Analyzing Visuals March 9th, 2011
Three Primary uses of visuals • Visual as focus • Visual as support • Visual alone & • No visual
Why Take Different Approaches? Some Background
Plato’s Problem Images > Language Language > Writing • Visuals/sight/images are always True • Language could hide Truth • Refined/educated language ≈ the sign of wit and wisdom, but also dangerous power
Sorry Plato… Not everyone sees things the same way… Yes, those are painted. How ironic is this guy?
Some Similarities • Visuals are interpreted through language • Language (and visuals) • show value • “other” • have a certain literacy attached to them
More Similarities • Visuals and text share terms: • composition • subject • object • action • tension • figures • Some people are “visual people” & can’t help but pair language and visuals
Visuals as Arguments • Verbal & visual arguments have requirements • Topic • Sources • Tone • Position • Internal cohesion (consistent terms/position/tone) • Anchored evidence • introduced • referenced • synthesized
Visual as Support vs No Visual Visual as Support No Visual • Concepts are difficult to imagine • Concepts are best served with visual evidence • Audience (maybe) reading quickly • Audience (maybe) more attracted to visuals • There is no space for visuals • The concepts are simple or easy to visualize • The concepts are too abstract for visuals
Visuals of Support: 2 types Anchored Unanchored • Visuals are integrated into the text • Visuals are discussed • e.g. “As the chart in Figure 1 shows…” or “Republicans are known for conservative spending practices (Figure 1)” • Visuals are not discussed in text • Language and visuals, although focused on same topic/subject, are not explicitly linked • Visuals can be more difficult to connect to text
Concepts Are Difficult to Imagine “Black holes are avaricious negative spaces, in outer space” Black holes, avaricious, and negative space can be confusing if not entirely impossible to imagine
Concepts are best served with visual evidence “Yakuza are Japanese gang members that have their entire bodies tattooed” “Their entire bodies” isn’t 100% accurate, the visual here shows the full meaning and how it is a symbol of belonging.
Audience Has Limited Attention… You have 7 seconds (that’s pretty standard) to analyze the next visual...ready?...
So? • What is the title? • What is the purpose? • What are the major symbols? • What is the ideological framework?
Audience More Attracted to Visuals... Some audiences simply gravitate more toward (meaning they want more) visuals than text…
No Place for Visuals • No space for visuals • Publishers or standards won’t allow visuals • Medium does not support visuals
Simple or Easily Imagined Concept • Simple concepts • Eating • Sleeping • Walking • Running • Sitting • Easily Imagined Concepts • Flying • Sailing • Cycling
Too Abstract of a Concept • When explaining the visual would take more time then explaining the concept itself or when the visual would be too complex to realistically process • Evolution • Making a difficult decision • Succeeding on a test • Facebook connections in Lubbock
Map of Time in Inception Good? Bad? What is your analysis?
GOOD article on Scrabble Appropriate? Too much? What do you think?
How Important is That Visual? Does it lend to your understanding of the article? How does it contribute to the author’s argument?
Measuring the Information Society Let’s see how the technical communicators do…
Cognitive Strategies for Learning from Static andDynamic Visuals Another tech comm text
Fun Ones Making the fun, funner!
Brief Assignment 6 Due Tuesday, March22th
Answer one of the following in a 300-500 word essay • Read "The Politics of Cohabitation" on pg. 411-418 of First-Year Writing. • Joy Van Marion uses four visuals, which are intended to provide strong support for her argument. Which visual is most strongly "anchored" in the text: Table 1, 2, 3, or 4? • In other words, which visual does Van Marion provide the most reference to in the text in using it to support her argument? • How might she have better anchored the other visuals to provide stronger support that is clear to the reader, rather than a vague implication which is left up to the reader to draw for himself or herself? • Be sure to support your decision with solid, logical evidence from the text. • Read "Unmarried with Children" on pg. 422-426 of First-Year Writing. • Though this article details the results of a study, Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas do not use any visuals to explain their findings. • Why might they have chosen this rhetorical effect? • What effect does their decision not to use visuals have on the reader? • Be sure to support your discussion with solid, logical evidence from the text.