Reading Response: Lynch & Horton’s Web Style Guide chapters 4, 7 & 9

Be careful with this reading as there are multiple pages to each chapter. You have to "turn to" each "page" by clicking on its link in the "Chapter Contents" box in the top-right corner. 

Between the three chapters, there are 18 pages total. You should peruse all of chapter 4 on "Interface Design," all of chapter 9 on "Editorial Style" and all of chapter 7 on "Page Design" except for the pages on Document Design, Page Frameworks, and Page Width and Line Lengths--those are super-interesting but a little too technical and beyond the scope of what we'll be doing in Project 3 with our WordPress sites.

Chapter 4, “Interface Design”

1) How is navigating a web site similar to finding your way around a real, physical, geographical place–like a city? How is it different?

2) Consequently, what are some best practices for aiding users in navigating through your web site? What are some no-no’s?

Chapter 7, “Page Design”

3) What, in a sentence or two of your own paraphrasing, is gestalt theory? How does it apply to visual rhetoric?

4) What are some best design practices that Lynch and Horton recommend for creating effective, trustworthy, user-friendly web pages?

Chapter 9, “Editorial Style”

5) What’s one reason many people find reading on a computer uncomfortable?

6) What is the inverted pyramid that journalists abide by?

7) In this chapter, Lynch and Horton discuss ways that writers can accommodate the habits of online readers. How do they practice what they preach?


Reading Response: “Twitter Postings: Iterative Design” and “Writing for Social Media”

The first two questions deal with the first article (“Twitter Postings“), the third question deals with the second article (“Writing for Social Media“), and the fourth covers both articles.

1) In redesigning his tweet, what is Mr. Nielsen’s overarching concern? In other words, he redesigns so that his tweet is…what?

2) Describe some of Nielsen’s revisions. Which revisions had the greatest impact on the quality of the tweet? Were there any revisions you disagreed with?

3) According the Nielsen Norman Group’s user-research, what are some of the best practices for businesses wanting to communicate with clients through social media? What are some no-no’s?

4) How does Mr. Nielsen practice what he preaches?

Reading Response: Why Academics’ Writing Stinks

1) What’s the popular explanation outside universities for why academics suck at writing? What’s the popular answer within universities? In Pinker’s opinion, however, what are the two major contributors to the poor quality of academics’ writing?

2) Pinker names six obnoxious attributes of the “self-conscious style.” What are they?

3) Are you prone to any of these attributes in your own writing? Why? Do you think some of these attributes might actually be redeemable?

4) What do you value most in another writer’s style?

Reading Response: Dirk’s “Navigating Genres”

1) Before having read Dirk’s essay, how would you have defined “genre” and what examples of “genre” could you offer? Did you ever think of genre as something useful?

2) After reading Dirk’s essay, how would you re-define “genre”? Could you work these words into your definition: situation, purpose, location?

3) Try creating a metaphor or a couple of metaphors to help explain genre. “Genre is a ________.” How is your metaphor a useful way to explain what genres do?

Reading Response: “The Future of Food Production” and “What’s Eating America”

  1. In what ways do these authors create an ethos of reliability in their reporting?
  2. What genre features of reports do you see at work in these essays? How do the writers use them to their advantage? Are any genre features under-utilized?
  3. Though we’re looking at these essays by Forman and Pollan as reports, there are also arguments implicit in them. What do Forman and Pollan want you to do or think differently after you read their work? How does their mixture of reporting and argument compare with what you’re tasked with doing in your Mapping the Problem Essay?

Reading Response: “Plagiarism: A Misplaced Emphasis?”

Besides 1 and 5, the questions below are basic comprehension questions. I think you can answer nearly all of them in 300 words total.

1) What have you previously learned about plagiarism? What is it? Why is it bad? How should you avoid it?

2) What are the five types of “normal” plagiarism that Martin describes?

3) Why do students plagiarize? What reasons does Martin offer?

4) What is Institutionalized Plagiarism and how is it different from Competitive Plagiarism? What are some examples of Institutionalized Plagiarism?

5) Toward the end of his essay, how does Martin say we should treat plagiarism?