LYNCH & HORTON’S WEB STYLE GUIDE: Reading Response

  1. How is navigating a web site similar to finding your way around a real, physical, geographical place–like a city? How is it different?

    Wayfinding is the method used to navigate a website. Similar to finding your way around a city, you should know where you are at the moment, if you can find the way to your next destination, do mental mapping, and then eventually, be able to tell whether or not you arrived at the right place. It is also very similar in the sense that you go from place a to b with a purpose and with the intention to get the work done – thereby, also taking the shortest route possible. This is why navigation needs to be quick and easy because similar to the real world, one wants to take the quickest way. Although there are a lot of similarities, navigating through a web site can differ from finding your way around a city. Web navigation is a solo task, only involving you – whereas when finding your way around the real world, you come across people, places and things. There is no experience of the landscape unfolding before you as you navigate. Additionally, when navigating a website, there are multiple ways to do so, however there are not many ways to get around a certain geographical place. 

     

  2. Consequently, what are some best practices for aiding users in navigating through your web site? What are some no-no’s?
    Some of the best practices for aiding users in navigating through your website is to maintain consistency – but make sure to maintain consistency while incorporating visual flexibility. There is a tendency for people to arrive at a page unknowingly which is why orientation cues also play a big role in navigation. It is also important to make sure that there are no dead ends for the users to run into. The website should be simple and to-the-ponit with proper headings and a understandable home page. Some big no-no’s include having dead end pages, having a home page that doesn’t even properly convey what the website is about and a complicated navigation system.
  3.  What, in a sentence or two of your own paraphrasing, is gestalt theory? How does it apply to visual rhetoric?
    Gestalt theory refers to the reader’s ability to use visual elements and organize and make sense of the given information. Things like proximity, similarity, continuity are just a few examples. This applies to visual rhetoric because gestalt theory helps explain how an individual’s visual, their first glance, makes a difference as to who they interpret the given information.
  4. What are some best design practices that Lynch and Horton recommend for creating effective, trustworthy, user-friendly web pages?

    Lynch and Horton recommended using flexible page designs as that can work on various devices ranging from laptop, mobile device, pc etc. The pages should be easily adaptable as far as the text size, color and contrast is concerned. Another great practice to follow is to use page headers and footers – this makes the content user friendly and brings clarity to work. Design grids are another great to tool for an effective web page. A balanced and consistent design also helps build confidence in the users mind.

5. What’s one reason many people find reading on a computer uncomfortable?

People find reading on a computer uncomfortable due to various reasons. The low resolution along with the tedious task of scrolling through the vast information can often be a problem for many. The whole process just ends up being annoying and uncomfortable.

6. What is the inverted pyramid that journalists abide by?

Inverted pyramid is a method where the conclusion is provided in the beginning and the critical facts are placed near the first paragraph making it easier for the users to find it quickly. Basically, the information that is worthwhile is put first so the audience remembers it following the primary effect, while the information with not so much value is added later on.

7. In this chapter, Lynch and Horton discuss ways that writers can accommodate the habits of online readers. How do they practice what they preach?

Lynch and Horton certainly practiced what they preached. Their information was clear and concise with proper bold headings making sure I knew exactly what I was reading. Even though they had a lot of information to present, I didn’t feel like I was reading too much since it was properly divided – either by bullet points or by subheadings. Additionally, the layout was well presented since when I opened the website from my phone, I still thought it was easily accessible. They also made sure to have just the right amount of information on one page.

Advertisements

Twitterative Design

1st design – Science finds that drinking alcohol and energy drinks has the same effect as taking cocaine. More info on goo.gl/zb5Bnd

Good – Gets the message across

Bad – Too wordy, nothing catchy about it.

2nd design – According to a Purdue study, drinking alcohol and energy drinks has the same effect as taking cocaine. Read more: goo.gl/zb5Bnd

Good – Clarifies who conducted the study, thus making it reliable. Also, omitted the unnecessarily wordy sounding “more info on”.

Bad – Still too wordy and lacks a hooking or remembering factor.

3rd design – Proven by a Purdue study, Alcohol & Energy drinks = Cocaine. More on: goo.gl/zb5Bnd

Good – Less wordy, more to the point.

Bad – Doesn’t state what the actual ‘effect’ is

4th design  – Proven by a Purdue study: Alcohol & Energy drinks = Cocaine = Altered adolescence brain activity. goo.gl/zb5Bnd

Good – Clear, concise, to-the-point. No unnecessary words before the link since it is mostly implied. Clearly states who conducted the study, what the study states and what the consequences are.

TWITTER POSTINGS – Reading Response

  1. Every time the tweet was redesigned, it was more specific, to-the-point, and efficient. With every new design, the message became more and more clear and concise, which seems to be Nielsen’s overarching concern. All the unnecessary or elongated words were either omitted or replaced, to either make sure the world limit is met, or to make sure the message is crystal clear. Lastly, he also made sure that with every change, his tweet was less chaotic and more understandable. When working with social media, there is little to no room for confusion.

 

2. In the second design, he deleted the words announcing which I completely agreed with – doing so could bring the names of the states upfront and ‘announcing’ also seemed a little odd and unnecessary for a tweet. Like I said, the states being mentioned in the beginning was a great improvement, but by the third tweet, he also decided to add the months in parenthesis, which again, makes the tweet clear, specific, yet concise and to the point. The only redesign I disagree with, or feel like could’ve been done slightly differently is the 5th design where he decides to replace ‘of the year’ with ‘ever’. I personally liked the sound of ‘of the year’ much better, but again, it was necessary to take off those extra words. However, ‘ever’ just seems kind of ill-fitting.

 

3. As odd as it may sound, using a more casual approach can be really beneficial for a business when tweeting. One of the biggest no-no is posting too often. This instead gives out a negative impression to the audience and increases the chances of them unfollowing the business. Posting over excessively will be a problem but posting regularly is important. Additionally, being clear and to-the-point also plays a huge role. Another no-no would be bad choice of username or logo which can easily make the company lose some audience.

 

4. Mr. Nielsen certainly practices what he preaches. His tweets were effective and short and the message was clear as soon as the tweet was read. He clearly followed all his guidelines.

Luke Pearson’s “Some People” – Reading Response

If all we had was the verbal (i.e. the text in the speech bubbles), we wouldn’t have much. How, then, do the visual elements do most of the storytelling?

If all we had was the verbal, the story wouldn’t make sense, or even if it would, it will be very challenging to comprehend. Visual elements take away the role that imagination tends to play in a story which can often be helpful. In this comic, for example, the growing up (or aging back) of a person that is shown simply through multiple visuals makes it quick and easy to understand, as compared to just words. In some scenarios, the facial expressions represented through visuals also play a huge role. For example, when the boy in the red t-shirt is trying to offer his seat in the bus, that situation would make no sense by simply reading the words. It is very important to understand the facial expressions since a feeling like guilt can be hard to mould into sentences. Visual elements do most of the storytelling. When the mother and the daughter saw a man walking on the streets in a hoodie, that scenario is self-explanatory through images. If tried to describe through words, the small story would’ve become unnecessarily complicated and stretched. Additionally, visual elements do the storytelling by minimizing the need to have different names for multiple people, that can often be hard to keep track of. Most people find it easy to visualize and remember faces, clothes, hairstyle etc, which is easily done through visuals.

“We have some planes” – Reading Response

 

  • Where do you see content from the 9/11 Commission Report showing up in the graphic adaptation? How has it changed?

Overall, the written portion of the both the report and the graphic is pretty much the same. However, it is clear that most of the information is shortened in length and also simplified to some extent. The information provided in the graphic resembles an outline or summary points of an essay. Its noteworthy that both the documents made sure to give the readers some specific information such as the flight number, names of the hijackers, names of the crewmembers or other people who played a significant role in the situation.

  • What can a graphic novel do that a gov’t report cannot? Why? What are some of the different affordances/constraints of the two media? What different effect/affect might the different mediums have?

A graphic novel can certainly keep the reader hooked to the story for a longer duration than a regular report. It also gives a better understanding since the readers have some direction as to how they can picture the scenario. The animations in a graphic novel play a huge role, especially taking into consideration things like the facial expressions of hijackers, crewmembers or innocent people who were part of this sad tragedy. Although, the animated version of the World Trade Center blowing up did not necessarily appeal to me the way it did while reading the report. The seriousness and intensity of the tragedy is taken down a notch when presented through the graphic novel. Both kinds of medias have certain constraints. The report needs to follow a certain tone in how its written, mostly staying formal – or at least more formal than a graphic novel. The graphic novel, on the other hand, can face a constraint when trying to decide what information needs to be specified and what can be omitted – keeping in mind that the written parts cannot be lengthy and need to align with the images.

  • What do you think Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón are trying to accomplish by remediating the Report this way?

I think Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon are trying to provide a visual to the readers who can sometimes have a hard time imagining a given story in a way an author actually expects them to. Also, the graphic novel helps people who are looking for a quick read, while still wanting to gain as much knowledge as they possibly can. Images also tend to be more relatable than words, and although not everyone can find it easy to relate to such an unfortunate incident, the graphics make it easier for them to empathize.

Why Academics Stink at Writing

1) What’s the popular explanation outside universities for why academics suck at writing? What’s the popular answer within universities? In Pinker’s opinion, however, what are the two major contributors to the poor quality of academics’ writing?

The most popular explanation outside universities for why academics suck at writing is that bad wiring is a deliberate choice. Within universities, however, the most popular answer is that difficult writing is unavoidable because of the abstractness and complexity of our subject matter. Pinker’s opinion is a little different than both of these – according to him, two major contributors to the poor quality of academics’ writing are that writers are self conscious and fail to communicate, as they’re busy presenting themselves well. Another contributor to the what Pinker calls the “cognitive blind spot” is the curse of knowledge which is basically having a hard time figuring out what its like for someone to not know something that you know.

2) Pinker names six obnoxious attributes of the “self-conscious style.” What are they?

The six obnoxious attributes of the self conscious style are metadiscourse, professional narcissism, apologizing, shudder quotes, hedging, and metaconcepts and nominalizations.

3) Are you prone to any of these attributes in your own writing? Why? Do you think some of these attributes might actually be redeemable?

Personally, I struggle with hedging, and I believe so do most writers especially my age. Especially the words that Pinker’s talked about that such writers use – almost, apparently, comparatively, etc – are words I use pretty often and I am well aware that it’s not very beneficial as a writer to not be able to stand by your claims. These attributes are certainly redeemable by merely keeping in mind that not always do things need to be backed up and sometimes one can certainly rely on common sense and readers’ knowledge.

4) What do you value most in another writer’s style?

When reading another writing style, I put high value into their ability to sound confident, be relatable and be persuasive with their tone. There have been plenty of times when I have read something written by highly reputed authors/writers, but I just can’t seem to like their piece simply because it lacks that “they know what they’re talking about” element or it’s written and presented in a way that makes it very challenging to relate to.

Navigating Genres

1. Before reading the article, I would have described genre as a theme or a category. Examples of genre would be comedy, horror, romantic, fiction, non-fiction, action country, pop etc. Genre is surely something useful as in a pool of variety, genre helps categorize and sort out.

2. After reading the essay, I would re define genre as a situation where you find a purpose to convey a certain message to your specified audience in an adequate setting or location. When this message is used yet again for a similar purpose, audience, and location, it becomes a trend, or a “genre”.

3. Genre is a trend. This helps explain how a genre forms. It cant be formed unless and until the situation takes place repeatedly and the response is similar. Same is true for trends, which is why I like to believe that genre is the trend of the literature/arts world.