I agree with the ideas of these articles. The design of websites, word placement and font style and pictures linked to other pictures is altering the emotional tone and instinct of the reader - maybe into the predators described in the "information foraging" article. Their studies showed that people rarely read web pages word by word; instead, scanning the page, picking out individual words and sentences. Unless I'm "reading" a scholarly article, I defiantly scan. Added, much electronic writing favors the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion in combination with condensed writing style. There is less need for explanation of an idea, rather than proving links to other websites with varying pictures or videos of the same issue. Words are becoming a supplement to information content rather than the substance. But as content display and design is moving further into the realm of visual media, how is this change actually impacting the reader? In a recent article published in Science Daily, studies show humans skills in critical thinking and analysis have declined, while our visual skills have improved due to technologies role in our lives. This shows a lot of support for the technological determinist out there. But the brain is interesting in its information processing. So in order to develop a variety of skills, we need a balanced media diet. In other words, each medium such as static books and flowing e-texts have costs and benefits in terms of what skills each reader (or society) develops. In agreement, I process information better with visual media. However, the article reminds us that most visual media are in real-time - immediacy is great, but is there enough time for reflection, analysis or imagination? I think that it depends on the reader. Growing up, I was right on the cusp of the computer bubble. We didn't have a family computer until I was 13, much less my own until I was in college. While I still processed most of my ideas on screen, the majority of my information was found pillaging books in the library. In my junior year, I began using the internet. I felt relieved that I could get great content, from a variety of sources, without leaving my seat. I certainly didn't miss receiving assistance from the librarian getting lost in the alleys of books. While there is much more information available, I still am still selective in my research. It is the responsibility of the user to look for quality in research, even though expediency is important as well. We do scan web sites, and our learning cues may be shifting to visual from textual. But the reader can still browse and comprehend. Credibility is still important for Web users, since it is unclear who is behind information on the Web and whether a page can be trusted. But now credibility now is associated with high-quality graphics, use of outbound hypertext links and importantly, good witting.
I like pictures
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