72 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2016
    1. While we agree UD is an unachievable goal, we would argue that the goal itself is problematic and ultimately inadequate to the continuously evolving situation of not only the inclusion of more and more disabled/extraordinary/eccentric bodies into “normal” society but also the ever-shifting ableness of any body as it moves toward inevitable failure.

      UD is setting everyone up for failure, absolutely! No one is the same and every disability is a particular case so we need to focus on accommodating and alleviating as many of these cases as possible which would be far more productive and effective than actually trying to generalize the whole population and creating a far too generic design that no one will abide by in the end.

    2. I would suggest that the goals that animate UD should be and will continue to be a powerful principle in DH, but such a design principle needs to accompany, not supplant, the attention to the particular.

      It just goes back to your English class where your teachers talks about how specification and certain details are what's going to make your work stand out or it's going to make all the difference. Well the same goes for tech writing for the disabled because the more detail orientated we get with trying to help with as many specific cases as possible, the more advance or technology/work will become. We need to bring attention to the particular and quit this universal notion that isn't really best for anyone.

    3. For example, Williams encourages a reciprocity between user and designer, arguing that “by working to meet the needs of disabled people—and by working with disabled people through usability testing—the digital humanities community will also benefit significantly as it rethinks its assumptions about how digital devices could and should work with and for people.”[

      If tech writers were given the chance to work with an individual with specific needs or a disability, than it definitely would change the mind of the writer or at least make them take into consideration what things they could do to help those with disabilities whether it's adding audio or using bolder colors. The extra effort needs to be made.

    4. In their opening “Access Statement,” Yergeau et al. acknowledge that “Universal design is a process, a means rather than an end. There’s no such thing as a universally designed text. There’s no such thing as a text that meets everyone’s needs. That our webtext falls short is inevitable.” They caution that the inevitable failure of UD “is not a justification for failing to consider what audiences are invited into and imagined as part of a text.” Rather, the recognition of failure at the heart of Universalist paradigms can enable us to attend more closely to the particular embodied orientation of users and stakeholders.

      I agree with this paragraph because there is no such thing as a UD because it just cannot help everyone with as many specific disabilities as there are out there in the world. It's definitely an idea and more like a process, but it also seems like it's not going to go anywhere because people with disabilities need specific technology for their individual cases. There is not solution with a "one size fits all" notion attached to it. You're never going to meet everyone's needs but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to help accommodate as many specific cases as possible.

    5. As someone with a disability, I feel deeply and urgently the need to be less reliant on other people, but sometimes existing technology can be inadequate—it can break down, be unreliable, or may just be a poor substitution for human help (even if I don’t want that help). Bednarska relates how, at her own institution, the University of California at Berkeley, funding for disabled students to have assistants became more restricted and limited because of the promise of available technologies.

      Those with disabilities didn't ask for their burdens and much less want help all of the time. They want to be able to be independent and produce a life for themselves like any other individual around them. It's unfortunate that public funding has been restricted and hasn't allowed for more research into developing more advance technology for those with disabilities.

    6. While maximum accessibility is a laudable goal, in practice UD often fails to attend to the particular as it espouses the universal.

      Focusing on a design that is far too broad and tries to cover far too many types of people is eventually going to do quite the opposite and leave a lot of people with specific types of disabilities out. Disabilities aren't all the same and most of them are complex or have more issues on top of them. Generalizing all disabilities into one universal design isn't effective. We need to be able to find a way to modify or design for each particular case.

    7. George Williams, in his “Disability, Universal Design, and the Digital Humanities,” advocates that the field of Digital Humanities adopts the principles of Universal Design.[10] Ron Mace, working in architecture, developed “the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life.”[11] I very much agree with Williams. The goals of Universal Design stand in direct contrast to the often nostalgic (and ultimately hierarchical) expression of normativity we see in the repeated calls to re-embrace physical books, pens, and paper. For such positions, one need only look to the oft-cited (and oft-shared on social media) study on the efficacy of hand-written versus digital note-taking.[12] However, I want to suggest that both positions engender a sense of “best practice” that could obscure the specific sociopolitical and embodied orientation of an individual user.

      This paragraph was interesting to me because I'm constantly hearing from the older generation how the "gold old days" with pen and paper were far more benificial than the technology that is being used today. As a tech writer and English major, I have no problem sitting down with a pencil and paper and jotting down my ideas. There's a nostalgic feeling behind it that brings me back to my pubic education days. But it's important to take into consideration those with disabilities who cannot hold a pencil or find trouble writing on paper whether they are blind, have lost an arm, etc. Technology is here to assist them and UD isn't specific enough to make that possible.

    8. “If we live long enough, disability is the one identity that we all inhabit”

      This quote is so true because at some point in our lives, whether we are losing our sight to old age or become ill and cannot walk, we will acquire some form of a disability and only then will you realize how important it is to have a specific resolution for it.

    9. Joe Clark, a specialist in technologies such as captioning and audio description disabled internet users, maintains UD is a myth.[2] I’d say UD is a motivating fiction or tantalizing impossibility: unicorn, Holy Grail, earthly Paradise, whatever. In its temporal deferral, UD replicates the unrealized futurity of disability itself. As Robert McRuer notes, disability does not designate a subset of humanity but a spectral prospect that haunts everyone: “If we live long enough, disability is the one identity that we all inhabit” (200).[3] In its deferred arrival, UD, like disability, conjures an elusive future.

      UD is a myth. Fact. The idea of creating this broad and general tech world where needs of those who are disabled are only met by the tip of the iceberg and those with far more complex disabilities are still left out. Again, a "one size fits all" kind of technological world isn't ideal for anyone because we all have some kind of disability at one point or another in our lives that should be alleviated by technology. At the end of the day, it's main purpose is to assist.

    10. Our online position paper is a two-headed reflection on disability and universalism in the fields of Digital Humanities (DH) and Universal Design (UD). One of the authors, Richard H. Godden, considers how particular experience of disability shapes his use of media and also informs his reactions to prescriptive statements about the use of technology; the other author, Jonathan Hsy, writes as a nondisabled ally who considers some of the discursive and practical complications that arise in efforts to make the web more accessible to people with disabilities. We come from different perspectives, yet both of us ask what it means for any community to establish “best practices” for technology use. Even the most well-intentioned universalist discourses risk effacing crucial particularities of embodied experience.

      This article is mainly trying to prove how universal design isn't exactly practical or achievable. Though people with disabilities have every right to access the same information or resources like the rest of us, they are different and those differences hinder them from being able to have easy access. The idea of creating a technological world where everyone is accessing information the same way. It's impossible! One of the authors, Rick, is disabled himself and goes on to state how dysfunctional a lot of universal design is because it's too general and broad and doesn't really help anyone really. There should be programs or technology within UD to meet the specific needs stemming from a specific disability.

    1. However, not all designers are aware of how their choices affect accessibility. Universal design is design that involves conscious decisions about accessibility for all, and it is a philosophy that should be adopted more widely by digital humanities scholars.

      Universal design is such a great idea, but I also think it is way harder to achieve than we think. Nonetheless, it's important that tech writers start to develop content having the idea of universal design in mind and trying to meet as many needs as possible. For example, providing videos for the deaf and hearing aids for the blind.

    2. To embrace accessibility is to focus design efforts on people who are disabled, ensuring that all barriers have been removed.

      Universal design is not to specifically have those with disabilities specifically in mind, but to design with the idea of all products and environment can be usable to as many people as possible. This is such a challenge because "one size fits all" rarely works for as many people as it's intended to reach, but yet it's a start to help those who need assistance. After all, technology is here to assist.

    3. We might consider, however, that there is no “natural” way to interact with the 1’s and 0’s that make up the data we are interested in creating, transmitting, receiving, and using; there is only the model we have chosen to think of as natural. All technology is assistive, in the end.

      Because technology is a huge part of our lives, we tend to confuse it as "natural" or becoming apart of us. But we need to separate ourselves from technology for a second and remind ourselves that it isn't natural and that it's sole purpose at the end of the day is to assist. There is so much work that goes into technology and tech writing in order for it to run smoothly and be structured in a way that we subconsciously confuse with nature. Somehow, the trick here is to get technology to become natural for those with disabilities... but how? To be determined...

    4. Walter Ong famously wrote, “Technologies are artificial, but …artificiality is natural to humans” (81)

      This quote above is so on point because it's true that as technical writers you deal with a lot of artificial content that needs to be modified in a way that become so easy to access, sort of like second nature to your audience. They feel like it's an easy breezy almost natural experience to browse your site or easily skim through a manual, but it's only because a tech writer applied his talents in order for it to seem that way.

    5. To solve this problem, we inserted a tiny image—a transparent GIF exactly one pixel square, to be exact—at the beginning of each page with an alt attribute that read, “Skip to main content.” This image would be invisible to sighted users, but those listening to the page with screen-reading software—which reads aloud the alt attributes of images embedded in an HTML page—could use that GIF as their cue to jump past what they did not need to hear in order to get to the information that they did want to hear.

      This is pretty genius! Although I am confused how exactly they will be able to click on the GIF, but nonetheless it's a pretty impressive code solution. Tech savvy blind people should have every right to be able to skip around content and have easy accessibility throughout sites as anyone else does.

    6. (We had no plans to include audio, so addressing the needs of people who are deaf or hard of hearing was not in our plan.)

      I'm confused why they didn't feel the need to include audio? I know accommodating for every disability out there is tedious and difficult, but being blind and or deaf are both very common disabilities that should both be addressed. Maybe Williams could have elaborated why they didn't include audio..

    7. Learning to create scholarly digital archives that take into account these human differences is a necessary task no one has yet undertaken.

      Why is that? We are so far advanced as a society but we can't seem to find solutions for those with disabilities?

    8. For example, visually impaired people take advantage of digital technologies for “accessibility,” technologies that (with their oral/aural and tactile interfaces) are fascinatingly different than the standard screen-keyboard-mouse combination, forcing us to rethink our embodied relationship to data.

      The visually impaired should be able to easily access a oral setting that will help them navigate through the site easier. I know that companies don't want to make this an option because adding on resources also adds on expenses and stress that they don't deem necessary, but we as technical writers should do our best to have our client understand the importance of catering to those few with disabilities who have the potential to make a huge difference.

    9. Digital knowledge tools that assume everyone approaches information with the same abilities and using the same methods risk excluding a large percentage of people. In fact, such tools actually do the work of disabling people by preventing them from using digital resources altogether.

      I agree with this statement. I think it's definitely easier and cost effective to generalize the execution of information in a way that "one size fits all" but it definitely excludes a majority of people that need to be taken into consideration. Those with disabilities should not be excluded because of a monetary excuse or because it's too much work to spend the extra time to make the modifications that would help this particular group of people out.

    10. While professionals working in educational technology and commercial web design have made significant progress in meeting the needs of such users, the humanities scholars creating digital projects all too often fail to take these needs into account.

      Williams is saying that the more technical and engineering side of technical writing has advanced more in helping those with disabilities than the actual writers. I think it's more difficult for the writer to achieve content that alleviates all of these disabilities. I don't think they've neglected it, but they definitely have a more tedious task than software programmers who work on the back side of things while it's the front side that actually gets presented and needs to execute the content in the appropriate manner.

    11. As a result, many of the otherwise most valuable digital resources are useless for people who are—for example—deaf or hard of hearing, as well as for people who are blind, have low vision, or have difficulty distinguishing particular colors.

      I think it's important as a tech writer to also consider people in your audience who have disabilities and cannot easily navigate or find the content on a site because they're blind, can't see colors, deaf, etc.

      I know it's difficult to accommodate to everyone's needs, but it's important to acknowledge those with disabilities and try our best to figure out ways to allow them to not miss out on vital content.

  2. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. Make important elements larger than less im­portant display elements (Edwards and Goolkasian 1974), Larger elements are more easily discernible in peripheral vision, which guides subsequent foveal (central vision) fixations. People also typically fixate longer on larger elements in a display (

      I learned about this in the article and during one of our class discussions. It's simple. Emphasize the content you know your client deems important and vital for your audience with size and font, but don't get too carried away! Serif is always a great option. Everything else can be in san-serif.

    2. A closely related issue affecting designers’ decisions about the allocation of space on a Web page is the issue of information density (or “display loading”). In other words, how much information should be put on a screen? Screen density is expressed as a percentage of the total space available on a screen that is actually occupied by visual elements. Typically, suggestions for optimum screen den­sity range from 25 percent to 60 percent.

      Tech writers need to consider how long the content on your client's site will take to load. Ideally, when you land on a page, you should be able to see the main points without even having to scroll very much or at all. If you managed to fill a page with so much information that you're client can't even scroll through because it's taking too long to scroll, than thats's going to turn away traffic and your client isn't going to blame the audience's internet provider but you.

    3. Simply, elements that are logically coordinate ought to be treated graphically in the same way. Subordinate elements ought to appear less prominent than superordinate elements, and elements that are closely tied to one another logically ought either to be grouped spatially or share some other perceptual attribute such as color.

      The quote above explains basically how to organize the content you want to emphasize or how to make certain information standout over the other. Headers are considered superordinate elements and those should be easily distinguishable to the eye from the information below it. Although some information below the header can still be considered as superordinate, make sure you use different fonts (as instructed in the other reading) in order for your audience to get a feel of what's important and should be understood over the other general information.

    4. The good news is that despite conventional wisdom, there is actually little evidence that display size or orienta­tion has much effect on viewers—at least in terms of their ability to read text from a screen (Dillon 1994). Screen size and orientation, however, may affect how the designer breaks up or “chunks” content, both logically and visually, to reveal to the viewer how the content in the Web site is structured.

      I found this to be quite interesting because I always thought that orientation had a lot to do with user preference. But when you really think about it, most smartphones and tablets function perfectly well both ways and it's up to the user to decide which orientation is their preference. But one thing for sure that technical writers must watch out for is a website that doesn't support both orientations. I personally hate it when I twist my phone to a landscape orientation and the website breaks off in a weird way or the content loses its structure and the sentences are all on top of each other. Always take into consideration the technical issues that can arise when it comes to mobility and multimodal usage of your client's site.

    5. Finally, it’s important to acknowledge in the design of information to be displayed on a screen that screens differ from pages in some very fundamental ways. Screens, for example, may be smaller than pages, at least in the sense that they often display fewer lines of type than a typical paper page. Screens are also customarily oriented differ­ently than paper—they are typically wider than they are tall. The images displayed on screens are also often more crude than those printed on paper, and, unlike paper, screens transmit light rather than reflect it. Issues of screen resolution and luminance are addressed in a later section on typography. Screen size and orientation, though, affect the designer’s decisions about the arrangement of visual elements on a screen and so are considered in the context of our discussion of desig

      When it comes to mobility, it's important to consider how your client's website will look through a smartphone screen. Most people are always on the go and hardly have enough time to pull out their laptops or sit at their desktops, so iPads and smartphones are everyone's choice. It is important to consider what your client's site will look like on a mobile platform. Lack of an easily accessible or lack of a good structure on mobile platforms will lead your audience to believe that you're not up to date with technology and they'd rather take their money or motives else where. There's just too much competition online for your audience to be struggling with your non-mobile website.

    6. Importantly, the processing that occurs in this first stage of perception—a stage that takes only a few fractions of a second—occurs automatically and in such a way that interpretation of the display is dictated largely by the characteristics of the dis­play itself rather than by the viewer’s prior knowledge or expectations (Bruce and Green 1990; Goldstein 1996; Wade and Swanston 1991).

      This is so true! When I click on a link to a website, within the first few minutes I am processing the layout of the website and the more unorganized and jumbled all of its content is, the less I want to stay on the website or even scan it. You lose credibility points when your website or your business card isn't cohesive and doesn't let you hit the main points easily. In an age where millions of websites and sources exist, the last thing I want to do is put extra effort into content that's already someone else's job to sort and organize and emphasize for me.

    7. Good design reveals structure when it visually mimics the logical relationships that exist among elements in a display. The human visual system attempts to find the structure of information—whether in a scene, on a page, or on a screen—very early in its efforts to process it, and it does so by looking for visual patterns.

      The quote above does a great job explaining how the mind works when an audience is navigating your client's site. As a tech writer, we must time after time think about how our client's audience will navigate the site and how they will process the information displayed. It's a psychological fact that human's prefer patterns and easily pick up on them. That is why a lot of successful websites or technology like Apple uses a minimalistic aesthetic because it's easy to navigate and the brain can easily process its patterns.

    8. 1.2 Avoid “busy” or distracting backgrounds.Any display of information, whether on a screen or on a page, should assist viewers in their efforts to distinguish objects from their backgrounds (that is, to distinguish “fig­ure” from “ground”) and from each other (that is, to dis­criminate). In fact, these are among the first perceptual tasks addressed by the human visual system in its attempts to make sense out of the scene or page or screen it is viewing. It begins this process by locating discontinuities in the visual field, which typically result, for example, from changes in lightness, color, texture, and orientation. These changes are interpreted by the brain as edges or bound­aries. In a very' simple sense, the brain does the equivalent of drawing a line where boundaries exist between dissim­ilar areas and, subsequently, of combining those lines to form figures (Bruce and Green 1990; Goldstein 1996; Wade and Swanston 1991). “Busy” or heavily patterned back­grounds (see Figure 2)

      We discussed this during one of our client meetings with GCCA. At some point one of my group members wanted to change the color of the site's background in order to add more life to the site. But I along with the client agreed that we wanted to keep the background white because we didn't want to distract our audience from the information offered on the site. It's important to consider what kind of tone your client has set for themselves as far as their company goes and GCCA is a serious organization that wants their potential members to take them seriously and trust them with their money. I don't know if a baby blue background on their site would give off that vibe...

    9. f a display must consist of very' small colored elements, however, the detectability and discrim- inability of those elements can be improved to a limited degree by displaying them on a black, rather than white, background. (Thorell and Smith 1990).

      All of the information on the last page before this quote makes perfect since, "make sure your content is visible and visibly distinguishable". This is similar to the other article I just read on fonts where it also said that it is important to distinguish between information by adding different fonts to the content that have the undertone or give off the feelings you want your audience to get from the content. This article isn't only focusing on fonts, but is more multimodal in which it also wants you to consider font size, color, backgrounds, image position, etc. that allows for your audience to easily access the information it needs and you want them to focus on.

    1. • Give each font a job: Your chosen fonts will need to be different enough that they create a clear visual hierarchy — showing viewers where to look and what’s important. One sans-serif and one serif font are often enough to do this effectively.

      This is exactly what we've found appropriate and effective for GCCA's website. We are using sans-serif for general information while serif will highlight more important information and headers.

    2. Who is viewing your design may also be important. Is your audience of a certain age or demographic? Will your font choice resonate with them?

      These questions should also be kept in mind while designing a website or template. As we discussed in class during our presentation, GCCA is working for the children, but that doesn't mean their audience consists of children or anyone child like. It's a serious organization that deals with state funding and law making so the design must be suitable for potential members who come from a professional background. Not all graphics should include children in them. They should also show judicial officials and businessmen who all work simultaneously to make GCCA a success.

    3. Where and how your design will be viewed should also figure into your font choices. For instance, a business card design will need a font that’s easily readable at a small size. Or social media graphics, which are likely to be viewed on mobile devices, would benefit from fonts that display well on screen.

      As a tech writer, you should ask yourself these questions when trying to figure out what font size is appropriate for the project you are working on. On GCCA's homepage, we decided to make sure that the font on the main picture was bold and attention grabbing because we want to focus on having our audience sign up for memberships. The rest of the info on the homepage is normal, except for headers which are bold as well.

    4. If the characteristics the font is communicating don’t match the message of your overall design, then there will be a visual disconnect for the viewers or users of your design, and you don’t want that. When browsing fonts, it can be easy to get caught up in all the fun and interesting choices, but don’t let personal preferences get in the way; a font you think is distinctive or stylish may not be useful or appropriate for the project you’re working on.

      The quote above does a great job explaining how imperative your font choices are on the overall look and feel of the website. If you get too carried away with aesthetics than you can add too much excitement to a page or the opposite effect, confusion, either way it is preventing your reader from actually being able to take in the information because of a "visual disconnect" or a design overload. Just how you can walk into a clothing store and get easily overwhelmed because it has too many trends going on at once and it's too crowded with too many different kinds of looks that you'll walk out, the same can be applied to a website. If your choice of font(s) are too much and are causing a visual disconnect, then your audience will leave before they even got a chance to read the information to retain anything from the website. It might also cause them to not want to return to the site because of some visual disconnect PTSD. In simple terms, less is more and make sure it's cohesive with the overall tone of the company.

    5. Font choices often set the tone for the whole design and can influence viewers’ feelings toward and interactions with your design — just like how if you were to show up at a black-tie party in your favorite threadbare t-shirt and sweatpants, people would judge you on your appearance.

      Again, continuing the conversation about what fonts are appropriate for GCCA's website, it's true that certain fonts have an undertone to them and they influence or stimulate certain feelings in your readers. If the organization that you work for is more on the artsy side, than perhaps that can give you some leeway to play with script and display fonts. But for the more serious businesses like law or medical offices, I would definitely stick to simple serif text. There's a time and a place to be the center of attention by being weird and eclectic, but your client's font (in my case GCCA) isn't one of them.

    6. You wouldn’t wear a bathing suit to a job interview; then again, you wouldn’t want to wear a suit and tie during your vacation on the beach either. There’s an element of appropriateness to consider.

      Yes! I like this analogy a lot! This goes back to what I was saying about how I wouldn't choose script or display fonts for GCCA's website because it's inappropriate. This is a serious organization that works hard to gain legal rights and government funding for childcare facilities. They cannot be turning in legal forms or own a website with frilly fonts because that's not going to help them to be taken seriously.

    7. The distinction dates back to traditional printmaking with metal type. The unique style or design of the alphabet that we identify by name — say, Times New Roman or Bodoni, would be considered the typeface. When those letters needed to be cast at a particular size or weight (10 point bold, for example), that would be considered a particular font. So 10 pt. Bodoni bold and 24 pt. Bodoni italic would be two different fonts, but the same typeface.

      I honestly thought that the difference between typeface and font was that typeface resembled more like letters that would have been typed with a typewriter kind of style. I know that sounds far off, but I'm glad this paragraph cleared that up for me. As a technical writer, there are so many components to writing and it also includes the distinguishing between typeface and font.

    8. 4) Decorative / Display: When you hear a font categorized as decorative, display, or novelty, it all means the same thing — that font is meant to get your attention. They’re often more unusual than practical and should only be used in small doses and for a specific effect or purpose.

      This font also has an aesthetic that I would stay away from when it comes to GCCA's website. Again, it just doesn't set the right tone and takes away from the ethos and logos that this organization is trying to convey. I think the best options here would be a combination of serif and san-serif because they're both more involved in the "universal design" in which GCCA isn't trying to have an artsy website, but more a site where information is easily accessible and aesthetics don't take away from the content.

    9. 3) Script: Scripts are what we might think of as cursive- or handwriting-style fonts. They generally have connecting letters. You’ll find that script fonts come in many different styles, from elegant, to fun and casual, to hand-drawn.

      Script font reminds me of Pinterest worthy thank you notes or cute headers for personal blogs or online boutiques. I wouldn't use this font specifically on GCCA's website because it doesn't set the right tone for the type of information we are dealing with. GCCA has very important state juridical matter and also legal terms, business information, etc that are all serious. Like we talked about during our presentation in class, although they deal with children, it's still a very serious organization and everything must have a professional look and feel to it and script doesn't do it here.

    10. Though this point is often debated, it’s commonly said that serifs make long passages (in print) easier to navigate visually, helping move your eyes along the lines of text. However, because serifs are usually small and thin, they often don’t display as well on pixel-based screens (looking distorted and “noisy” rather than clear and crisp), so many designers favor sans-serif fonts for web use, especially at small sizes.

      As a technical writer, you must use a variety of fonts in order to stimulate your audience. You want to be able to help them distinguish between what certain information is more important than others. For the information that is general and isn't imperative nor irrelevant, you want to stick to a font that has a neutral undertone and serifs are great for that.

    11. 1) Serif: Serif fonts have little “feet” or lines attached the ends of their letters. They’re generally thought to look more serious or traditional.

      I can apply this article to my service learning project with GCCA because using a variety of fonts can attract readers attention to important information. When designing a website. it's imperative that we highlight certain information by changing the font in order to make the reader know that some information is more important than others, like for example GCCA's mission statement on the homepage in serif font.

  3. Sep 2016
    1. Many of the problems an organization blames on tech-nology actually stem from social issues related to poor orinadequate communication. We need to define the rela-tionships between the technology, the social aspects, andthe business needs.

      Again, this is where rhetoric/dialectic process comes into play. Everyone in the same team should be able to go back and forth with their ideas and inputs in order to generate a consensus that allows the tech to reach a wide variety of audiences. What good does an amazingly written instruction manual do if nobody is actually reading it and putting it to use?

    2. hink that we need toreexamine what and how we produce documentation andcommunicate information at a very basic level. If we havesolved the problems, why are so many manuals and helpsystems still unused? Why are so many Web sites still sounusable in terms of navigation and—especially—conte

      One main purpose of tech writing is using multimodal communication in order to reach a variety of potential audiences. This can be done using a dialectic process to make information more accessible without oversimplifying it. Perhaps stick to one genre in order to figure out what will work and then by testing and prototyping the tech in multiple scenarios, you can infer what audiences it reaches.

    3. hatemployers expect—and what graduates need to be com-petitive in the job market—is an expanded set of skills tocomplement their writing ability, skills that depend onvarious aspects of technology. And that technology skill setis simply what's needed to get a first job; technical com-municators need to continue to learn new technologies andtools to remain competitive and employable

      When I am searching for potential internships and job openings, one of the first requirements is "must have effective writing skills." A lot of students who chose a technical career have a difficult time honing their writing skills because they were taught to memorize information and simply regurgitate it on an exam. I understand employers are looking for candidates with a variety of technical skill sets, but let's not underestimate the value of a great writer.

    4. ike programmerswho have been forced to work on teams, many writers stillwork alone or with only one or two other writers, and havethus been able to maintain the craftsman attitude. But thisattitude is, in the end, detrimental to their position within acompany and recognition by coworkers

      I can relate to this because everyone's writing styles are different and not everyone on your team has the same prose and you do. This is where the dialectic/dialogic process comes into play where you go back and forth with your teammates, listening to every angle, in order to generate a consensus. Using persuasion to figure out which of the potential "solutions" or "resolutions" are the best and why? This can be difficult when timing constraints and issues are taken into consideration. But the goal in the end is to reach multiple potential audiences without oversimplifying the information.

    5. Weiss (2002) argues that the "artistic impulse" of mostwriters can prove to be the "greatest barrier to productivityand may even compromise the quality of the communica-tion products" (p. 3). Too many writers seem eager to craft"perfect" prose with the writing aspects overriding thecommunication issues inherent in the specific audienceand task.

      I can relate this to the Schryer article "Records as Genre". Writing involves unique talent and creativity that does not always communicate information the most productive way possible. Writers can get caught up in crafting the perfect writing that they forget that it's meant to be utilitarian instead. This is a great example of genre's purpose in tech writing. By identifying what type of document it is (memo, essay, instructions manual, etc.), you are able to follow a set of appropriate guidelines and conventions. Following a set of guidelines or conventions when writing allows for your readers to easily identify what type of document it is and it's purpose is no longer hidden behind fancy prose.

    6. One goal of this specialissue is to help with what Shirk called the "developingawareness of transition from old skills and concepts to newones" by considering both how the field will be affectedbased on the new roles, and which jobs and skill sets willexpand and which will shrink or be rendered obsolete. I

      Tech writing has evolved immensely from generic instruction manuals to now utilizing interdisciplinary skills. It's not just about knowing how to read and write sophisticatedly or eloquently, but you also have to tune and hone your CIS skills as well. Relating this to rhetoric, the key to success here is learning all the sides to tech writing and keeping up to date with all the latest tools in tech in order to be simply good at it.

    7. As Pringle and Williams discuss, we need to think oftechnology as the medium for communicating information,not as a set of tools. The contextual issues surroundingaudience needs and effective communication must drivethe choice and use of technology.

      The medium is the avenue through which the modes flow through. I agree with this statement because we tend to look at technology for its face value but we never go deeper to learn about its components/tools. For example, we know how to use an iPhone but do we know much about iOS? Relating this to our discussion of rhetoric/dialetic process, it is important to know every component, tool, or side used to make up a technology in order to successfully use to its full potential.

    8. nfortunately, I believe thateven some teachers confuse tools with technology. Dream-Weaver is a tool, but all the various Web design tools andhow we use them to construct a Web site comprise atechnology. How to use styles in Word is tool use; under-standing why and how to use styles in a generic sense andrealizing that all major word processing and desktop publish-ing packages support them is understanding a technology

      I understand that technology is constantly developing and its difficult for teachers to keep up to date with the latest tools or softwares and become an enough of an expert themselves in order to accurately teach a class on it. But if jobs are demanding for college graduates to know how to use these tools in order to get the desired job position, than perhaps a class that particularly keeps up to date with tools and technology should be offered. The whole point of college and investing $1000's of dollars on education is to be well taught and prepared in the career that you have chosen.

    9. One issue that needs to be clarified is the differencebetween tools and technology.

      A way to see the difference between tools and technology is that tools such as website developing softwares (including Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop) are used to put together the technology a.k.a. the website.

    10. this expansion, the fundamental methods of deliveringinformation have changed, primarily though use of singlesourcing, XML, and multiple methods of delivery, all ofwhich have increased the need for both collaboration andproject management.

      Tech writing has converted into multimodal technical communication. Modes of writing include: linguistic, gestural, visual, spatial, and aural. Digital media is all of these things at once!

    11. Traditionally, the focus of technical communica-tors has been on writing documents. However, inrecent years, technical communicators have beenwidening their scope and expanding into areassuch as interface and interaction design, information archi-tecture, information design, and usability. I

      As we have discussed in class, tech writing has definitely developed over the past couple of decades and is no longer what it used to be. What once was a field limited to writing instructions and manuscripts has now gone digital and has converted into multimodal communication. Through this, information has been made more user-friendly and accessible to many audiences. Tech writing is certainly no longer limited to just writing itself.

    1. Page 209 "genres are sites for the centrifugal and centripetal forces that struggle to maintain and yet renew discourse practices"

    2. Pg. 208 Bazerman defined genre as "a sociopsychological category which we use to recognize and construct typified actions within typified situations. It is a way of creating order in the ever-fluid symbolic world." I find this definition to be interesting and quite accurate because "social actors" want to run wild when it comes to their art because there are so many subcategories they can immerse themselves in but the information that they're dealing with is so important and vital to society that there needs to be a common language or guidelines that allow for easy interpreting of that information.

    3. Page 208, "Miller realized that if genre were conceived as conventional 'ways of acting together' then the concept did not lend itself to taxonomy 'for genres change, evolve, and decay''

    4. I found it contradictory how Miller wanted "to make of rhetorical genre a stable classifying concept" when the definition of genre has this concept of it being a "in the now" and continuously adapting and changing notion. pg. 208

    5. It's interesting how genre is defined as "reoccurring and in the now" when those who are only currently present in the situation can actually interpret it and give it significance. Pg. 207

    6. Pg. 207 "recurrent, significant, and action reflects key insights into the nature of genre"

    7. Page 207, "a genre represents a series of texts sharing features at the levels of content, form, and style"

    8. Page 206, Smith suggested that textual practices {record keeping} remove from the individuals who use them much freedom of action and expression. Records not only constitute organizations but are also constituted by them and function as mechanisms of control. I find her statement to be truthful because the genre of medical record keeping provides rules and guidelines that prevent doctors from going off tangent which can lead to having a miscommunication (i.e. overlooking certain symptoms) that can potentially lead to serious consequences (i.e. misdiagnose).

    9. Page 205, Record keeping according to Smith "the forms that externalize social consciousness in social practices, objectify reasoning, knowledge, memory, decision-making, judgement, evaluation..." From this I can infer that record keeping is a mode of communication between doctors that has turned into a language of its own.

    10. Physicians and researchers use multimodal modes of communication when studying doctor and patient interactions, such as studying videotaping of these interactions rather than just reviewing the medical records taken during the interactions.

    11. Page 205-206, according to Pettinari, medical records, besides providing a means of communication and planning, actually come to represent patients themselves. I found this statement very interesting and accurate because most doctors review your medical records and identify you by your previous diagnoses, even before they actually meet you face to face. The future of your health essentially depends on how well your doctor comprehends the genre of your medical record.

    12. "the concept of genre, when viewed from rhetorical, dialectical, and dialogic perspectives, can illuminate much of the work and ideology of such textual practices (i.e. medical field)" page 204

    13. Psychiatry, social work, and medicine are powerful communities that affect us all, so therefore there record keeping practices/methods are dire to how shaping our society. For example, if a new method of record keeping came to the discovery of a link between depression and lack of socializing, then that can have a huge impact on diagnosing patients with similar symptoms or even the type of treatments involved.

    14. Page 204, "Why examine record keeping at all? Is the concept of 'genre' an accurate or useful way to theorize about these texts? Is genre a useful way to talk about the ways of speaking and writing characteristic of discourse communities?" When discussing genre, the main purpose is trying to figure out what will work according to certain conventions that you look for to identify what type of document it is. Genre is always in the now, continuously moving. Record keeping is a form of genre that continues to adapt and change according to its purpose or the type of information that is gathered. Especially medical records, because information from patients is constantly updating and being analyzed differently which involves proper organization.

    15. On page 204, Schryer realizes that Dr. L viewed literacy in terms of writing exams but did not see that the keeping of medical records was also a form of literacy. But yet, Dr. L nor other members of the college really knew how much writing their students did. I find this contradictory because how can you claim that your students lack literacy skills when perhaps it's your own fault that they're aren't practicing their writing skills. What if the professors are assigning assignments that don't involve a lot of writing? Dr. L did state that he prefers short answer exams. If the assignments don't involve a lot of writing, then how can professors blame students for their lack of writing? Ironic.

    16. On page 202, Schryer begins to organize his notes using "traditional ethnographic style" while also distinguishing observational ( more fact based) from analytical (more opinionated based) notes. From then he was able to subcategorize those notes (according to specific comments and documents) from which he realized how important medical record keeping was. I found this interesting because there are so many ways a note about a patient can be organized, with each category giving the information a distinctive meaning. So maybe this initial discovery in itself is Schryer expressing or forseshadowing how the organization involved in medical record keeping is related to that of utilizing your literacy skills to compose a report.

    17. According to page 201-202, Dr. L states that he believes his students are lacking literacy skills and that it's especially obvious in their lab reports. He claims that most of their reports lack literacy because they connect key words to each other through drawing arrows instead of actually writing out in sentences how they're connected. I find this notion invalid because learning can be done through multimodal communication which isn't just limited to writing. Using symbols and pictures (like drawing arrows to connect words) are considered to be valid means to communicate a notion.

    18. At the bottom of page 201, the author states that through triangulation, he used a variety of mediums and multimodal communication (i.e. interviews, observation, document collection) to balance and cross reference his sources in order to make this experiment as fair and valid as possible.

    1. Technical communication is multimodal for the purpose of making information user-friendly and accessible to many potential audiences. English in specific is not limiting through just writing, but can be communicated through five modes of writing: linguistic, gestural, visual, spatial, and aural (with the added bonus of tactile as discussed in class). Digital media (medium) is all of these things utilized at once!

      Example of multimodal communication: http://www.bridgeschool.org/transition/multimodal/body_lang.php

  4. Aug 2016