Homework #1

(worth 20 points + participation points for the website post)


  1. Browse through our course website. Pay particular attention to the syllabus, cover letters, and evaluation criteria pages.
  2. Redish, What Is Information Design? On Canvas > Readings
  3. Hagen & Golombisky. White space is not your enemy. Chapters 1, 2, 4, & 5 (pgs. 1-21, 33-65)
  4. Covert. How to make sense of any mess. Chapters 1 & 2 (pgs. 10-41).


  1. Your beginning credentials for logging into the course website are:
    1. Username: Firstname
    2. Password: Firstname
    3. So, if I was logging into the course website, I would enter “Guiseppe” for both my username and password
  2. Use these credentials to log-in and make an introductory post on the course website:
    1. As soon as you log-in, hover over Howdy, [your name] in the upper righthand corner of the screen, then click on Edit Profile from the dropdown menu. Use the page that opens to assign a new password to yourself, one that is harder to track than just your first name (the default password I set for you).
    2. Also use this page to upload a picture of yourself so people will know who you are when you post on the course website.
    3. Now go to “New” with the little plus sign at the top of the screen and create a new post where you introduce yourself to us. You might want to answer questions like: Why did you originally sign up for this class? What are you excited about? What are you scared about? What kind of writer are you? What are your future career goals? What do you hope to learn through your participation in this class?
    4. Before you post your introduction, be sure to select the category “Student Announcements” on the right-hand side of the screen.
  3. Redish:
    1. What are the two main definitions of information design and how do they relate to one another?
    2. What does effective information design enable people to do with information?
    3.  What two trends are making information design increasingly important for technical communicators?
  4. Hagen & Golombisky:
    1. In your own words, define design, based on the ways in which Hagen & Golombisky defines. Pretend that you are explaining what design is to a colleague or friend with basic knowledge of the term. What is its scope? What sets it apart from related disciplines like communication or marketing?
    2. Why does form follow function in design, according to the authors?
    3. How do the authors define graphic design? Why do they define it this way, given their overall philosophy of design?
    4. Why is it important to do research before beginning a design project?
    5. What kinds of questions should you ask when doing research for a design project?
    6. How many of the layout sins mentioned by the author were you already aware of? How many are you guilty of committing at some point in your life?
    7. How do the authors define elements of design? What relationship do they have with visual communication? In your own words, how are these elements used to bring a design to life?
    8. Why are focal points important in design?
    9. Why is contrast important in design?
    10. Why is balance important in design?
    11. How is movement created in design?
    12. Why is rhythm important in design?
    13. Define the four laws of Gestalt Theory in your own words. How do they each enable a viewer to understand a design?
  5. Covert:
    1. How does Covert define a mess?
    2. Define information architecture in your own words based on Covert’s definition. What is the scope of IA? What do practitioners of IA do for people?
    3. Why do messes stay the same even though technology changes?
    4. What does the “architecture” of information architecture refer to? What do people do with information that involves “architecture”?
    5. How does Covert define information? Why is complexity a problem for information architects?
    6. Why is it important to consider who matters when we are architecting information?
    7. Covert says that the “why, what, and how” of IA are deeply interrelated. What does she mean by this? What does this have to do with the scope of IA and what it tries to do for people?
  6. Post all your writing (including a link to your post on the course website) to the Canvas assignment for Homework #1 (Assignments>Homework #1).

Back the Module #1 Schedule page