Visual Rhetoric: Constructing and Analyzing Readability of Text and Image

By Elizabeth Kirk and Jean Kiekel.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

One of the most important tools for communication, the Internet, is rapidly becoming more image- than text-oriented. Scholars must proceed in evaluating readability of both text and images on educational websites. These scholars must have good visual memory and strong intuitive-associative thinking skills (Eshet-Alkali & Amichai-Hamberger, 2004). Images should no longer be reduced to a discussion of verbal grammar (Dondis, 1973) or idealizing and praising images as holistic truths (Mitchell, 1986). Scholarship is beginning to correct this dichotomizing tendency, by intertwining how we construct and analyze text and image for a particular reader, at a particular time in history, implementing visual rhetoric (Hocks & Kendrick, 2005). This paper explores how rhetoric is now synonymous with the term communication (Foss, 2004; 2005), and is a mode of pedagogy that can be used as a tool for, and subject of, classroom pedagogy. This way of thinking is important, as visuals are quickly displacing the linguistic in social importance (Ott & Dickinson, 2009), especially in the design of websites on the Internet.

Keywords: Visual Rhetoric, Readability, Design, Images, Text

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.361-376. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 636.903KB).

Dr. Elizabeth Kirk

Assistant Professor, College of Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA

My research interest is in visual literacy. Currently, I am interested in two areas of visual literacy research; I am concentrating on readability of educational websites and professional development in arts integration. Scholars must proceed in the evaluation of the readability of both text and images on educational websites, because the Internet, is rapidly becoming more image- than text-oriented. Although this research endeavor is new, the researchers have already been invited to present the research at an international conference, and have been assigned a research assistant for the spring 2010 semester. Research is clearly needed to address thin areas of research that have been conducted in professional development in arts integration in literacy research. I worked as the lead researcher in developing policy for the professional development in the integration of the arts in the curriculum. A paper is under review regarding this topic with the American Educational Research Association.

Dr. Jean Kiekel

Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA

My area of research interest is related to educational technology and integration of technology in the classroom. At this time, I am very interested in the readability of educational websites, the use of web 2.0 tools in the classroom, and creating community in an online classroom. I am currently the chair of an ISTE special interest group for innovative learning technologies and am working diligently to disseminate information related to technology in the classroom. As an educator, it is important to understand the factors that encourage students to be successful in the classroom. All educational materials must be understood by the learner in order to accomplish educational goals. The researchers have discovered this is an area often overlooked by instructional and web designers of educational multimedia. We have already been accepted to present this research at an international conference.


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