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Table 1 Design preferences and principles used in the PEM redesign

From: Redesigning printed educational materials for primary care physicians: design improvements increase usability

Applied user preferences Applied principles by Wong and colleagues [10, 1937] Designer contributions
Length Layout Software knowledge
 - Page length kept to two pages  - Practical application of the golden section guide for grid layout  - Created document in Adobe Illustrator
 - List of references on the third page removed (can be accessed online)  - Use of grid to determine placement of objects and text in order to build stability into the design Simple design
 - Paragraphs shortened by removing unnecessary words and breaking into shorter paragraphs  - Planning of the journey the reader’s eye will follow across the PEM to make it clear what is to be read first, second, etc.  - Helped create a simple and visually attractive design
Layout  - Framing of objects in ample white space to highlight importance  - Selected limited color scheme
 - Content clustered into small groups  - Making objects visually different from others to highlight importance Layout
 - Content numbered where appropriate (see Advisories box) Gestalt principles  - Applied golden section guide to create a grid layout for effective placement of text and objects
 - Bolded and detailed headings that explain section content  - Grouping of objects by similarity and proximity  - Used white space to draw attention to important sections
Simple design  - Grouping objects with enclosures Graphics
 - Limited number of sections, graphics, and images  - Use of geometric shapes as alignment guides to create unified compositions  - Created stethoscope graphic to draw attention to the conclusions
 - White space for visual appeal  - Using a grid to create alignment and help the reader identify patterns  - Created email and internet graphics to reduce text and increase visual appeal
 - Limited color schemes  - Use of a grid to guide composition to create a clean and professional look
 - Clear division between sections White space
Visibility and accessibility of topic  - Use of white space to improve visual appeal and effectiveness of figures
 - Topic and title bold and clear at top of the PEM  - Enclosing images and text in “boxes” of white space to ensure good distribution of positive and negative space
Key messages and highlighting of key points  - Use of small and large gaps of white space between sections to differentiate and group information
 - Key messages outlined below title  - Emphasizing important content with relatively more of available white space to attract the reader’s attention
 - Limited highlighting in text to ensure effect of main points is not reduced Salience
Text density and busyness  - Creating salience by using shape, color, and position on the page
 - Reduced clutter with spacing, bullet points, organized content, and structured layout
 - Removed unnecessary text to reduce text density
Use of bullets and point form
 - Used bullets and point form instead of paragraphs where appropriate
 - Used color that prints well in black and white
 - Used color coding to match tables to text
 - Used color conservatively to maintain professional appearance and reduce distraction
Font size
 - Attempted to make font as large as possible to ensure there was white space and content fit on two pages
Logos and developing organization’s name
 - Included Therapeutics Initiative logo on a smaller scale at the top of the PEM
 - Included University of British Columbia logo at the end of PEM
 - Removed unidentifiable logo