With Wright's Words.com, the questions of taxonomies and hierarchies are barely relevant; again, my site promotes my professional skills and works. I need to focus, step-by-step on improving WrightsWords.com.

The key questions, as Lee-Ann has mentioned, are "which are the best ways to market or promote my skills and me?" She has emphasized the importance of headings. I suspect that my complex ambitions for WrightsWords.com - a bolder and more graphical site redesign - distract me from dealing with the simpler questions of most useful headings.

Maybe I'm afraid of falling into these kinds of errors.

When I steal the time, and invest the energy, to amp up my site, I look at the whole of my homepage; it is difficult to concentrate on simple details like headings when I feel that the use of images is also important. Pages that merely present text bore audiences.

I do not yet know why I'm dragging my feet on this; why I am making this into toil. ...I suppose that, once I ask myself which heading would probably interest readers the most, and at least start from there, then I could consider the more complex ambitious. I think I need to go back to the question of info chunks. Chunks.

For some reasons that I don't yet understand, my brain hasn't yet gelled around a clear or concise list of how I will improve WrightsWords.com's writing. Prof. Breuch has raised an interesting question about placing the copy of my home page above the fold, but that raises yet another question: which fold? Different screen sizes and different browsers show a very different amount of copy.

This question is as frustrating as the one that I keep asking about my own procrastination. I may be overthinking this. As I reconsider my web copy, I also consider WrightsWords' style and format; as in the way the copy is presented.

The one easy and small experiment I can do is to remove my headshot from the left-hand margin. That would bring the web journal "best of" links higher - further into the upper fold, even though it's not a newspaper.

Since Friday, I've been procrastinating about moving the links for my audio slide shows, to my radio portfolios, and to my print work onto one page, instead of two. After doing that, I will either tweek or outright rewrite the copy for that page. Plus I'll probably use images and links in even more conscious and tactical ways to frame the copy.

Headlines are the furthest topics from my mind in this! I suppose that's because my professional site is more specific than other students' examples. None of my pages boast so much copy that they need to have more than one heading. As for images, I want to use them, again, more consciously and to help me more tactically. They are on the page to complement or cooperate with the text, not simply to break up the visual area.

In Yale's style guide, under info architecture:

"There are five basic steps in organizing your information:
1. Inventory your content: What do you have already? What do you need?
2. Establish a hierarchical outline of your content and create a controlled vocabulary so the major content, site structure, and navigation elements are always identified consistently;
3. Chunking: Divide your content into logical units with a consistent modular structure;
4. Draw diagrams that show the site structure and rough outlines of pages with a list of core navigation links; and
5. Analyze your system by testing the organization interactively with real users; revise as needed."

These style guidelines represent just one set that I should use as I redesign my site. I have been running over ideas in my head about the ways, both subtle and blunt, about how I want to improve the content and how effectively it attracts visitors.
I am deliberating on Ms. Redish's advice about thinking more in nuggets than in chapters. My latest conclusions are to use, first off, topic points instead of paragraphs in some place and second off, use images to break up the copy.

I feel like there are enough potential improvements to consider that it's hard to keep them straight or dwindle those down. I just want to ensure that WrightsWords.com attracts news editors, news directors, and hiring managers who seek my kind of journalist.

I have begun to ask myself to what extent I need to reformat the home page to appeal to, no more than three different groups of audiences. Like my future news editors, future peers, and hiring managers.

Well, as I have "said" in other media and about other media, before anyone may perform at a competent or professional level, they must think about what they will do and the various technical and performative levels of their performance. I have nothing pleasant to say about the idea of executing or delivering a project without having done that.

If you want to deliver something that will please you, that will earn respect and praise, or open more opportunities, then you must first write those ideas, and then practice them.

Before you see a project or a production that deserves a discerning or intelligent audience, it has been through typical stages of pre-production, production, and post-production. Each of these demands written technical and artistic plans. I know that there are many people who, for many reasons and motivations, are uninterested in the toil that this entails; that is fine. I will probably ignore their work.

I would ignore this young man's piece for several reasons.

Amateurism is wonderful as a process or stage for young people who are experimenting with artistry or creativity as they learn about and define themselves. The word is about doing something for the love of it; this does not naturally translate to professional-level quality.

Richard Roeper explicitly intends for a mass audience to watch this, even though the audio quality is mediocre at best.

There are many ways o argue that writing either is or is not different from video. The key argument may rest in the central one of whether the piece is made solely for the love of the craft or as an experiment, or whether it is meant as a professional entré.

There seem to be many, many sites or portals that are confused about what their pages should have vs what those pages should direct people to. They have made their audiences confused.

For me, the most embarrassing fact is that my professional site, WrightsWords.com, is among those; this, even though the latest iteration is much clearer and more effective than the prior one.

Of course there are other sites that want for help. RealClearPolitics.com's form and content are a problem: It is red. Everything seems to be Red! They want people to read, but while their site is almost exclusively a path page, who in the heck would want to stay on the page long enough to reason past the overly vibrant colors. That issue makes it hard to consider other design crises.

The home page vs path page question presses one to ask which is each page's purpose and at least as important, what will the audience expect, and what will we provide?
The answers to these or the context is complicated or informed by the fact that many sites have different foci. I could cite another large, mainstream, commercial website, or portal as an example, but I have my own. Literally my own site.

While it basically fulfills its purpose, I think that it still leaves questions about whom my audience is. WrightsWords.com has few pages; most of them are about information, not paths to links. I need to reformat the copy, but I also need to decide which audience - whom I want - coming to each page. I need to take an evening or more to peruse "Writing without Words" and consider a list of form and content concerns or questions that I have as I revise and upgrade my site.

Well, I think that a "60-Minutes" segment already argued that google's system for searching is inefficient (unfortunately, I have not yet found that darn link); the idea of having to sift through hundreds or thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of search results defines absurd.

Stanford University produced an interesting talk: "Aurora: Envisioning the Future of the Web"

But I am supposed to consider how I read on the web, not how I must sift through information in order to find that which I want to read.

We have to forage, if we're to find or learn what we need. That might raise the question of how we read a web page. I do not know if I am a linear or multi-linear reader on the web; I had not considered the question. I know that I read and that I have certain biases toward traditional reading practices or methods.
"Reading on the Web" makes an analogy between humans and animals...which, while strange and awkward, is reasonable. Scientists sum us up as animals; we are simply an advanced species (having opposable thumbs and capable of rational thought).

I may be too ardent of a late-adopter of a tradition-minded reader to, first off, notice which type of reader I am and, second off, to be convinced yet that the difference interests me. But it occurs to me that I am certain that I use a mixture of those reading methods.

It is interesting that with the advent and creeping popularity of digital books, the habit of reading is circling back toward the beginnings where Bolter acknowledges, at the bottom of page 77, that they were blueprints for speeches and performances. "The writing on the roll served as a script, to be consulted when memory failed." Literacy was rare and elite. The papyrus rolls were not intended to be enjoyed within an icon of an archetypical fireplace, hot cocoa, and picaresque view of snow falling. It is interesting to notice that reading and literacy might've been understood differently before books become those that we know.

I must wonder how the feeling of "closure" will change - how readers, designers, or publishers will redefine that. Just as our cultural and educational sense of the "book" has changed, certainly its format will change and threaten or encourage both early and late adopters alike. I have too little understanding of the history of a leisure reading culture to dare to make a forecast about whether the "book" will persist. It might simply be a grand question of how our culture decides to redefine it. As long as we still desire to read, books will be.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's show, "Q TV," a televised radio show (dig that), has a conversation on YouTube with "rock star" book cover designer Chip Kidd. He's with Knopf and boasts 1,500 designs. He observes the phenomenon of and critiques the e-book's popularity, particularly the Kindle. While discussing the revolution or imminent realities of a Kindle(d) world, he offers a forecast based on the omens that he has observed.

Frankly, his insights and experience are far better equiped to respond to the magic ball kind of question of where books will be in two years, five years, and beyond.

If we depart from tactile books, this man, among many others, would need to redefine his career.

Here is an "Art of the Book" panel of book jacket designers

The articles from "Forbes magazine" and "The Atlantic Monthly" reflect many historical, cognitive, and intellectual questions that I have been mulling in my head for a while. I fear the slippery dispassionate slope that allows people to ignore the pleasure of leisure reading. I am stubborn, convinced that the electronic method for reading is routinely is a pale, less human version of the traditional, tactile experience. I did not know where I could air those thoughts without being sneered at as an elitist.

The question of determinism reminds me of the elementary argument about nature vs nurture that happens in the Eddie Murphy movie "Trading Places!" The scene may have implied a generational division. I could not find the excerpt on YouTube! I doubt that any sure wisdom is gained from that argument or the theoretical contest about which literacies or oralities are the most valid or valuable.

YouTube provides a brief summary of the debate over nature vs nurture.

One of the bottom-line questions that I foresee addresses the question of a generational or even epochal division over this question. The elders continually lament that the youth ignore their wisdom, or is sure it knows better than they. How does this element affect the determinist rhetoric? While determinism plays a part, taking the puzzle piece apart changes too much of the "real" picture and its accuracy.

There is an interesting and readable article, "Engagement with media: Shaping and being shaped," by Daniel Chandler for Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine in February 1996.

That technological seduction lays in many forms: Peer pressure. Ever present publicity and advertising about grandeur of gadgetry. But these, except for the peer pressure, are abstract. They are absent of a human touch - a social connectedness, or relevance, or resonance. We are each sentient, smart, and capable of deciding whether we miss or do not miss the experience and pleasure of sitting for an hour or more and reading for pleasure. Still, technology's pull and seductive power looms.

"Glut: Mastering Information Though the Ages" at Fora.tv is in-depth while veering beyond our topic, but still interesting.

These questions yearn for through and thoughtful responses that cannot be contained within 300-words!

Thinking of - or wrapping my brain around - technologies as "methods for arranging verbal ideas in visual space." I find it to be esoteric and overly abstract. These ideas are hard to absorb. Other sources of reflection are merciful.

One point that I did understand and appreciate: It was really cool to see that the oral poet is a writer, "who writes exclusively in the minds of the audience;" imagine writing inside someone's mind! That dazzles. So much so that some of that prospect just swoops over my head. The images inspire me when I can handle them.

But let's consider very briefly the intense depth and breadth of the history that Bolter presents. The hand-writing on papyrus is as different as the way the plates [or whichever] of the Gutenberg press struck knowledge on to that era's paper. Those are as different as how we though tof the dot matrix printer, and now the electronic books. In one sense I think that having gone from scrolls, to museum piece books that were practical pieces of art, to publishing on a web journal or a web presence radically revises how the audiences understand and appraise information and knowledge.

The next generation of tools usually does or is supposed to keep the best applications from the original while making innovations on them. Innovations that serve the audiences in ways that the original could not and had not anticipated.

This Bolter reading is doing a great job of bending my mind and how I think of both rudimentary and advanced concepts of self-expression.

How does one consider the history contained in the differences between papyrus and an e-book?

"Lectures on modern European intellectual history," has an image of the Gutenberg press.

And there's this that shows writing on papyrus.

Perhaps the need for these questions is at least in-part an issue of how we are raised to believe reading or writing should occur? And then one is asked if he or she can adapt to the great changes in what they were taught was "the way" to do that. How have different and disparate generations asked themselves and responded to those questions?

I am reticent to refer to evolution; the word is only occasionally well-used. But the dramatic innovations in these different methods of literacy, reading, writing, and orality have defined our conceptions of knowledge, information, and their cultural definitions. And in the end, they have just as dramatically revised those same concepts and experiences.

This "Implications of Hypertext Theory for the Reading, Organization, and Retrieval of Information" investigates these intense topics deeply.

With these questions in mind, how does one contend with questions of poverty, status-centric literacy, and generations-old & implicit assumptions of whom ought to have the "right" to literacy. I haven't the time to consider how this equals power, except to pose this last point.

Poor people of color are still indoctrinated with bigoted premises about their natural potentials. Well, the "church" did that with arguable pleasure when it controlled those prior mentioned staples of cultural identity and status, before mechanized printing became normal.

Recent Comments

  • Lee-Ann Breuch: I would disagree that structure is not relevant for your read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: Hi Will, I think you are right about your copy--it read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: I think your page will work great for this final read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: You have hit upon a really important debate and issue read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: You've included two interesting sites here. Yours is not so read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: You make a good comment that it is difficult to read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: These are great observations about the book, its present and read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: You offer some great sources to further consider in this read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: Hi Will, Great job reflecting on the readings for this read more

Recent Assets

  • tru_key_h.jpg
  • library-3.jpg

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.