Exercise A: Audience and Purpose

Considering the context in which your vehicle will operate to explain why your innovation matters



The public facing page of your team’s website—the AEV project introduction—provides an overview of the project for commuters in the city of Columbus. The purpose of this section is therefore primarily to inform—you want to inform commuters that there will be a new transportation system available that addresses SMART city goals, as well as your readers’ individual goals and interests (i.e., access to groceries, healthcare, or other services).

As you craft your team’s website introduction, consider what questions Linden residents might have about a new system like this, and how those questions and concerns align with your design choices for the AEV. Key questions your readers might have include:

  • How will it change the way I get around Columbus?
  • Can I get to the places I need to go?
  • When can I use it?
  • How much will it cost me?
  • Is this more efficient than using the bus (both in terms of my time as well as in terms of fuel costs)?

Because this is an overview for commuters interested in using public transportation, this is not the place to talk in technical detail about all aspects of your AEV design, unless those aspects improve the public transportation experience of commuters in some way. You’ll want to consider how your design choices relating to efficiency, safety, etc. can be connected to where the AEV system will run in Columbus to make your design choices meaningful and relatable to Linden commuters’ interests and needs.

A note about style:

You can see that most of this information is not overtly technical in nature (i.e., we’re not asking you to describe how the AEV’s reflectance sensors operate, or its design specifications). As such, you should choose words and content that are appropriate to your audience, and use a style that is accurate and precise, focusing on reader interests and concerns.



Write your team’s introduction to the AEV project following guidelines for the project outlined in the assignment description on Carmen.


  1. Exchange your introduction with another team and read each others’ documents.
  2. With your partner team, discuss responses to the below questions for 5 mins:
    1. How does the purpose and audience of the website introduction differ from your R&D documentation? What choices about writing style, content, or structure did you make about the introduction that were different from the R&D documentation? Why did you make those choices?
    2. Did considering the needs and interests of the audience for your project website influence your ideas about design priorities for the AEV? Why or why not?
    3. How does thinking about the context in which a device or product will be used influence the design process? How can integrating consideration of context become a regular part of the Plan and Evaluate steps of your engineering DR PIE process?
  3. With the entire class, discuss responses to questions 2a-2c above.


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Fundamentals of Engineering Technical Communications Copyright © by Leah Wahlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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