Illustrator User Guide
The Adobe Illustrator Manual is a very organized and consistently designed document. The document uses a 2 column structure throughout and makes good use of white space to give the document a very clean and professional look. The Adobe name is synonymous with graphics and design; therefore, the audience expects a manual that is well designed. A document that is not well designed would potentially damage the ethos of the company.
The Table of Contents is very clear and once again portrays the professional ethos of the Adobe name. Both the chapter names and numbers are clearly displayed and in close proximity to their corresponding sub-content headings. The chapter names appear in a serif typeface while their corresponding numbers and sub-content headings appear in a sans serif typeface. Because the chapter names are the most salient item on the page, I would switch the corresponding sub-content headings to serif and the chapter names to sans serif. The switch would help the audience because the larger chunks of text would be easier to read. In addition, this switch would correspond to the recommendation I will make in the next paragraph for keeping the document design consistent.
The chapters are all divided clearly and consistently with a graphic page between each to let the reader know they are entering a new chapter. In addition, each chapter begins with a drop cap to once again signal the start of a new chapter. The body text and chapter headings for each chapter appear in a serif typeface. As previously mentioned, I would recommend switching the chapter headings to sans serif and I would keep the body text in a serif typeface; this should enhance the audience's ability to read the document. The subheadings within the chapter are sans serif which contrasts well with the serif body text.
The manual makes good use of proximity. The graphics on each page are in close proximity to the text they are related to. In addition, the subheadings for each section are in close proximity to the text they are related to. The reader is not forced to guess which item goes with which. Rather, each item is laid out in order to associate it with another corresponding item.
The numbered and bulleted lists in each chapter are used well. A numbered list is used only if the items need to be completed in a specific order. If they do not, a bulleted list is used. The only problem with the lists is that the text is aligned with the numbers instead of the previous text. This makes it hard for the reader to quickly find the next task that needs to be completed in the list. I recommend the use of a hanging indent to remedy this problem.
Finally, the index for the manual is clearly organized and easy to navigate. In addition, the index uses many different terms for the same item which assists readers in finding specific items. Not all readers will search for a given item using the same term as another reader so various terms for the same item heighten readers' chances of finding their desired item in the index.