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===Reading and Writing the Electronic Book - Catherine C. Marshall===
- We all have deeply held stereotypes about the nature of reading. This certainly rings true for me, I have often felt as Gass here feels, that there is an inherently romantic, tangible pleasure in reading printed material. However, this past year, given the busier schedule of a Graduate Student, I have found that paperless reading can be a more accessible substitute, and can offer many of the same, if not a few additional, pleasures, while still being non-corporeal.
- The way a reading medium is designed is directly related to the expectations and assumptions that are associated with a certain type of reading act. This seems to fit with Krug's purposes quite nicely. We should design web pages with the preset expectations and conventions in mind.
- Interesting point that all reading shares essentially the same attributes. Whether on screen or in a paper text, one can be mobile (as I am now, moving between the text on paper and my writing on this screen), interactive (I am a notorious annotator), and social (again I am viewing this specific text through the inherently social lens of this class).
- I'm not sure I'm completely on board with this idea that reading as a concept has a material quality. Perhaps she means that a laptop is no less physical than a book, and only lacks the integrated historical implications that a book-as-artifact holds. What do we call audiobooks then?
- This idea of researching the purposes of reading seems to put a stick in Krug's bicycle. Krug represents the online reading experience as generally, perhaps universally predictable. He gives us the shopping metaphor to show how online use is essentially goal oriented skimming. This may be for the sake of his more business oriented readers, but it does ignore online readers who are reading to learn, reading for the answers to questions, reading to critically review, reading to engage in conversation or duscussion etc. While it may be too complex and impossible to design webpages that engage //every// kind of reading expectation, there is something to be said for looking beyond the idea of universal online readerships or the ideal online user as Krug sees it.
- Marshall spends a long time...a really long time discussing the minutiae of design choices that affect reading. Krug might say this is all a waste of time, belaboring over whether serifs will make the information more accessible to users.
- I'm not quite sure how to take this piece. In light of Krug's material, do I see these instructions and researches as the mindless designer busywork that gets in the way of focusing on basic usability. As in, do web page designers need to be aware of readability factors in order to make their site maximally usable?
- In terms of ebooks I can see how these issues are important. Marshall here seems to agree with Krug in that the basic online reading experience is more effective as a short-term tool. However Marshall pursues the line of inquiry whether it is inherent in the idea of virtual media, or if there are certain things about the technology that could be changed in order to make the reading experience just as effective in the long term - ie reading a novel or textbook.
- Personally, I do find paper reading, especially critical reading, to be more efficient and effective with a paper medium. Perhaps I have not experimented enough with digital media, but I do not think there is a program that would allow be to highlight, underline, make marginal notes, circle, and star portions of text with the speed, dexterity, and most importantly, unobtrusiveness of pencil and paper.
- I also think this sheds an interesting light on Krugs notions of spatial awareness in web design. In a physical book, you are being constantly reminded/rewarded with movement through the text. Each page turned is an accomplishment, an act of movement, one can feel the amount of information gained, and the amount yet to be gained. While scrolling a webpage, as a user, there is a sense of overwhelming when one seems to be scrolling indefinitely, the user can lose the sense of there being a goal, thus perhaps affecting performance in reading. Marshall says here that statistically, this page versus scroll debate has not been conclusive, but as an individual, I think I know how I read more efficiently. Put perhaps that is my preconceived notions of what to expect from virtual text experiences showing through.
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