Making Reader Friendly Publications

Being Friendly

Government and community organisations routinely produce forests of leaflets, newsletters, manuals and booklets filled with useful information. But many of these fail to communicate. The reason is that they aren't interesting or relevant to their audience.

This booklet is about how to make these publications interesting to read and hence effective in transmitting information to their readers.

The idea is simply to design the publication with an awareness of your audience's needs and perceptions. In other words, to make it "friendly".

Producing friendly publications means thinking about the readers and their needs. Readers are often busy, bored, tired. They are interested in their own lives and concerns. They don"t want to read a boring technical manual or newsletter. They are usually only doing it because they have to. Remember this is the post-literate generation. Most people would prefer to watch a video.

Written publications have a lot to learn from television. TV is visual. It knows its audience. It makes few demands on viewers. It presents information in breakfast-cereal sized chunks. It"s dramatic. It rewards its audience. Even at its most stupid it is good to look at.

This is the competition facing printed matter, however any written publication can improve its effectiveness by under-standing its readers and answering their needs in an interesting way.