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.
In Western culture, we now understand that visual representations influence our thinking, but we don’t always fully comprehend the extent of that influence, nor do we understand precisely how that influence is exercised. In this course, we will gain a fuller understanding of the influence of the visual on meaning, by thinking with, about, and through the visual.
Emphasis on page design, as an aid to visual accessibility, did not receive attention in modern technical writing until the 1970s. However, accounting documents and instructional texts utilized format and document design strategies as early as the twelfth century to enhance the organization of quantitative data and linear bookkeeping entries. Format in text was used to reflect the arrangement used in oral accounting practices and to produce uniform documents. Thus, format was integral to the rise of pragmatic literacy of the commercial reader. During the Renaissance, these early format strategies received impetus from Ramist method. The result was design strategies that attempted to capture the rigid principles of organization fundamental to commercial accounting. These early accounting documents also illustrate the plain style that would become the focus of the later decades of the seventeenth century. Clarity in language paralleled clarity in page design for the sole purpose of eliminating ambiguity on the page and on the sentence level. Plain style was thus nurtured by financial forces long before the advent of natural science.
El siglo XX ha visto muchos avances en campos diversos. La Visualización no ha sido una excepción a esos cambios, que prepararon el camino para su transformación en 'Visualización de Información' durante las dos décadas que precedieron al nuevo milenio.
La interacción social nos proporciona patrones visuales que nos ayudan a situarnos en nuestro entorno. En Internet, sin embargo, esto no es tan inmediato. Están empezando a aparecer visualizaciones que intentan paliar el problema.
This exercise of increasing diagrams and illustrations to assist visual learners could potentially help me increase the clarity of the text in any deliverable so that it benefits any who take the time to read or at least scan. At the very least, asking myself whether I could easily illustrate or visualize the text may help me write more clearly.
This article describes visualization methods used by many international organizations in the design of development projects. In this context, development projects means projects that are designed to improve the quality of life for people living in a developing country. During the project design workshop essential elements of a discussion and subsequent analysis are visualized as the discussion takes place and displayed to the participants. This visual record is kept in view through the whole period of the discussion. The visual methods of identifying, analyzing and structuring a problem dramatically improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the problem solving process and the quality of the final solution. The techniques enable a large amount of knowledge available within the group of participants to be collected quickly and allows complex problems to be taken through several steps of analysis.
Data visualization has the potential to change the questions that people are able to pose to their data and transform their analytical methods and decision-making processes. It may, in fact, be the next generation of data reporting tools. This article argues that the prevailing computer science orientation to data visualizations is severely limited for addressing many of the usability concerns associated with supporting users in three critical problem areas: sophisticated visual literacy, complex data analysis, and new paradigms of visual inquiry. I first describe what visualization technology is and what is uncharted about the three usability areas of perceptually rich, interactive displays; complex problem-solving; and visual querying. Then I explain what it means to take a computing -- specifically an object-oriented -- perspective on the usability of visualizations, emphasizing the limitations of this point of view when it comes to supporting users in complex activities and reasoning.
In this article, the authors provide an empirically based, social semiotic account of changes in textbook design between 1930 and the present day. They look at the multimodal design of textbooks rather than at image or any other mode in isolation. Their review of 23 textbooks for secondary education in English shows that profound changes have taken place not just in the use of image but equally in writing, typography and layout. Design is no longer exclusively organized by the principles of the organization of writing, but also, and increasingly so, by graphic, visual principles. They explore what these semiotic changes mean for the social organization of design and knowledge production, asking: What is `English', a subject that supposedly concerns itself with the modes of writing and speech? What has changed in the environment that is set up by the textbook makers for teachers and students to engage in?
The guest editors offer a brief history of visualization, discuss the present state of the art, and explore the possibilities and challenges that lie ahead. They then discuss the contents of this special issue in terms of the trends in visualization theory and research. They conclude by observing that technical communicators must respond to the challenges presented in the content of this issue, both by using the methods presented and by performing the further research the authors call for. Additionally, researchers must incorporate the results of inquiry in the related fields.
Corporate photography was once the realm of adults only. Just a few years ago, it was surprising to see a picture of anybody under 40 years old in an annual report or capabilities brochure, much less someone under the age of 12. But nowadays, photos of children are showing up more and more often in all kinds of corporate publications, and as you might suspect, photographing children requires a totally different approach than shooting the CEO.
Enticed by sophisticated software, students of technical communication often lose perspective of visual effect. Inclusion of design principles into syllabi for technicalcommunication courses can conflict with those elements, such as substance content and audience analysis, that already occupy primary emphases. Principles of visual design can, however, be taught within group projects on professional presentations or similar topics. Cognitive dissonance introduced through rudimentary techniques of not computerized—but manual—design shifts student focus from keyboard and mouse to visual coherence of the final product. This simple technique offers benefits to students and researchers of technical communication.
Professional communicators and attorneys have long stood side by side as both fought to win in court—one in the court of law, the other in the court of public opinion. These two sometimes wary compatriots, however, are now beginning to partner more frequently to garner the best results for the executive suite.
While screenshots are important, visuals that illustrate technical concepts are necessary for engagement. Visuals communicate an idea that is otherwise lost in paragraphs of text. Users may skim and scan text, but their focus moves right to visual, because that’s how our brains are wired.
Based on an interpretive study, this article focuses on visual composition within the workforce as perceived by individuals who use visuals to instruct, persuade, or inform while speaking to an intended audience. Tabulated and evaluated responses to survey statements relate the presenter's perception of a visual's function, the presenter's sensitivity to and the use of the audience perspective in visual composition, and training received in researching an audience. Data also provides a comparative analysis among respective organizations categorized by career interests: administrative or managerial positions within product-oriented business, people-oriented business, and educational institutions. Survey statements reflect the frames of reference that regulate visual design: the color spectrum, gender, cultural sensitivity, structural organization, semantics, and adherence to ethics when applying technological enhancements.
You have just been asked to to give a 30-45 minute speech at a conference and there is absolutely no time to put visuals together for it. You're panicked at the thought of boring these people to death. What can you do? Use Word pictures.
It has been suggested that teaching professional writing students how to think visually can improve their ability to design visual texts. This article extends this suggestion and explores how the ability to think visuospatially influenced students’ success at designing visual texts in a small upper-division class on visual communication. Although all the students received the same instruction, students who demonstrated higher spatial faculties were more successful at developing and designing visual materials than were the other students in the class. This result suggests that the ability to think visuospatially is advantageous for learning how to communicate visually and that teaching students to think visuospatially should be a primary instructional focus to maximize all student learning.
The goal of this site is to explore the ways in which rhetoric, visual culture, and pedagogy interact with and inform each other. In keeping with this mission, the viz. blog is a forum for exploring the visual through identifying the connections between theory, rhetorical practice, popular culture, and the classroom.
This article investigates the introductions of 40 professional speeches from a rhetorical perspective to address the problems audiences seem to have with presentations about engineering. The authors use an exordial model that they derived from classical manuals on rhetoric. This model enumerates and groups rhetorical exordial techniques into 3 main functions: attentum, benevolum, and docilem . The study shows that rhetorically complete introductions are rare. Most of the speakers seemed to prefer a content-oriented, direct approach (docilem) in their introductions and seldom used techniques to garner the audience's attention (attentum) or sympathy (benevolum). The article concludes with an evaluation of the exordial model and a discussion of the study's pedagogical implications.
In recent years, we have seen an explosion of medical and health-related information on the internet, and many patients cite the internet as their preferred source for information on their health and that of their families. However, there are concerns, voiced by healthcare professionals and patients alike, that this information is not uniformly accurate, complete, or up-to-date.
When surfing the web these days, you often come across web sites that suffer from stagnation—they look old, obsolete or appear to have been designed by an amateur. Your web site needs continuous improvement to capture and engage your visitor’s attention. If not, he or she can easily click away to your competitor’s site. Here are twelve steps to help prevent stagnation.
The way a website presents itself to users is a key aspect of user experience. Effective websites don't interrupt user flow, which is guaranteed largely by posture (how the website uses available resources, particularly visual), and manner (how the website 'talks' to users).
Modern exhibit design and conventional technical communication are both concerned with verbal and visual presentation of information. Another aspect, not relevant to written technical communication but fundamental to exhibit design is the use of 3dimensional space. This paper examines two spatial elements in exhibit design: Visitor circulation patterns and the scale of displays. Circulation patterns are the paths taken by visitors through the exhibit area. Scale refers to the size of exhibits and architectural features in relation to the size of the average visitor. By comparing two visitor center exhibits that take very different approaches, I will argue that these spacial elements carry meaning and, like any other message, they can influence the thoughts, feelings, and actions of spectators.
My argument attempts to add to the kinds of documents seen as worth studying in the discipline loosely known as English. Over the last twenty years, we have moved from thinking that only literature is worth studying to including student writing, business writing, technical writing, and so on as part of our field of study. I think we have to extend our attention to documents which are even less literature-like. Calling these documents 'writing' has consequences for our understanding of both writing and the various fields in which it occurs. As Lisa Ede and Andrea Lunsford point out, 'We name in order to know, but that naming inevitably limits our knowing. . . . Definitions of writing, of course, reflect a set of ideological assumptions that we ignore only at our peril' (15). The ideological assumptions we ignore here have to do with how knowledge is created and how much control individuals have over their own knowing. Ideology leads both us and engineers to deny that writing has occurred in much engineering practice.