How to Write a Layout Report

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There are all kinds of layouts and each has its special requirements.
There are all kinds of layouts and each has its special requirements. (Image: bible parchment image by Allyson Ricketts from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Whether you are creating for the Web or for print, it’s important to make sure that the layout you have chosen is doing the job. Not only must the layout be attractive, but it must also fulfill the reader’s need to find information in a logical manner. Your report will summarize the effectiveness of the layout in question and provide suggestions for improvement. After all, there are very few perfect layouts, but you can get closer if you take into account the feedback you receive.

Brainstorm for your report while you simply navigate around the layout for a little while. If you are not involved with the specific layout in question, it will be easy to put yourself in the position of a viewer who just needs to find the solution for which they’re searching. Look at the design with the freshest eyes you can. The University at Albany advises you to identify and bear in mind the ultimate purpose of the layout, whether it is commercial or informative. Your comments should show that you’ve evaluated the layout according to its apparent intent.

Conduct a formal or informal review of the layout. If you have the time and resources, show the layout to several people and ask for their impressions with regard to the design’s attractiveness and practicality. The phrases you jot down would be great data to include in your report. Be careful, however, not to rely too completely on any one source.

Adhere to a general report format, but customize the format to your needs. One option is to write the report as a kind of memorandum. In this case, you would begin by listing to whom the report is being sent and who is writing it before including a clear title. If you are looking for a more formal layout report design, consider customizing a research report format. In this case, your name and title would be on the first page, a table of contents on the second, and so on.

Begin your report with your overall impressions of the layout, telling the person who is responsible for the design what is working and what is not. Keep your comments general in this section, as you can provide an extensive list of all of the data you collected in an appendix.

Devote sections of your report to the different assets and liabilities of the layout. For example, Katherine Nolan of Outfront.net advises you to keep your layout design as simple as possible to eliminate confusion. A viewer should be presented with the most relevant information before anything else. If the colors used in the layout are confusing, include a section that illustrates why neon green text might be a problem on a lemon yellow background.

Provide concrete suggestions for improvement in its own section. Sure, people need to know what is good or bad about their layout, but it is even more helpful to be presented with advice to make the layout the best it can be.

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