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I am in the last month of my last internship of my IT studies. And as in the five last years, I have to write an internship report (that almost nobody will ever read). The last one. And to give a little more about the context: I study computer programming and IT project management

As a (junior) web developer, I've always been interested in ergonomics, usability and readability of computers UI. For all the others internship reports I had to write, I tried to use my experience with computer UI into printed this reports. The aim was first to make them more usable, more readable; and second to make the reader feels something different than a 50 pages of black on white Times New Roman report without any image or color.

Here is what I tried so far :

  • Structure the content as website (as with header, a footer, and a page content structured likes <h1>, <h2>,<p>... in HTML)
  • Style this structure replicating A Book Apart (great) books design. As for the inside than for the cover. I read few of this books and beyond the (nice) content the legibility is very good: it's a "pleasant" object, not like these 50 pages of paragraphs-only reports I was talking before
  • Use syntax highlighting for and specific fonts for <code> blocks
  • Follow the "web UI" trends: flat design and round flat icons to illustrate/decorate each part main idea (1 part ~= 1 pages)
  • Hilight importants word in each paragraph with bold
  • Use a breadcrumb in the header
  • And more globaly, use a good proportion of text/images/schems to not "flood" the reader

I also thought about gamification, but it looks hard to gamify a printed report without any user interaction. And also about the bookbinding of the report: does something more usable than this stuff exist?

report binding

For this last report (and the most important), I thought gathering your past user experiences and your ideas about enhancing an internship report could be a good thing.

  • I've added "documentation" as a tag although I think maybe "document design" is a better tag name if someone has the power to create it: document design is a specific UX area and designing hard copy information is different from software interfaces. – PhillipW Aug 19 '14 at 13:07
  • Food for thought... what's good for computer UI does not necessarily translate directly into a printed document. e.g. breadcrumbs are used on web because webpages can be cross linked to tons of other webpages and user can become lost without wayfinding elements. On a printed document? You have physical pages. All pages with the same section follows sequentially. – nightning Aug 19 '14 at 20:02
  • Thx for your feedbacks. What you say is true: computer UI can't be directly translated to printed UI. Maybe I tried to copy computer UI too much and this is an error. So far: what others printed media could inspire me ? And for the breadcrump, the idea was more to tell to the user where he is more than ease his navigation through the document – PierreF Aug 28 '14 at 10:22
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Higlight importants word in each paragraph with bold

I don't think this is a good idea: it makes the eye jump and disturbs the flow of the sentence.

A text document isn't a website.

  • Thx for your feedback Phillip. "A text document isn't a website". This is totaly true. Maybe I should inspire more from others printed media. And for the bold hilighting, what others formating could help me to show the important ideas/notions for each part/paragraph ? – PierreF Aug 28 '14 at 10:26
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This depends on who is going to read your report. Personally, I've made the observation that most tech-people appreciate the fact that you've written your report/thesis using LaTeX.

It's been quite a while since I've last used it, but it was great fun as it's kind of programming (no WYSIWYG, but compiling "markup"). In the simplest version it does it job but perhaps won't win any design awards.

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