Information Design: Cyber Safety Tips, 1st Page

This post hasn't been updated in over 3 years.

I dropped by the AITI Cyber Security Awareness Week this weekend, and picked up this year’s booklet. (They’ve had other brochures and booklets before, in their online safety campaigns from previous years.)

[Edited 13-Nov-2012: There were actually two similar booklets distributed at the event. The covers are shown below. The rest of this post refers to the one on the left, which was published by AITI. The other one is from BruCERT.]
Cyber Safety Tips

Booklet by AITI

A Parent's Guide: Online Safety for Children

Booklet by BRUCERT

Maybe I’m nitpicking, but even with the playful fonts and the colourful cartoons, I feel that the information in the booklet could be a lot clearer with better layouts and less specialised IT terms. This is about “awareness”, after all.

Here is the “Introduction” page:

A long introductory paragraph; No illustrations or anything else to break up the text; Disclaimer in same font size as above paragraph

Introduction

That introductory paragraph may sound great as an opening to a speech, but this is the first page of a booklet. With nothing breaking up the text, it just looks like a text dump. Someone had made the effort to write it up, but its purpose didn’t amount to anything more than a dull block of text.

The paragraph probably isn’t even necessary, as most people are likely to just skip through to the different sections. I mean, it’s a booklet of “tips”! Let me get to the tips, already.

So I decided to redo the text to improve readability:

Blocks of text positioned in various spots; Illustrations; Sentences are shorter for better emphasis

Obviously it could be prettified even more, but I hope you can see my point.

I placed the text in a different layout so that text is broken up and allowed to “float” around the page. I also threw in a few drawings.

You may have noticed that I not only used shorter sentences, but changed the types of words used. This was not so much to dumb it down, but to create a better flow for the reader.

It felt unnecessary to be told that ICT has “changed tremendously” or that the wonders of the Internet is available “all around the world” at “the click of a button”… we know!

“Every good thing has its flaws” – yeah, OK; the “exponential growth” of the Internet is a factor – well, yes. But I feel like the only purpose of the these sentences, is to justify why there are “bad people” on the Internet. I don’t see why it has to be said.

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Lastly: No offense to AITI, other organisations participating in the campaign, or even the graphic designer that was involved. I’m also not directing any criticism to the Cyber Security Awareness Week itself, as I didn’t hang around long enough to experience its activities. My points are made in the interest of making information more accessible.

11
Nov 2012
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