Fireworks CS6 Unit Overview

Revised Unit Overview

February 23, 2016

FireworksCS6Overview3smallAfter receiving feedback on the Shape Tools assignment, I applied those techniques to this assignment. The revised graphic is included in this post.

Primarily, my goal was to make the text less-pixelated and more readable. I added a base to each cannon and turned the text to the horizontal position. The angled text was harder to read. I also changed the wording to make it possible to increase the font size. I think this graphic will serve the target audience well, but I would appreciate any suggestions and feedback.

Original Graphic and Post

New and Improved Version Class mate testers offered suggestions about aligning the text on the cannons and making the cannons bigger. These changes are included in this revised version.

Original Version

Unit Overview

The graphic above will serve as an overview for my unit on Fireworks CS6. The online unit consists of an introduction and three lessons. Each fireworks cannon represents one section of the unit, with all four cannons working together to produce educational graphics that are appealing to learners. The final result is in the shape of fireworks to help users make the connection between the unit and the software being used – Adobe Fireworks CS6.

Target Audience

With this graphic, I strive to help users look at the unfamiliar topic (Fireworks CS6) in a familiar way (Lohr, 2008, p. 79). There are two assumptions involved in this approach. First, I am assuming that my target audience is unfamiliar with Fireworks CS6. This fits with the description of the target audience in the following paragraphs. Second, I am assuming that the target audience is familiar with fireworks displays similar to those held each New Year’s Eve. Since such displays are common worldwide, I believe that is a relatively safe assumption.

Staff members at Anytown Private School (APS) have Fireworks on their school-provided laptops, but not all will have access at home. As a result, this unit will be optional for APS staff members. Also, because this unit is provided online, anyone who uses Fireworks CS6 will be able to find and complete this unit. Since the audience has multiple source possibilities, I will refer to the audience as the global target audience. “Global target audience” includes APS staff members and online users from outside the APS community.

APS staff have a working knowledge of educational technology through email, browsing, and tablet usage. Most staff members do not have graphics editing experience, though, so this unit is devised for the beginning graphic designer. This approach to the unit implies that Internet users outside of the APS staff who choose to work through this Fireworks CS6 unit will also be at the beginning level of graphic design. However, intermediate-level graphic designers may want to work through the materials as a refresher course.

Because the global target audience is largely unknown, it is hard to determine any particular characteristics of audience members. There are a few details that can be surmised, however. First, audience members need to have a working knowledge of how to use the Internet in order to work through this unit online. Second, they must have at least a sixth-grade reading level to understand the material presented. Finally, they must have access to a computer with Fireworks CS6 installed.

The age of the global target audience is unpredictable. I do know that there is at least a potential range of teachers who have taught one year to those who have taught almost forty years. That is the range among APS staff members. Online users will be comprised of anyone who can find the unit and work through it, from pre-teens through retired adults.

Solution Strategy

All of the skills that will be covered in this unit are shown within the cannons. These skills come together and allow target audience members to produce appealing, educational graphics. ACE it with PAT, the design principles we read about this week in chapter four, provide the “ground” for the Fireworks tool set. Analyze, create, and evaluate are a subset of the ADDIE model used in instructional design. ADDIE’s Design and Develop are incorporated into the Create step of ACE. Implementation and Evaluation are included in the Evaluation step (Lohr, 2008, p. 91). PAT stands for Principles (selection, organization, integration), Actions (contrast, alignment, repetition, proximity), and Tools (type, shape, color, space, depth) (Lohr, 2008, p. 76).

Each section of the unit is summarized in the graphic with three sound-bites to help learners envision what to expect as they work through the unit. The sound-bites are written on separate cannons, indicating what part of the unit will cover certain topics. I chose cannons for two reasons. First, fireworks are shot out of cannons. Second, cannons are not known for the orderly affect that they produce when shot. Lohr opens chapter four with a quote from Tom Mecklen, “Design is inherently a messy process. It’s ironic that the end result is about creating order” (Lohr, 2008, p. 71).

The graphic illustrates the CARP actions that Lohr describes in chapter four (Lohr, 2008, p. 84).

  • Contrast between the cannon wheels (lesson number) and cannons (lesson content)
  • Alignment text within the cannons is aligned with the cannon shapes
  • Repetition the cannons and smoke indicate the parts (lessons) of the whole (unit)
  • Proximity Analyze-Create-Evaluate are grouped, as are Principles-Actions-Tools

User Test Results

Initially I used Georgia for all of the text. The user couldn’t read it easily and suggested a sans serif font.

Also, the title had a wood grain background to look like a sign at a park to fit with the fireworks display theme. The brown wood grain introduced too much contrast (Lohr, 2008, p. 76) to the graphic, though, and detracted from the rest of the image.

Changes to the Original Image

After trying several different fonts, the user and I agreed that Tahoma worked the best for this graphic. All the text is easier to read now. Changing to Tahoma affected the kerning and leading (Lohr, 2008, p. 234). This required several adjustments to the text boxes and their placement on the graphic.

To reduce the contrast of the wood grain sign, I changed the title background to match the grass. This repetition (Lohr, 2008, p. 76) adds congruity and appeal to the image.

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.

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