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Writing Samples

Here's some samples of bad student writing, with improved versions provided for you to see the different.

Example 1

Student Text

“Considering the lever subsystems relation to the frame under the influence of human power, we know that the structural configuration is stable trhough comparison with the market standard. In addition to the above comparison through the application of a hydraulic subsystem we have decreased the related applied loading exerted through the operator (in the form of human power). As a reduced load is being applied to the input end of the lever subsystem it can be assumed that our present design will more then adequately support the present given operational constraints based on the comparison of pre-hydraulic assisted loading consitions. It must be noted that although the overall required load was reduced the range of motion of the lever subsystem was increased. The hydraulic subsystem has been designed accordingly, and through careful consideration the present frame will more than adequately accommodate for this increased operational range requirement.”

This paragraph has 148 words. Notice the typos; there's no excuse for those given modern spell-checking facilities. Notice how complicated the language is; this is burdensome on the reader and likely to lead to errors of comprehension.

Improved Version “Our product configuration is based on successful existent ones. The hydraulic system in our product magnifies human strength and so lowers the users' exertion. The system also helps ensure that our product meets all operational constraints. The hydraulic subsystem also increases the range of motion of the level; we have designed the frame of the product to accommodate this increased range of motion.”

This paragraph has only 64 words, yet carries essentially the same information as the original.

Example 2

Student Text “The project taken on by this team was designing a solar water heating system to supply cottages in Muskoka with hot water for bathing and kitchen use during the summer months. It must be simple and light enough to be installed by an average untrained person and the routine maintenance must not require any special equipment or knowledge. Since the solar water heating industry is relatively mature, there are plenty of good quality and effective designs in the market which can be easily adapted for cottage use. Therefore, our design goals were not centered around 're-inventing the wheel' with some revolutionary concept, but rather, to take ideas from where others have failed (or succeeded) and incorporate them into something new and better than any of the originals.”

This paragraph has 127 words.

Sentences are too long. There are improperly placed and missing commas. The pronoun It beginning the 2nd sentence refers is ambiguous, referring either to the project or the product. American spelling is used.

Improved Version “Team XX has designed a solar water heating system to supply a typical cottage in Muskoka or similar environment with hot water for bathing and kitchen use during the summer. The product must be assemblable, installable, and maintainable by the average, untrained person.

“The solar water heating industry is mature. Disruptive innovation in this setting is difficult and likely to be expensive. Therefore we have approached our project as one of improving substantially upon existent products.”

This paragraph has only 76 words, yet carries essentially the same information as the original.

Example 3

Student Text “The ​Sweep ​Eazy ​is ​approximately ​the ​size ​of ​a ​standard ​push ​mower ​which ​uses ​an electrical ​motor ​which ​is ​powered ​by ​a ​rechargeable ​battery. ​The ​battery ​can ​operate ​for ​up ​to ​4 hours ​continuously. ​The ​device ​is ​constructed ​of ​a ​hinge ​and ​lock ​structural ​system ​to ​allow ​for the ​handles ​of ​the ​device ​to ​be ​folded ​to ​allow ​for ​easy ​storage ​in ​a ​shed ​or ​garage. ​The ​Sweep Eazy ​is ​equipped ​with ​a ​rotating ​mulching ​blade ​to ​minimize ​the ​amount ​of ​wasted ​space ​inside the ​compostable ​bag. ​By ​mulching ​the ​materials ​in ​a ​ratio ​of ​1:4 ​the ​wasted ​space ​in ​the ​bag decreases ​drastically ​allowing ​for ​the ​bag ​to ​carry ​additional ​materials. ​The ​device ​has ​a ​LED indicator ​panel ​to ​ensure ​the ​user ​is ​informed ​about ​various ​components ​of ​the ​device ​such ​as heat ​level, ​power ​on ​or ​off, ​and ​height ​of ​blades. ​The ​device ​is ​equipped ​with ​safety ​guards ​to ensure ​the ​safety ​of ​the ​user. ​THe ​Sweep ​Eazy ​allows ​for ​leaf ​management ​to ​become ​a ​very simple ​and ​effortless ​task ​for ​any ​user.”

This paragraph has 175 words. It is clumsy, inaccurate (the mulch ratio is inverted), and hard to understand.

Improved Version The ​Sweep ​Eazy ​is ​roughly ​the ​size ​of ​a ​typical rechargeable electric ​push ​mower, that can run for four hours between charges. ​The ​​hinge ​and ​lock ​structural ​system ​allows the ​handles ​of ​the ​device ​to ​be ​folded ​for ​easy ​storage. ​The ​Sweep Eazy ​has ​a compact ​rotating ​mulching ​blade and a compostable bag. ​It has a mulch ratio of 4:1. A ​LED indicator ​panel ​ensures ​the ​user ​can easily note the status of the ​device, including heat ​level, ​power ​on ​or ​off, ​and ​height ​of ​blades. ​Safety ​guards ​help protect ​the ​user.

This version has only 92 words, yet communicates the same information. Shorter sentences and consistent sentence structure help ensure comprehension. Fluff (useless or unsubstantiated claims) has been eliminated.

design/writing_samples.txt · Last modified: 2020.03.12 13:30 (external edit)