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About Face: Considering Usability in E-published Works Literature Review Katie Blake 2012

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About Face: Considering Usability in E-published Works Literature Review, Katie Blake 2012

Leu, D.J., Jr., Kinzer, C.K., Coiro, J., & Cammack, D.W. (2004). Toward a theory of new literacies emerging from the Internet and other information and communication technologies. In R.B. Ruddell, & N. Unrau (Eds.), Theoretical models and processes of reading (5th ed., pp. 1570-1613). Newark, DE: International Reading Association. http://www.readingonline.org/newliteracies/lit_index.asp?HREF=leu/ •

“Today, reading, reading instruction, and more broadly conceived notions of literacy and literacy instruction are being defined by change in even more profound ways as new technologies require new literacies to effectively exploit their potential-.” This article, though focused on the trends of reading instruction in a K-12 environment, discusses the fact that we, “-lack a precise definition of what new literacies are-.” The authors are acknowledging that within a multimedia environment (especially one driven by internet technologies) a definition problem may continue as there is almost constant change in this field. Exploring briefly literacy history, they focus on the written word. The authors however clearly understand that the ability to comprehend content is only part of the entire toolbox available and used by a writer to, “-to present one’s message-.” For example they point out that “-in an electronic environment, decoding for comprehension includes decoding the strategic use of color-,” to indicate things like access to maps or other pertinent websites, an easy example of this is when a hyperlink is blue whereas the other text is black. The overarching point of the article is that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) require both the usual definition which is one can read text but also that text is affected by its environment, its media packaging.

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About Face: Considering Usability in E-published Works Literature Review, Katie Blake 2012

Michael Ann Holly, Mark Ledbury, Douglas Armato, Susan Bielstein, Andrew Brown, Roger Conover, Vivian Constantinopoulos, Stephanie Fay, Herman Pabbruwe, Catherine M. Soussloff and Ken Wissoker, “Art History and its Publishers,” Art Journal 65, no.4 (winter, 2006): 41-50. •

Though this is a transcript of a conversation (grey literature) the authors discuss how they see publishing art. Since most on the panel are print model-based publishers it is important to see how they understand their purpose with regards to the book’s content, the author(s)’ meaning as they package the work. They discuss print vs multimedia (web based) publishers of art saying, “we actually sell two things: ideas and objects. The web is perfect for distributing the first of those; the web is much better than a printed book to distribute ideas. But we also make beautiful physical objects, and the web can never replace that.”(p.47). Since the publishers in some respect are in it together in terms of finding a balance in the print vs e environment while maintaining a sustainable company; it is clear they are as much students of publishing as they must also be of the subjects they choose to execute products on. One speaker noted, “Someone once said that the best editors are the authors of their authors- framing, shaping, conceiving, commissioning, and creating lines and encounters between books rather than merely processing manuscripts.”(p.42)

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About Face: Considering Usability in E-published Works Literature Review, Katie Blake 2012

Philippe Codognet, "Ancient Images and New Technologies: The Semiotics of the Web," Leonardo 35, no. 1 (2002): 41-49. • In this article Codognet wants to “-develop an analysis of computer-based communication on the World Wide Web, where images, texts and hypertext links interconnect and mutually refer to each other.” He tackles the historic power of image and binary language. Noting such factoids as that the Jesuits seemingly considered pictures to be a sort of ‘universal language’. (p.44) He lists three strands of indices which represent different levels of reference for images: 1.autoreferntial ; 2. Descriptive ; and 3. Narrative. The last being arguably the most complicated as it (the image) could point to part of the story as much as add in further information (i.e.-a version of modern hyperlinking). However the importance of print based images, he suggests the when part of a website, the author of the page be mindful of their history, especially to the idea that, “-a sign has to be recognized as such, i.e. the index has to exhibit itself as a reference.” Homogenized or standardized symbols or images offer meaning that a web-literate person will not have to puzzle out, such as icons for the ‘home’ page or a little envelope for email. The article is meant to point out modern day recognition of indexical referencing has not changed regardless of the technologies used to disseminate.

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About Face: Considering Usability in E-published Works Literature Review, Katie Blake 2012

Scott Nicholson, “Digital Library Archaeology: A Conceptual Framework for Understanding Library Use through Artifact-Based Evaluation,” The Library Quarterly 75, No 4 (Oct., 2005): 496-520. •

Much like Nicholson’s note that much can be learned from the artifactual leavings of users (think Google analytics) on any given site, one should consider what the users are in fact alighting upon and spending time at when using their site, not just what the site creator’s original intentions were. The article considers how archeology is not just the collection of materials; rather, that “-archeology is the interpretation of the meaning behind those materials.” Though the article is specific to evidence of library use, Nicholson’s examination of ‘bibliomining’ covers several types of archeology such as: 1. Item specific; Context based; and Prediction. These he postulates establish generalizations about the user and their interactions with the resources of the library be they physical or digital. The idea being that as such patterns are distinguished, services and resources can help to build a kind of system which pairs practical, evidence based information with hypothetic or forecasting for a better, more successful user experience.

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About Face: Considering Usability in E-published Works Literature Review, Katie Blake 2012

Nielsen, Jakob, “Scrolling and Attention,” (March, 2010) http://www.useit.com/alertbox/scrolling-attention.html •

http://www.useit.com/jakob/

Nielsen has been conducting web usability studies since 1994. This article is the author’s discussion of what it means for the user to design on the web. Based upon his findings, paying attention to information seeking habits such as attention span, use of a website’s most important real estate locations, and as you may have guessed, scrolling through, the experience or user-friendliness of the packaged site is more likely to be successful. His examination is an overview of his study’s findings to date and clarifies how very basic visual cues affect the user and their willingness to navigate a website. Nielsen’s study uses several ways of studying information use and seeking on the internet such as eyetracking, anecdotal evidence from study participants, and consideration of cultural differences in left-to-right or vice versa reading in terms formatting vertical instead of horizontal.

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