Lynch’s Website Style Guide Reading Response

1. Navigating on a website is similar and different than finding your way through a city. They can be compared in these five areas: Paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks. As in a large city, there are no clear directions when searching through the web. You must discover the links and additional pages as you go. However, both towns and websites contain paths. Cities they are streets or trails you follow to get to your destination. On a web page, they are “breadcrumb trails”. These trails show you the paths others have taken to go from point A to point B. In terms of districts and edges, cities have regions, separating themselves by set boundaries. On a website, you cannot tell if and how you moved from one area to the next. The site must be flexible and contain hints as to how you moved across a certain region. Nodes within a website refers to the page’s simplicity. If the viewer finds the site to complex, they will exit out and click the next available option. This is demonstrated through the physical life as well. Restaurants with too many choices make the customer feel overwhelmed. Being labeled as lazy human beings, we like our decisions to be easy and clear. Lastly, landmarks are associated with graphics. These are what keep the viewer interested and entertained. Take the Statue of Liberty for example, tourists visit New York City for this attraction, as viewers click on websites for interaction.
2. The do’s and don’ts of navigation. Do: use clear headings, icons, and links so your viewer can properly search through your website and attribute your page as credible. Don’t: lead your user to “dead-end pages” Correctly place your home page link on each search engine. Make sure this leads to the page you wish your viewers to see first. As mentioned previously, we continue to become more and more lazy as a population. For this reason, it is important to be able to access your web site in as little time and with as minimal effort as possible. Do not construct your website in a complex manner. Have your information be readily available and displayed in a simplistic way.
3. Gestalt theory is a combination of five perception ideas: closure, similarity, proximity, continuation, and common fate. These principles play a role in modern graphic design. Websites are all about the visual aspect. The eyes are attracted to certain elements and fill in the holes when need be. If each of these principles are accounted for in one’s website, it would be easy for the reader to the follow the path in which the developer wishes the viewer would take.
4. Lynch and Horton offer many valuable tips for creating a great website. To have an effective website, they believe you must have a flexible layout. Fixed layouts are known to have issues and are difficult to solve once they arise. The solution is to create a page with a flexible layout and design. Continuing with the flexible theme, using this type of design is advantageous in terms of user-friendliness. These layouts can be easily accessed on multiple devices including computers, iPhone, iPad, etc. This would be a great asset taking into account our hand-held generation. Finally, the authors suggest that you have a clear and predominant logo in the header of your home page. This generally allows the reader to trust the information you provide and consider your page credible.
5. Many individuals, myself included, find reading on the Web uncomfortable. Computer screens generally have a faint glare, making following the words difficult. In addition, having to scroll through several pages gets tiring and repetitive. For this reason, many viewers skim through the information provided and print off such articles if additional reading is required.
6. The inverted pyramid is a way to present ideas. When presenting, the most important points are given first and the least last. The technique embodies the primacy effect, hoping for its readers to remember the information first displayed.
7. In this article, Lynch and Horton mention several habits many individuals have when surfing the web. Some of their major points involve front-loading, staying on topic, using clear examples, positioning key words, the use of titles and subtitles, etc. This entire website embodies what they have preached. It is set up in a way that a reader can find the information they are searching for in a short amount of time by following the bold titles and headings. The information given was concise and relevant throughout the chapters. I understand the language the used and can apply the tips they provided.

Twitterative Designs

Name of News story: Science finds drinking alcohol and energy drinks has same effect as taking cocaine
News event: Tolerance to cocaine
Tweeting on behalf of: The researchers
Objective for the audience: To inform of such discovery

1st Design: Red Bull gives you wings… and a tolerance to cocaine http://fxn.ws/2ffBtqM
Good: Includes energy drink and the topic of discussion
Bad: Fails to mention the mix of alcohol. The energy drink alone does not have this effect

2nd Design: COCAINE TOLERANCE, the effect of caffeinated alcoholic drinks http://fxn.ws/2ffBtqM
Good: Highlights the issue using contrast. Includes the mixture of drinks.
Bad: Doesn’t provide any details about the research or coming to the conclusion.

3rd Design: ENERGY DRINKS & ALCOHOL, a concoction proven to increase cocaine intolerance http://fxn.ws/2ffBtqM
Good: Highlights the main ingredients. Uses proven to hint at a study of some sort.
Bad: Still lacks sufficient information on the actual study

4th Design: RED BULL & ALCOHOL, gave our lab rats not only wings, but also a tolerance to cocaine http://fxn.ws/2ffBtqM
Good: Establishes the use of lab rats in the study, as well as the substances. Play on words with the slogan of a company to keep followers on their toes.
Bad: Drop the term concoction which loses the effect of the mixture of the two. Using only one energy company, may lead followers to believe it is only Red Bull’s drink that causes this.

5th Design: ENERGY DRINKS & ALCOHOL, a concoction that gave Purdue’s lab rats not only a lasting buzz, but a tolerance to cocaine http://fxn.ws/2ffBtqM
Good: Use of concoction to put emphasis on the mixture. Added Purdue to give credit to the researchers.
Bad: No information as to why mice were used instead of human beings.

Twitterative Design

Name of News story: Science finds drinking alcohol and energy drinks has same effect as taking cocaine
News event: Tolerance to cocaine
Tweeting on behalf of: The researchers
Objective for the audience: To inform of such discovery

1st Design: Red Bull gives you wings… and a tolerance to cocaine http://fxn.ws/2ffBtqM
Good: Includes energy drink and the topic of discussion
Bad: Fails to mention the mix of alcohol. The energy drink alone does not have this effect

2nd Design: COCAINE TOLERANCE, the effect of caffeinated alcoholic drinks http://fxn.ws/2ffBtqM
Good: Highlights the issue using contrast. Includes the mixture of drinks.
Bad: Doesn’t provide any details about the research or coming to the conclusion.

3rd Design: ENERGY DRINKS & ALCOHOL, a concoction proven to increase cocaine intolerance http://fxn.ws/2ffBtqM
Good: Highlights the main ingredients. Uses proven to hint at a study of some sort.
Bad: Still lacks sufficient information on the actual study

4th Design: RED BULL & ALCOHOL, gave our lab rats not only wings, but also a tolerance to cocaine http://fxn.ws/2ffBtqM
Good: Establishes the use of lab rats in the study, as well as the substances. Play on words with the slogan of a company to keep followers on their toes.
Bad: Drop the term concoction which loses the effect of the mixture of the two. Using only one energy company, may lead followers to believe it is only Red Bull’s drink that causes this.

5th Design: ENERGY DRINKS & ALCOHOL, a concoction that gave Purdue’s lab rats not only a lasting buzz, but a tolerance to cocaine http://fxn.ws/2ffBtqM
Good: Use of concoction to put emphasis on the mixture. Added Purdue to give credit to the researchers.
Bad: No information as to why mice were used instead of human beings.

“Iterative Design” and “Writing for Social Media” Reading Response

When redesigning his tweet, Mr. Nielson focuses on a similar concept related to our infographics, the 5 second rule. Social media users should be able to grasp the main idea or content of the tweet in a matter of a few seconds. If the announcement or message is too long, viewers will continue to scroll aimlessly, paying zero attention to the company’s post. To accomplish his goal, Mr. Nielson makes several revisions. He first deletes any non-information phrases to shorten the length and avoid lack of focus. However, after removing these introductory phrases, he loses the “news worthy” quality of his post. He wants his viewers to see the value in these conferences. By adding specific dates to the third design, Mr. Nielson believes he has gotten the importance of the conferences across, but he has used too many characters, preventing his followers to comment or leave feedback on his post. For this reason, he replaces phrases with shorter words and condenses the content, finally posting his completed tweet. I agree with all of Mr. Nielson’s changes, but I feel it would have been helpfully if he clearly stated the venues in which the conferences would be held. He presented the cities, but neglected to give the actual venue or location.

According to the Nielson Norman Group user-research, users find several practices to be smart and effective. Viewers want the posts to be simplistic. Social Media is not a complex business forum; it is a creative and easily managed platform. Individuals pay more attention to organizations posts if they consider time, contain significant information, and are relevant to the company. Followers will continually scrolling however, if these habits are not broken: frequent posting, aggressive selling, irrelevant username and logo, and lack of usefulness within the post.

After reading both articles it is clear to see that Mr. Nielson applies his own strategies. He shortens the length of his post to accommodate our accustomed laziness. He focuses on the importance of the message and as he stated “cuts the chit chat”. He took into account the countries and time zones in which his followers were located, thereby posting his tweet according to their schedules. Mr. Nielson used every single “do” in his article and creatively avoided all of the follower’s “don’ts.”

Reading Response: “Some People”

The graphic story is mainly told through its visual elements. If the thought bubbles ceased to exist, much of the story would still be understood. The first few images depict a teenager being picked on by a group of older hoodlums. The main perpetrator then transitions into a sweet, caring grandpa. Along the way, he lost his tormenting nature and became a stand-up citizen. His granddaughter however, grew up to be an inconsiderate mother, unaware of her child’s needs. These stories continue, picking one individual from a scene and displaying their growth. Towards the end, the teenager depicted in the first image is seen in a drunken stupor, neglecting his family. He is beaten up outside of the bar after yelling inconsiderate comments. Without be specifically stated, it is clear to see the teasing during his childhood had an impact on him in his adult life. He drowns his sorrows in alcohol, unable to carry on with his life and support his family. If only the thought bubbles were shown, the reader could not make any conclusive inferences. The images provide emotional and visual cues that could otherwise not be picked up on. This graphic story, while at first seems more informal and geared towards a younger audience, conveys a great message to our society.

Reading Response: Remediation Reads

Content from the 9/11 Commissions Report is displayed throughout the graphic adaptation. Every man from each separate hijacking is drawn out according to data recovered. They are lined up by group and the plane taken over. The graphics then depict the men slipping through security without any major issues. Shortly thereafter, pictures show the graphic hijacking of each plane, as well as the aftermath of both the twin towers and the pentagon. Using images gives the reader a clearer idea of what occurred on September 11.
The graphic novel, unlike the government report, could represent the data through pictures. Readers tend to follow along easier and comprehend more if images are presented. A government report cannot contain these types of pictures due to its formal style. It is meant to present information in a straightforward, statistical manner. An advantage of such a report is its room for statistics and data. Graphic novels have a limited amount of space to include important and supporting data. As previously stated, the main advantage of these novels is the visual aspect. Reports therefore lose some interest of the readers.
Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon used this type of medium to differentiate instruction for their learners. Putting 9/11 into a story format presents the reader with information from a new perspective. Those of us who are visual learners appreciate the use of this format to accommodate the way in which our brains function. It is also a way for younger children to be informed of this tragic day. Their minds may not comprehend the language used in the government report, but at any age they can decipher what is occurring in the images of the graphic novel.

Why Academics’ Writing Stinks Response

1. Outside of universities, the idea is that individuals purposefully create poor essays or other types of writing. They lack common knowledge of their topic, and thereby attempt to incorporate “scholarly” terms to make up for their inexperience or ignorance. Within universities, they believe academic writing is hard to comprehend due to the theoretical and complicated aspects of the material. Pinker’s opinion focuses on the interpretations and descriptions of the topic. He believes some individuals are unable to express their overall message.
2. Pinker points out six obnoxious attributes of the self-conscious style. These attributes include: metadiscourse, professional narcissism, apologizing, shudder quotes, hedging, and metaconcepts and nominalizations.
3. After reviewing the definitions of the self-conscious style, I found that hedging could be detected in my writing. I do not always have a confident tone when writing informative essays. This leads to using words such as so to speak, to some extent, in part, and so forth. I agree that using this language makes the writer seem less credible and less interested in their topic. I believe that metaconcepts and nominalizations can be redeemable. Using words like role, strategy, concept, etc. can be beneficial. When describing someone’s job or position, I believe its acceptable to use the word role. Depending on the context of the situation, a writer can use metaconcepts.
4. When reading another writer’s work, I focus on their relatability to their audience. When reading academic writings, it seems as if the authors do not take into account the individuals they are trying to reach. Authors tend to assume that the reader understands the topic and terms affiliated with it without clarification and specific definitions. This therefore causes the reader to feel ignorant or become disinterested. When key terms are defined properly, individuals feel as if they are more apt to relate to or develop opinions on the writer’s topic and overall purpose.