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This is an old revision of ReadingDiagrammaticWritingBJR made by BonnieRobinson on 2018-03-25 08:36:16.


Notes on Diagrammtic Writing by Johanna Drucker

The subscript to the copyright/licensing information right away lets the reader know the content of this book is going to be different. The author is up to something by commenting on the actual text, placement, appearance of the simple copyright info.

The following page is another example of the text representing the content in a way. The two sentences are about the mutual relationship, and these statements are placed side-by-side, in solidarity against the white blizzard of nothingness surrounding them.
The sea of white continues on the next page
whiteness everywhere
again, finding ones way in a blizzard comes to mind. Then, as she wrote, the "defining" words appear - like a beacon of light - even though these words don't really tell us much. The content is lean, but the placement elevates them as important.

Lost again in white. When she begins again, she deconstructs the structure of the very text she's putting on the page. She writes about how we respond to certain stylings - but also how much of this is culturally programmed into the reader. Readers come with certain expectations. Readers from a western culture also feel differently than Eastern readers about things like symmetry and when/how to enter a reading space.

It's interesting how she forces us to remember the text, because of the expectation that it will pick up and continue later on...
The header on page 6 is meant to be ironic, I guess
not sure if that's the word
but the header does not capture the main ideas presented in the paragraph. The paragraph isn't really about how to use headers so much; it's more about conventions used to structure the paragraphs themselves; whereas the header on page 7 (Juxtaposition and (non)Parallelism seems to actually reflect how she's arranged the text on page 7.

The "less important" text she displays in small print on pages 8 and 9 is an interesting arrangement because even though it's not given a place of prominence on the page, the reader still wants to finish the text that was started on page 8 before reading the more prominent paragraph on page 9. I was willing to postpone reading the isolated paragraph on 9 to finish reading the fine print at the bottom.
The aside on page 10 describes exactly what I was feeling ReadingTheWhiteSpace of Islands. A bit of anxiety is induced by blank pages. However, when the reading is an assignment, and the reader has a lot of reading/work to do, the white also comes as a relief because it's one less page of work. So context matters.

Page 11 made me laugh because while we know, as writers, that the page is finite (except in Wikis!!!), we try to do all we can to manipulate the text we want to fill the page. When the writer has much to say, he/she will play around with smaller font sizes to get more content in. When a writer is struggling to meet that page requirement, the fonts will be manipulated another way to fill the space.

Hierarchy is again addressed on page 12. - She points out that visual hierarchy does not always translate to value. As she says, a snark footnote can undercut the argument of a long, sustained text block.

Not sure what's happening on 13. The juxtaposition here is confusing. The visual and textual hierarchies comment on each other. Does she need the footnote at the bottom? What's the purpose of this? I find this strange.. Actually, the aside on page 10 was strange too. I feel like she's telling us what we already know, so is that on purpose? Is this that affirmation Krug says we need when reading? Are we supposed to read her notes and say, "Oh, good. I got that. I'm reading this the "right" way?"

The discussion on page 15 about the function of frames in a textual space - or embedding text is interesting. Krug talked some about whether or not to embed a video or something into a website and the difference between embedding and linking. Drucker's take on embedding is interesting. The frame as protector or captor. Her argument that the size of the font also determines the strength or authority of the text being framed is interesting. Krug discusses the volume of the web page, and I think page 15 kind of speaks to that. Is the framing necessary or is it adding clutter that is distracting and just adding noise.

page 16's discussion of hierarchy and the unfolding of arguments reminds me of Krug's discussion of hierarchies in the early chapter of his book...each level of heading showed a different level of authority, bullets demonstrated supporting details, smaller font size showed further details and it continues to descend until you begin a new topic of importance.

Entanglement... is this like hyperlinking? Is this like tag lines? On the web?

Page 19 also made me laugh because I've seen articles before where a portion of text was made much larger and asserts that portrayal of being very important, but the text that was chosen for this prominent visibility lacked any real substance or any real connection to the article at all. It left me feeling really confused and distracted. I think this ties to Krug because sometimes what the designer wants to emphasize might not make sense to the user. We saw this in class when we looked at specific websites. Many companies over-emphasized one aspect of the website that we thought missed the mark. (i.e. the ski resort spent too much time on promotions and sales rather than promoting the experience they offer, RCTC spent a lot of effort trying to reach too broad of an audience without addressing the critical tasks of their most frequent user. Devoting one whole slide of the slideshow on the mainpage to advertising the open call for applicants for the position of college president was an important process for the college, but this slide only applied to a tiny fraction of visitors to the site. How many visitors paid attention to that slide, thinking it must be important if it's one of the main five slides, only to find out it totally did not apply to them in any way?)

If we're not paying attention, we will fall into the trap of using the conventions to do the work for us rather than actively reading the text for ourselves.

Page 21 demonstrates that as a reader, we are more easily able to adapt and adjust to some changes in conventions more than others. What she does early on the page is unsettling and a little frustrating because it's hard to read linearly. The bottom half of the page is easier to figure out. As a reader, I like using conventions. Anything else is distracting... except when the distraction or the change in convention is really meant to further push the content as in "And by Islands, I mean Paragraphs."

Krug wrote chapter three using visual hierarchy to show what he was writing about. Drucker flips this to show how conventions can be manipulated and/or misused... I'm not sure if this is how I want to say this.

I notice a change in my own reading by 23. When the text is going all the way to the edge (into the "gutters" as she says), I am concerned that I might be missing something. If the text has bled out this far, how do I know some words are not floating out in space someplace?

*Is the footnote on page 23 her main argument? Placed in a tiny footnote at the bottom of a page, hidden, buried in the middle of this lengthy article? I mean, I know the argument is supported and unfolding through the spatial and semantic relationships she constructed, but this little footnote seems very telling.

I liked her argument on page 24, although, I hated reading it. But the concept that as a writer (or a designer... or whatever word we're using), you can support your text or be hostile to it- knowingly or most often, probably, unknowingly. It's an interesting idea.

Her final pages bring up the idea of texts being in dialogue and the myth of having an ending... the most distracting thing about reading this article was I couldn't stop wondering HOW she was able to get the text to break all the rules! What type of programming genius helped with this, or how many excruciating hours did it take her to achieve this layout?

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