)
Include sidebars to highlight important information or key terms?
You can use sidebars to explain technical terms and highlight key concepts.
Included a table of contents, glossary, and index?
The table of contents is found near the front of a document. It helps readers find specific information and it clarifies the overall organization of the document.
A glossary is like a mini-dictionary that readers can use to help them understand important or technical terms. While readers may find glossaries helpful, consider using sidebars to clarify terms as well.
An index is a list of key terms and page numbers that help readers find information quickly. The index should include the names of people and places, and the titles of events, and important concepts.