barton and barton

In this chapter Barton and Barton explore the rhetorical purposes of maps.  Most of the reading was a little much for my attention span but there is some good info in the article. Barton and Barton discuss how maps have been thought to only be used to inform, not persuade. They then spend the majority of the chapter explaining why this is not always true. They discuss 2 conventions that are used in producing maps. These are inclusion and exclusion. These two supposedly used to gain dominance over the people. Inclusion concerns the things that are put on a map and how they are presented. Exclusion on the other hand involves the things that are left out. There are two types, explicit and implicit. It may be that these things aren’t important or that they people making the maps do not want people to know certain information.

When thinking about maps in a rhetorical context and how they can persuade people the first thing that came to my mind was maps of an amusement park. Maps of an amusement park are there to help you find your way around. They also are very graphic oriented. They are built in a way that is designed to get people to the attractions that they want. The rollercoasters are graphically displayed rather than the name just there. I think that these maps do more than just inform. They also persuade the people to want to see more of the park because they are interested in a certain attraction by the way it is represented on the map.


My question is, what if all maps were created like amusement park maps? What kinds of things would you like to see on maps?


Response to Fahnestock

In the article Fahnestock trys to analyze how scientific research is portrayed to the public. This is very important because many of the times the information found during scientific research is very vest and can be complicating for less informed people to understand. In the quote from einstein, he basically talks about how scientific finding are often over the heads of normal people and they need to be dumbed down for them to understand, or they get lost in the reading and proceed to stop. There are three main categories that science is sorted in to regarding persuasive speech: forensic, deliberative, and epideictic. Forensic deals with the findings and the actual facts of the findings, the process, and how they feel it can be applies. Deliberative incorporates the future and how these findings are relevant. Epideictic is focused around the magnitude of the findings. Fahnestock argues that focusing to heavily on epideictic rhetoric can dumb down the information to much and create a void in the information that needs to be portrayed.

Many scientific research these days relies to heavily on the Epideictic aspect of displaying scientific information. They focus on a aspect that is popular in todays society. They leave out key information that may make the article boring and jump to conclusions aiming to garner more of a response from the audience. This form of rhetoric is most popular with the general population because it only incorporates the important and “News worthy” information.

The first thing that came to mind was buzzfeed. The titles and information in articles is often exaggerated to draw more views, but is often not the most informative and many times creates a correlation between 2 things that is not as definitive as the research concludes. This example is shown in an article from buzzfeed.

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My question is, Do you think that the way that scientific research is portrayed helps or hurts the general populations ideas regarding the topic?

Paik and Schraw Response

In todays reading Paik ans Shraw focus on how effective animation is when it comes to learning. They use psychological research to state that animations can hinder learning and cognitive processes. The authors talk about the two kinds of animation, representative and directive. Representative animation is defined as animation that displays how certain things work or how certain things interact. Directive animation uses certain cues like changing color or flashing to direct the attention of the viewer. The authors then use examples of representative animation to explain why they often create an Illusion of understanding. This illusion of understanding happens when the animation used makes the audience over estimate how easy the material is. This makes the learner use less cognitive resources to help understand the material. The authors then go on to describe the study of the Illusion of Understanding. This is where the authors lost me. The content of the material was just to monotoneous for me to really get into. I think that they could have used more examples and less research to help the reader understand why each kind of animation is either helping the audience or hindering their learning. I also think that the researchers didn’t account for the different types of learners. I am a very hands on and visual learner and i really think that animations help me to understand how things work.

The first thing that comes to mind when they state that representative animations usually hurt the audience is Jacob O’neal. He uses animagraphs to help people understand how complex things work and what they are made up of. I think that Jacob uses the animations in conjunction with step by step explanation of the processes to enhance the learning experience. The example that i have chosen is one that we have gone over in class. The animagraph “how a car engine works” is very well done. I think that the processes that happen inside of a motor are very complex. To fully understand how all the moving parts work together to help propel the car down the road i think that animations are a helpful tool for people. Most people aren’t familiar with the inside of the engine, so jacobs rendering of how everything works as well as the text explaining it really compliment each other.


My question is, with all the animation that we are exposed to on a daily basis, do you think that we are programmed to respond to animation in differently to the participants in the study?

Response to Ingold

In chapter 5 Ingold aims to distinguish what writing and drawing are. He states 4 ways that writing and drawing might be distinguished. First, writing is in a notation, drawing is not, second, drawing is an art; writing is not. Third, writing is a technology; drawing is not. Fourth, writing is linear; drawing is not. Throughout the rest of the chapter Ingold aims to define the differences between these gestures. Ingold discusses some history of writing, caligraphy and uses some psychology to help us understand what differentiates writing and drawing. He dives into the history of how writing and drawing became a separate entity with the introduction of technology and states, “you can write with a pen, but you cannot draw with a typewriter.” He then uses Nicolette Gray as someone who says that the same line that writes also draws. These statements describe the conflict that scholars have had in regards to defining writing and drawing.

The idea that i want to focus on is “drawing is an art; writing is not.” I think that this is not entirely true. Sure there are many instances when writing is not art, but there are also many times when the artistry of writing is evident. Ingold talks about how art is movement and uses examples of chinese calligraphy to make claims that the movement of the lines throughout calligraphy makes it more of a drawing than normal writing. The field of “ART” is very broad and with advances in technolgy, has spread even further. There are many instances when i would consider writing an art. The message being written may be just that, writing, but when an artist gives character to each word, each letter, the writing becomes an art form. Take for example Kris Petrat, and artist that I follow. He arranges phrases and gives each word a certain character. In this example he takes the phrase “welcome to the jungle” and creates more than just writing. Each word has its own movement, style, and character. I think that this example of writing is a form of art, just like old chinese calligraphy.


My question is, at what point do you think writing stops becoming a notation and starts becoming an art?

9/30 Readings

These three articles focused on a few different design principles. The first was the visual language of dashed lines. The author also uses examples from psychological research to help us understand why we perceive dashed lines in the way that we do. The three things that help us are proximity, continuity, and that they are preattentive. The author then describes some ways that dashed lines can be used effectively in design. The author states,   “the weakness of the dashed line is its strength.” This holds true in the examples that the author provides.

The second article focuses on split attention and how to avoid it in design. The author starts out by explaining how our brains process information and how the split attention effect, that happens often in infographics, is sometimes hard to process. The author then gives three things to help avoid creating a split attention effect. First, physically position related information together. This means trying to include the information or text with the visual itself. Second, Use an additional modality. This means portray information in different ways like having audio instead of text. Third, Use color coding. This helps the user more easily identify with things that are related.

The third article is about the use of animation in web design and how to use it effectively. This article talks about how to gain or lose a users attention with the use of animation. The author states that peripheral vision is the most attention grabbing and gives examples of a website that is good and one that is bad. The author end by talking about how you do not want to get in the users way with animations. They should aid the user, not create boundaries for them.

The article that was the most interesting to me was the article about the use of animation in web design. I was easily able to identify with this because I come across this sometimes and it can be frustrating when trying to navigate a page. There are also times when the animation is subtle and it flows very well to create an even better web browsing experience. This website uses subtle animation and helps to draw the user in.


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My question is, with all of the information being transmitted due you think that animation has helped or hurt our ability to withhold the information?


Kostelnick part 2

In this reading Kostelnick discusses convention and what he believes qualifies as convention. This article is pretty long so I decided to summarize a part of the reading. The part that i am summarizing discusses Convention vs Invention. Kostelnick discusses what qualifies as convention and what qualifies as invention. Kostelnick says convention entails imitation and reproduction. While invention entails imagination and creativity. He discusses how defining the relationship between convention and invention in design is somewhat hard to do. Certain things have a conventional way of doing them but you can “invent” ways to make it more creative and less reproductive. Kostelnick discusses how designers must pick a certain convention to fit the design of what they are trying to do. He breaks it down into 3 categories. Selection, adaptation, and integration. Kostelnick has an idea that convention and invention go hand in hand. First you must select a convention to follow. From there you need to adapt your convention to fit the audience or ideas that you are trying to portray. Lastly is integration, where kostelnick states, “Effective information design demands the inventive integration of whole sets of conventions, each convention in relation to the others.” This is where convention meets invention. In design, the two rely on each other. You need convention to help your audience relate, and you need invention to captivate the audience.

An example that comes to mind is web design. Many websites that deal with the same things look alike. There is a conventional way of creating websites for certain audiences or for certain content. These conventions help the user to more readily identify with the webpage. They often employ the same margins, header, and display the content in a similar matter. Invention comes into play when the designer employs his own creativity to make the website different from the others. They try to give each website its own personality to separate them from the rest but also remain conventional with the design. This example of can vs fox news shows that while the designers employed the same conventions in design, they also “invented” their own style to create a design that separates them from the others.

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My question is, Do you think that designers often fall into the idea that they need to focus on the convention rather than the invention?

The Rhetoric of Video Games

Bogost opens this article by talking about the video game “animal crossing.” It is a simulator designed around debt and consumer action. He discusses different aspects of the game throughout much of the first half of the article. He then starts to breakdown the “Play” aspect of video games. This is where the article really started to interest me. He discusses why video games have a certain stigma that seems to be childish for adults. Bogost says that people associate the “PLAY” part of games as childish. He suggests adopting Salen and Zimmermans definition of play, “The free space of movement within a more rigid structure.” He then introduces “Possibility space,” which includes all of the gestures made possible by a set of rules. Possibility space is in many things. Bogust goes on to describe how possibility space is present on a childs playground to the artistic movement, Oulipo,  in Paris in 1960. Video games have their own possibility space, that is, they give you decisions to make freely and they affect the outcome of the game. The Rhetoric of these video games provides users with the ability to make decisions based on the information given to them. This interaction between the player and the game is what drives players to achieve more.

I would have to agree with Bogost on the importance of possibility space. There is a certain amount of constraint (rules) that needs to be present to create this interaction and game experience as well as the meaning of the game. Without possibility space there would be no solid interaction, no direction, just an aimless experience. I think that the rhetoric of video games has come under scrutiny in the last decade due to violent games but there are some that challenge the brain and help with problem solving and basic brain function. The game service Lumosity brings the positive aspects of gaming by creating brain games. They have games that challenge the brain and help with memory and attention problems. I think that this is something that people overlook when they think about gaming.

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My question is, Do you think that the introduction of video games has helped us as a society?