There is Beauty in Technical Communication

For technical communication to be effective, it MUST be aesthetically pleasing. For something to be aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to have pretty pictures and color. What I am referring to is the organization of the information. Information must be organized in a way that is pleasing and easy for the audience to navigate. Sometimes, that organization includes color and images, but white space and font choices also contribute to the organization and aesthetic appeal of a document.

We find things aesthetically appealing when they create a sense of harmony. Harmony is pleasing to the eye and enjoyable to the audience. Harmony is important in technical communication because it engages the viewer and it creates an inner sense of order, and a balance in the visual experience. If a document is not harmonious, then it can easily become chaotic or boring. A lack of harmony can prevent the reader from being engaged.

Aesthetic appeal is important in every aspect of technical communication, but especially in website design. With a million sites in existence and only a click away, websites have to use aesthetics to capture the short attention span of the audience. Once the they capture the attention of the audience, they have to find ways to use aesthetics to keep their attention.

Aesthetics can make technical communication less effective when they are used incorrectly. If too much color or imagery is used, it can distract the reader from the actual information. The first example that comes to mind is the use of aesthetics in power-points. Power-points usually contain too many unnecessary images and incorrect use of visuals, making it difficult for the viewer to focus on the relevant information.

Technical communication doesn’t always have to be entertaining or fun, but it must always be aesthetically pleasing. Utility and usability go hand in hand with aesthetics, because in order to meet the goals of utility and usability, certain aesthetic guidelines must be met.

4 thoughts on “There is Beauty in Technical Communication”

  1. This was a well-researched and thought-provoking response. You thoroughly considered the question at hand, clearly researched what makes technical communication effective, and explored all of the different aspects of effective use of aesthetics. And, perhaps most importantly, you provided real world and practical applications of these different aspects, which not only made your argument stronger, but made it easier to understand and visualize.

  2. You make a wonderful point about Technical communication. Not everything has to be beautiful and logical in order for it to be presentable. It has to be able to explain your process in a precise order whether or not you choose pretty fonts or pictures. You clearly understand what Technical communication is. Nice post!

  3. I really enjoyed reading your blog post about the beauty in technical communication. After reading the post, the main point that stuck out to me was your definitive response to the prompt posted by Dr. Wharton: Is effective technical communication necessarily aesthetically pleasing or attractive as well? In what kinds of rhetorical situations might aesthetic appeal detract from the effectiveness of technical communication? And lastly, when should we care about creating technical communication that is beautiful, entertaining, fun, etc.?

    In response to those three questions, you sum up your post when you state, “For something to be aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to have pretty pictures and color. What I am referring to is the organization of the information.” I think this is spot on and even makes me reconsider what I thought to be the connection between technical communication and being aesthetically pleasing. I also partially assumed that to be aesthetically pleasing, the communication had to have a level of fun or entertainment. However, when you think about it logically, many forms of communication are not fun or entertaining. Discussing molecular biology or the components of a shipping vessel is not very fun or entertaining but still needs to be constructed so it attracts an engaged audience.

    Your use of the word “harmony” to describe the feeling you should get from effective technical communication is unique, which is why I believe it resonates well with me. Described as the feeling of balance while also “pleasing to the eye and enjoyable to the audience”, I think this is relatable and effective because you want to feel that you were engaged with the message enough to grasp a clear complete understanding of it. Lastly, you discuss how good organization is aesthetically pleasing. Presenting your message in a manner that is easy for the audience to understand, captivating, and properly formatted is the only way to fully educate an audience, cementing the claim that aesthetic appeal and technical communication are essential to each other.

    Overall, good post! Keep up the good work!

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