Katz Chapter 4 Response

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Katz uses grids, tax forms, sports scores, prescription drug leaflets, voting ballots, and other documents to demonstrate both correct and incorrect examples of organization, proximity, and hierarchy. Much of the discussion here echoes the ideas put forth in Kress and Van Leeuwen's chapter, "The Meaning of Composition" from their book Reading Images. Katz explains the concept of organization as providing structure to information so the user can intuitively and quickly grasp the meaning of the graphic. The grid and IRS form are examples that illustrate the importance of utilizing white space to set off disparate variables within a document. The concept of proximity is shown through the sports score lines and a table of contents page. The relationship between the number and its corresponding variable (team name, chapter title, etc.) are explained by Katz. Proximity refers to the distance between "groups of text" and the tendency to "group like with like" (119). Designers should understand how using flush left-flush right justification can impact the visual relationship between segmented text. As for the concept of hierarchy, Katz applies the example of a medical leaflet to show how different font sizes and headings affect the priority of information being displayed. Hierarchy is similar to saliency in that both refer to font characteristics and dictate which elements of the document are most important.

Link to example that violates good document design: http://psychocarol.blogspot.com/2009/09/document-design.html
The image in Figure 1 titled, "Dell Printer Owner's Manual," fails in the areas of organization and proximity. Specifically, the illustrations are not located next to each step in the process. The illustrations serve to reinforce the user's understanding of the written steps. For each step, the written text should be accompanied by an illustration to the right.

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