A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Rhetoric

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Visual rhetoric is the study of how document design (including the use of illustrations, charts and graphs, typography and layout) communicate, as opposed to aural or verbal messages. Visual rhetoric examines also the relationship between images and writing.

 

202.
#26757

Home Page Goals

The home page is your first impression. And like the old saying goes, you only get one chance. So home pages themselves have a unique set of design goals.

Powazek, Derek. List Apart, A (2006). Design>Web Design>Rhetoric

203.
#13979

Hot Cogntion: Emotions and Writing Behavior   (peer-reviewed)

Although contemporary psychologists generally acknowledge the significance of affect in human experience, few attempts have been made to understand its role in cognitive processes. Important books on cognition barely mention the subject of emotion, feeling, or sentiment. Unlike the strictly cognitive and physiological psycholoúgists, social psychologists are deeply concerned with affect. These psychologists contend that to consider people dispassionate, information processing systems is a poor if not badly inaccurate model of the human being. A positivistic psychology has been too “cold' to carry the entire motivational burden. What is needed is some way to heat up cognition—a theory that unites the cognitively blind but arousing system of affect with the subtle cognitive apparatus. In an otherwise cold-blooded tradition of cognitive science and flow chart intelligence, the idea of hot cognition became a major humanizing counterstatement during the mid 1960s and early 1970s.

Brand, Alice G. JAC (1985). Articles>Rhetoric>Emotions>Cognitive Psychology

204.
#39122

How PowerPoint is Killing Critical Thought

Bored students is the least of it – the bullet point-ization of information is making us stupid and irresponsible.

Smith, Andrew. Guardian, The (2015). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric>Microsoft PowerPoint

205.
#24794

How to Be Persuasive in Writing   (PDF)

The persuasive theories of Stephen Toulmin and Carl Rogers can be effective in applications to writing on the job. Toulmin’s strategies lead writers to specify the exact claim they are making, to give evidence to support the claim, and to refute the arguments likely to be made against the claim. Roger’s strategies can be used to identify the viewpoint of the audience, grant the points in the audience’s position which the writer agrees with, and then attempt to show how the audience’s position will actually be improved if the writer’s claim or proposal is accepted.

Connors, Patricia E. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Rhetoric>Writing

206.
#34916

How to Break Your Public Speaking PowerPoint Addiction

Each time I sign up a CIO speaker, I hopefully suggest the option of going slide-free. From the reaction I get, you'd think I suggested walking on stage pants-free.

Johnson, Maryfran. CIO Magazine (2009). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric

207.
#38309

How to Convince Someone that You're Right

Can you change someone's mind about something? Really, this is important. To create almost anything significant, you've got to change someone's mind along the way. Convince the boss to sign off on a decision. Convince the team to adopt a new process. Convince the developer to implement a new design. And so on. There are two ways of convincing someone of something.

Hurst, Mark. Good Experience (2011). Articles>Rhetoric>Collaboration

208.
#25888

How to Find the Perfect Color   (PDF)

Getting that just-right color is part art, part science. We'll show you.

Before and After. Design>Graphic Design>Visual Rhetoric>Color

209.
#36233

How to Make your Point with Sound Bites And Quotable Statements

Whether you are making a business presentation or communicating with the media, your most important objective should be to make your point clear and memorable. The following are three simple and effective techniques to make your point clear and create sound bites and quotable statements.

Whatley, Randall P. Cypress Media Group (2007). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric

210.
#35458

How To Persuade Your Users, Boss or Clients

Whether you are getting a client to sign off on a website’s design or persuade a user to complete a call to action, we all need to know how to be convincing. Like many in the Web design industry, I have a strange job. I am part salesperson, part consultant and part user experience designer. One day I could be pitching a new idea to a board of directors, the next I might be designing an e-commerce purchasing process. There is, however, a common theme: I spend most of my time persuading people.

Boag, Paul. Smashing (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Collaboration>Rhetoric

211.
#22480

How to Play to Your Audience

Is your website easy for Maude to use? Or, for that matter, Tiffany or Raul? Here's how to sync up your website with your audience.

Levinson, Meredith. CIO Magazine (2003). Design>Web Design>Redesign>Rhetoric

212.
#37344

How to Recover from a Presentation Disaster

Getting no feedback from your audience is hard. There are two parts to recovering from an experience like this. The first is to examine your thinking around the ‘disaster’. The second is to take active steps to recover from it.

Mitchell, Olivia. Speaking About Presenting (2010). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric

213.
#29381

How To Use the Six Laws of Persuasion during a Negotiation   (members only)

In order to be successful, you must master the persuasion process, which will enable you to deliberately create the attitude change and subsequent actions necessary for persuading others to your way of thinking. In other words, you have to be able to 'sell' your ideas in order to make changes in your favor and, in a win-win situation, provide the other side with a fair deal.

Greer, Edrie. TechRepublic (2006). Articles>Business Communication>Rhetoric

214.
#34051

How Twitter Makes You A Better Writer

Since you only have 140 characters to get your message across, you’re forced to dust off your dictionary and thesaurus and find new words to use—Words that are shorter, words that are more descriptive, and words that get the job done in 140 characters or less.

Blanchard, Jennifer. Copyblogger (2009). Articles>Writing>Rhetoric>Social Networking

215.
#23918

How You Can Make Plain English Work for You   (peer-reviewed)

Plain English is good, clear writing which communicates as simply and effectively as possible. But it is not a childish or simplistic form of English.

Government of Australia (2003). Resources>Writing>Rhetoric>Minimalism

216.
#13987

A Humanistic Rationale for Technical Writing   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

A discussion of how to argue that technical writing has humanistic value. Reviewing the common belief (at least in 1979) that tech writing was of necessity a 'skills' course, this article counters the traditional 'plain style' rhetorical theory by suggesting possibilities for professional and theoretical alternatives for the field.

Miller, Carolyn R. North Carolina State University (1979). Articles>TC>Rhetoric>Minimalism

217.
#32104

I Love Typography

iLT is designed to inspire its readers, to make people more aware of the typography that is around them. We really cannot escape typography; it's everywhere: on road signs, shampoo bottles, toothpaste, and even on billboard posters, in books and magazines, online...the list is endless, and the possibilities equally so.

I Love Typography. Resources>Graphic Design>Typography>Visual Rhetoric

218.
#24101

Identity in Sheep's Clothing   (PDF)

Can an identity exude moral or ethical attitudes? In the past, product and business identities that functioned well were bound to a person or family that over long periods delivered quality and dependable goods or services. However, in these times of runaway and rollover mergers, restructuring, and reengineering, there is no time for anyone to assess the real characteristics that make up these newly emerging companies and conglomerates. What are they? Who is behind them? Corporate wolves or sheep in Gucci clothing?

Winkler, Dietmar. University of Alberta (2003). Design>Graphic Design>Visual Rhetoric

219.
#29831

"If You Can't Handle This, I Am Sorry"

Literacy has always been a material, multimedia construct but we only now are becoming aware of this multidimensionality and materiality because computer technologies have made it possible for many people to produce and publish multimedia presentations.

Faigley, Lester. University of Texas (1999). Articles>Web Design>Visual Rhetoric

220.
#25571

The Immediacy of Rhetoric: Definitions, Illustrations, and Implications

Because of its complexity, 'kairos' is frequently explained in relation to other key terms of time and place.

Krause, Steven D. Eastern Michigan University (1996). Books>Rhetoric

221.
#36511

The Impact of Hypertext on Processes of Reading and Writing   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Whether pragmatic or Romantic, the projected benefits of hypertext follow from certain assumptions about how people read or should read. The belief that readers can select for themselves which links in a network to follow rests on the assumption that readers know best what information they need and in what order they should read it. The goal of creating paths for different readers assumes that hypertext designer/writers can predict readersÕ needs well enough to create the "right" set of paths and direct each reader onto the appropriate one. The very notion that hypertext designer/writers can create meaningful, useful networks in the first place depends on a whole range of assumptions about how to divide up and relate parts of texts, including what segments of text constitute meaningful nodes, what types of links are meaningful and important, and what types of texts can or ought to be read non-linearly. In fact, many of these assumptions contradict current thinking in rhetorical theory, cognitive psychology, and document design, where the evidence suggests that, as currently conceived, hypertext may in fact dramatically increase the burdens on both readers and writers. My purpose in this essay is to review relevant educational and psychological research on reading that bears on the problems hypertexts may pose for readers and writers. The purpose of this evaluation is not to accept or dismiss hypertext in principle, but rather to point to specific aspects of reading and writing processes that hypertext designers must consider if they are to serve readers and writers effectively.

Charney, Davida. University of Texas (1994). Articles>Writing>Rhetoric>Hypertext

222.
#19808

The Implications of Single Sourcing for Writers and Writing   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Argues that single sourcing puts pressures on the workforce and the very conception of 'writer' and 'document. Examines literature on change management for clues into managing the impacts of single sourcing on writers.

Carter, Locke. Technical Communication Online (2003). Articles>Content Management>Single Sourcing>Rhetoric

223.
#30688

Implicature, Pragmatics, and Documentation: A Comparative Study   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This study investigates the link between the linguistic principles of implicature and pragmatics and software documentation. When implicatures are created in conversation or text, the listener or reader is required to fill in missing information not overtly stated. This information is usually filled in on the basis of previous knowledge or context. Pragmatics, the study of language use in context, is concerned with the situational aspects of language use that, among other things, directly affect implicatures required of the reader. I investigate how two manuals for the same software product can be analyzed on the basis of implicature and pragmatics. One is an original copy of the documentation that came with the product, the other an after-market manual. Results show that the aftermarket manual requires far fewer implicatures of the reader and does a better job of providing pragmatically helpful information for the user.

Wright, David. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2007). Articles>Documentation>Rhetoric>Technical Writing

224.
#14032

The Implied Author in Technical Discourse   (peer-reviewed)

The task of conveying technical information is usually taken to be the responsibility of the writer-researcher, aided possibly by editorial and supervisory reviews. And the test of success is usually understood to be a technically objective and accurate text, effectively presented to the intended reader. The subject of this paper is an inquiry into the existence of a fictitious personage, created by the writer-researcher, deliberately or not, to mediate between the author and the reader on the one side, and the author and the text on the other. If such a personage exists, the next question is whether this presence, often referred to as an implied author or 'second self' in literary studies, is an appropriate rhetorical device for technical discourse; whether it enhances or distorts the information transfer from writer to text to reader. Such questioning can, I believe, lead to a more refined understanding of the nature of technical discourse and its relation to the reality it addresses.

Coney, Mary B. JAC (1988). Articles>Rhetoric>TC

225.
#18927

The Importance of Audience

Clear writing is essential if you want your message to get across clearly to your audience. But, what makes your writing clear will vary and is ultimately dependent on your target audience. Before you write, know who you are writing for.

WordsWork. Articles>Writing>Audience Analysis>Rhetoric

 
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