Re: Judging Books by Subject Matter

Subject: Re: Judging Books by Subject Matter
From: Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- PROTEON -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 1994 11:13:00 EST

Ellen suggests:
"The focus for judging distinction in publications HAS to be elsewhere."

I would qualify that to say the MAIN focus has to be elsewhere (rather than the
focus altogether), for a couple of reasons.

1) Just because the styleguides and books on DTP and standardization in
programs are available, it doesn't mean people are using them. There's still
an awful lot of individual creativity that goes into designing layout and
graphics. And there's still an awful lot of people who don't do more than the
basic, white-bread layout. I'd hate to see people who produce well-written AND
attractively laid-out pieces have the second aspect ignored. In other words,
all else being equal I'm going to give a higher score to someone who created
their own attractive and functional design rather than using a canned one.
BUT, I'd also hate to see someone stuck with a corporate style they hate be
penalized when their writing is excellent. By the same token, I'll give a
higher score to someone who obviously struggled to create a good document
within a corporate style than I will to someone who spent all their energy on
form and left none for substance. It's a tough call.

2) It's still true that no matter how well-written a book is, if it's not laid
out attractively and organized AND INDEXED well, most people are not going to
look at it.

OTOH, I agree that judges need to look at LOT more closely at the writing.
Something else I'd like to see is closer attention paid to is the index -- I'd
even like to see that area replace "design" on the judging form and combine
"design" and "integration".

What one of the SD judges does is to weigh writing as 30 pts, graphics as 10.
Editing and Integration become negative points (10 each). So if the writing is
really good, it can easily counterweigh the other factors. I'm planning on
using this as a judging standard for the manual categories.

NEW SUBJECT (sort of). I'm not seeing much feedback from people who thought
they didn't get sufficient comments on their entries. I was hoping you folks
would have some good ideas about how to prevent this. I'd like to be able to
make sure the comp. I run doesn't engender the kinds of feelings you've
described - won't you help by thinking about ways to counter it?

Bonni Graham |
Technical Writer | Most software is run by
Easel Corporation, ENFIN Technology Lab | confused users acting on
Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- relay -dot- proteon -dot- com | incorrect and incomplete
President, San Diego STC | information, doing things
| the designer never expected.
NOTE: apparently my email address needs |
to be typed exactly as it appears here, | --Paul Heckel, quoted
punctuation and all, or the system gets | by William Horton
upset. |

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