That Blue Square Thing

Applied ICT A Level Unit 1 - ICT and Society

Note: this page applies to the AQA Applied ICT A level specification. This exam was withdrawn in 2012, with final exams in 2013. The content will be retained as an archive and because it has some stuff that might be quite useful for someone or other

Mobile phone imageSection B - Audience

There are three marks available in row B. The work for this section will seem like it's far too much for three marks.

I understand that. The thing to remember, though, is that these three little marks underpin all of sections C, E, F, G, K and, less directly, M and N and H and P. That's 46 marks which, if you do row B well, are much easier to get.

In other words, you'll spend a lot of time on this stuff.

The key questions that you need to consider are:

All of this leads you to the key question which is:

Step 1 - Purpose

First off, you need to work out what you need to produce and for whom. What is the purpose of the publication? Are there any rules that the exam paper says you have to abide by? Make a list of things the publication needs to do to be effective.

Make sure you come back to this list when you complete your write-up

Step 2 - Audience Characteristics

Next you need to develop a profile of the audience for the publication. This is going to be the starting point for developing the list if audience needs that you'll require for the markgrid. Start with a brainstorm using the characteristics grid as a set of prompts.

Clipboard iconSurvey: it is almost certainly going to be helpful to do a basic survey to find out what sort of people might look at the type of publication you need to produce. This is particularly true if there's no specific audience mentioned by the exam paper. You could possibly combine this survey with the content survey below. Which might help make things a bit more manageable.

MS Word IconAudience Characteristics Grid - a useful starting place - you'll need to write this up as a set of paragraphs at some point.

Step 3 - Similar Publications

It's a great idea to briefly look at some similar publications and use them as a source of ideas for:

If you can do these for similar audience types then that's a bonus.

You need to write this up in some way. You might use two or three images (perhaps screenshots) to help you do this - but no more. You don't need to include every example you look at, although they should clearly go in your bibliography.

Step 4 - Audience Surveys

You need to do two surveys of members of the target audience. You'll use these to help refine a list of audience needs and develop some useful ideas for layout and features to include.

Clipboard iconSurvey: do a survey to find out what kinds of things members of the target audience might want to find out about.

Clipboard iconSurvey: do a survey to find out what sorts of layout members of the target audience might ant to find out about. You could include aspects such as font choice, colours etc... as well.

I don't know if it's possible to do surveys using Facebook or something is it? If it was easy then it might be a useful approach to take - or could you ask your "friends" a question and ask them to comment/like it? Or is that a rubbish idea?

You need to present your results simply - no need for graphs and so on, just present the numbers (percentages might be helpful) - and very briefly comment on how you'll use the results for each question ("76% of people said they preferred Arial as the main font. I will use Arial as my main font")

Include one copy of your survey in your work. Do not include lots of copies of filled out surveys.

The example script that I've seen claims to have surveyed 100 people for both of these. Actually I don't believe that 100 surveys were done - I've marked enough A Level Geography coursework over the years to know how hard it is to get 100 responses. But the message from this is that you clearly need to do plenty of surveys. Personally I'd say 25 would be plenty.

Step 5 - Write it all up

Using all the information you've acquired, you need to end up with a list of audience needs. I suggest a tabular format for this, along these lines.

No. Audience Need Impact on Layout/Content
1 Pages should have clear titles and subtitles to help the audience find relevant content Layout - it will be easier for readers to find their way around the pages if there are subheadings. This was clearly seen as useful from the survey (question 4b) and is a feature of many similar webpages (see pg.6)
2 Stories will use examples which are familiar to members of the general public Content - by relating content to things that people already know about this will help people understand the more complex ideas. This is commonly used by publications such as... (see pg.6)

The benefit of using numbered audience needs is that you can refer to them by number in your evaluation criteria and designs.

You should probably look for somewhere between five and fifteen audience needs. Eight would be fine.

An alternative way of structuring a table, developed working with Emily, is shown below. Some of the lines may need to develop how the content and/or layout will be adjusted (like row 1 below), others, like row 2, don't.

Audience needs table

The information in the third column could just as easily be in the analysis of the answers to your surveys, but also works in the table if you prefer to do it this way.

The Markgrid:

Row B markgrid
Note: this markscheme is a copy of one available freely on the AQA Applied ICT webpages. It is copyright AQA and reproduced here simply to make access easier for students. No attempt to claim copyright is being made, although I could have copied the text into my own interpretation...

You should probably look at That Blue Square Blog for all the really good other A Level stuff.