Today we start a six part series. We will look at principles of template design and how these have influenced our product offering; in this article, specifically our WHS Management Plan Templates. We believe these articles will not only help you decide what templates are right for you, but also assist you if you ever have to design a reproducible system for yourself.
For those who would like some more substantial information to chew on, we have provided three helpful sources (linked at the bottom of this article). These employ, comment on or teach the principles we mention here to varying degrees.
What Makes a Great Template
A template is essentially a “feature-structure”. By this we mean that certain elements (features) are consistently presented in an effective manner. The data presented may change, but the structure remains essentially the same.
Consistency requires structure. That is what Occupational Safety Solutions is in the business of delivering.
The ‘Designing a Quality Safety Management Plan’ Series
Through a six article series, we will examine topics of purpose, critical questions and principles.
This article will focus on the need for purpose and currency, especially where constantly changing laws and regulations are concerned.
Article two will discuss the five critical questions of template design and how these have affected our WHS Management Plan Template. The remaining four articles, will examine two design principles each, as well as their impact upon four additional OHS/WHS template solutions.
The Need for Clear Purpose
It is a well accepted principle that in any great endeavour you should begin with the end in mind. In designing our WHS Management Plan Template product, we have certainly pursued clear goals. These include:
- Assist our clients to gather needed data.
- Present information in a useful and effective manner
- Ensure legislative compliance is achieved and all relevant factors are accommodated.
Gathering Relevant WHS Management Data
In the field of information management, the difference between data and information is significant. Data is merely the pieces, whereas information is the presentation of those pieces in a meaningful way. Without the right pieces the greatest template on the planet will fail.
You will find in our WHS Management Plan Template very clear indications of what data is required. We have done the legislative and structural homework for you, and all you need to do is fill in the blanks.
Presenting Safety Management information effectively
The way we present information not only follows fairly universal principles, but in designing OHS/WHS templates, we need to also be more user conscious than normal.
Any communication template needs to keep in mind:
- The people who are going to use it,
- The nuances and preferences of those people,
- The priority categories of information.
- Trends and conventions about the presentation of particular information, and
- What methods have historically proven effective (e.g. tables, graphs, lists, paragraphs etc.)
However, no presentation method will please everybody. The more important a user is, the more important it is to accommodate them. In the WHS Management Plan arena, we also ask how heavy is the consequence of miscommunication this information, and we respond accordingly in our design systems.
Our goal is to please the ‘most important’ people, comply where we should, and deliver as much as is possible and helpful to everyone else. This helps us achieve an overall effectiveness that continues to be well-received.
When you look at our WHS Management Plan Templates you will find that the information is not only legislatively compliant, but is also logical, easily readable, useful and comprehensive.
Anybody who has worked in the Occupational Health & Safety, or workplace health and safety environments knows that the legislation is both complex and onerous. Is also subject to constant change and the consequences you do not stay abreast of those changes can be significant.
When we created our WHS Management Plan Template we needed to address this fact.
As with the rest of our templates, when you purchase them you are automatically entered to our databases to receive notifications of relevant changes and newer versions.
Essentially, we are committed to clients and the higher purpose goal worker safety and business viability.
Neither a business nor a worker will last long if workplace health and safety factors are taken lightly. At Occupational Safety Solutions we are devoted and exhaustive in our pursuit of WHS excellence. You can view examples of our templates more closely, purchase on-site, or contact us with questions.
If you have a question, please do not hesitate to call 1800 304 336. We look forward to you joining our ever-growing satisfied client base.
Three helpful sources for those who seek more:
- “Using Design Principles to Make ODS Template Decisions” by Helen Smith and Susan Myers, (2013) RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC http://support.sas.com/resources/papers/proceedings13/369-2013.pdf
- “Principles of Template Design” by Jerry Hobbs and David Israel. Artificial Intelligence Center SRI International Menlo Park CA 94025 http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/H94-1032
- “Seven Principles of Great Template Design in InDesign” By Gabriel Powell. Adobe Press. (Feb 12, 2009) http://www.adobepress.com/articles/article.asp?p=1324232