English 402: Technical and Professional Writing
     Instructor: Bryan Fry
     Office: Avery 371
     Office Hours: Summer hours by appointment

    Menu Redesign Project (see rubric)


The purpose of this assignment is to redesign a technical document and showcase it to a Menu Oversight Committee (MOC). The committee is made up of an owner, staff management, and patrons who are currently seeking proposals for a new design but are concerned about image and cost of production. Therefore, in addition to the redesign, your job is to alleviate concerns with a convincing oral presentation and recommendation report.

In order to complete this task, you will work in teams of two, choose a menu from a local restaurant or bar, and redesign the menu so that it is more concise and easier to read, understand, and process. Your redesigned document must contain the same amount of information as the original one, but present the content in an attractive format. You are welcome to condense information and to use images, but take care you don't lose any important information.

To create the new menu, you must consider the elements of design (proximity, alignment, repetition, and contrast). Using the CARP principles and the information you've already studied about typography, you should be able to improve your menu drastically. It is important to emphasize that this is a redesign project and I want to see major changes from the original document. Make sure you choose a menu that you can work with.

In addition to the design, you will conduct usability testing on the old and new menu. This will help you convince the MOC to adopt your new design in your oral presentation and recommendation report.

    Usability Testing

Generally speaking, usability testing is defined as the ease with which a specific audience can learn and use a product. Your book has a good section (Chapter 13) on usability which we will supplement with information from Jacob Nielson. Although you are welcome to test on any of Nielson's five components, the MOC is most concerned with increasing their menu's "satisfaction." 

To complete your usability testing, you must first conduct an audience analysis and initial usability testing with at least three first-time users. During this stage of audience analysis, you need to find out how well the current menu is working for your audience and what more they would like to be able to get out of it. Make sure to use both qualitative and quantitative testing methods.
You will repeat your usability testing once you have redesigned the menu. The results of these tests should indicate that you have improved the usability of the document. If not, you should consider revising (or reimagining) your redesign. Although this assignment only calls for two usability tests (testing on the old and new design), you are welcome to make final revisions and conduct a third test to increase the credibility of your work.

You must include the results of your usability testing in both your oral and recommendation reports.

    Recommendation Report

The written project will be a report that includes the original menu, the redesigned menu, and a written overview of the project in the format of a traditional recommendation report. Your report will have a persuasive bent since your goal is to convince the MOC to adopt your redesign. Assume that the hypothetical committee is made up of the restaurant's owner, staff management, and long-time patrons.

Chapter 18 will be our guide for writing the reports. Make sure to incorporate numerous headings (Introduction, Menu Analysis, Usability Testing, Redesign, Redesign Usability Testing, Final Results, etc.) to make the document organized and easy to search through. You should also incorporate figures throughout the report (see Chapter 12 for graphic guidelines).

    Oral Presentation

The oral presentation will include an overview of your redesign project and should showcase your final prototype. You must present the redesigned menu using PowerPoint or Prezi. Both members of your team must participate. Your goal in the oral presentation, as in the written report, is to convince the committee to adopt your redesign. Dress code for this presentation is business casual. You can find information on making effective presentations in Chapter 21.

    More Details on the Recommendation and Oral Report

    Grading (Rubric)

You will receive a team grade on this project as well as an individual grade. The team grade will be based on the design (worth 30% ), the oral report (worth 25%), the recommendation report (worth 30%), and a colleague evaluation (worth 15%). The overall project is worth 20% of your grade for the course.

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