EASE Webinar: Layering: a design solution for multiple audiences

The September edition of our member webinar series focused on the concept of layering as a strategy for presenting complex information in a variety of ways to communicate with different audiences. Dr Rob Waller of the Simplification Centre uses a variety of examples including textbooks, user manuals and business contracts to describe effective styles of content design, and how the design of documents can support reader understanding.

In the manuscript age, sacred texts were often displayed in layers: the scripture at the centre, surrounded by commentary, and in many cases further layers of commentary on the commentary. This layered format allows the reader to see a clear visual relationship between the comment and the commented-on, and to easily move between the layers. It offers greater cognitive economy than when the central text and the comments are in different sections of a document, in different documents, or appear in separate windows of a web browser.