Web editing

Readings

Week 11/15-23 (till Thanksgiving break)

Rude Chapter 21

Beyond Gutenberg

Writing for the Web Versus Writing for Print

Week 11/29-12/7

Information architecture

Integrating textual and pictorial information via pop-up windows

The effect of language inconsistency on the web

Information Interplay: Visual Design, Information Architecture, and Content

Discussion questions (these continue for the rest of the class)

Week 11/15-23 (till Thanksgiving break)

3.

What makes web editing different from print-based editing? How much does it really effect an editor's job? How is an editor's job different? In other words, what additional tasks/skills do you need, if any?

Week 11/29-12/7

1.

Many technical editors are print oriented: after all, the reason people become "wordsmiths" is because they have grown up with the warm and fuzzies of language, and that in most of our cases means language inscribed in print.

It becomes difficult for us -- especially the older we are -- to reacclimate ourselves to words managed in ways other than inscibed in ink on paper. Consider how many people view printed words. They say, and mean quite literally, that they like to "smell the ink" or "feel the paper." They present all sorts of reasons why the computer screen is cold, lifeless, hurts the eyes, is a toy for kids, can't be read in the bathtub, and so forth.

The problem is, there is a generational wave coming upon us who think differently about the book, who see it as "dead, dull, and clunky," If you grew up with text on a computer monitor, and a dozen alternative ways of getting information than the printed page, the whole mechanism of books, turning the page, etc., is as romantic as turning a handcrank on a telephone (something my grandmother told me she really missed with modern telephones).

What are your feelings about this upcoming need for "digitally structured" editing, which has some strong shifts from what we usually think about as "writing"?

2.

What is the relationship of editing, writing, and information architecture? Where does the editor fit into the process?

3.

A common arguement in the TC academic world is that as long as the student learns to write clear prose (and we can include edit in that defintion of write), then they have been taught what they need to know. If this a valid arguement? What does it mean to write clear prose? And how does clear prose fit into the need of writing and editing technical information in the current real-world work environments?

Comments

1.Nielsen argues that people read slower on a monitor. While this is still sort of true, as the displays get better that difference is going away. The 50% slower figure used the old monochrome monitors (anyone remember those). Research with special video drivers and monitors set for 300 dpi found the same reading speed as paper. With the 96 dpi of a modern monitor, the difference is much closer to paper reading speed.

2. Multiple authors mention that

Even if writers work within a linear structure where the words are written first and decisions about format and design happen after the copy is finalized, this is not the way that readers approach texts. Readers do not separate content and design; they experience them simultaneously. Content, format, and design work together to create a complete package for readers.

This is a serious problem with many design situations. The designers fail to remember that they are not the audience. The team starts to design for them and design for team politics, rather than for the readers. It's a forest and trees thing.