Summary 5: Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments

The title of this Article is Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments written by Mary Hocks. There are  two main topics of her article one is how visual rhetoric operate in academic hypertexts. The other one is the three key terms of Visual Digital Rhetoric: audience stance, transparency, and hybridity and how each effects the transformative process. Analyzing the three terms/ hypertexts on the article Monitoring Order and the television program Xena The Warrior Princess.

Visual Rhetoric also known as visual strategies is used for meaning and persuasion, its importance amplified by visual and interactive hypertext and media writing. Hypertext( non-sequential) writing is defined as the underlying concept defining the structure of the world wide web. For example, professional Anne Wysocki created a hypertext titled Monitoring Order and professional Christine Boese crafted a hypertext titled  ” The Ballad of the Internet Nutball”. Another example, is a website on the theater performance topic of colorblind produced by Spellman college students enrolled in a Shakespeare course.  Hock stated that by putting their work on the web, the students were creating ” New Knowledge For A Real Audience”. Also, since the appearance of hypertext and other new media it’s difficult to separate words from visuals or privilege one over the other

Audience Stance refers to the interaction of the audience with the online piece of writing and Aristotelian concept of ethos; the audience can effect the audience interaction with the website. Transparency refers to the way in which  the outline writing resembles the culturally familiar scenes with their own conventions. Which includes print, graphic, design, film, and web pages. Hybridity refers to the way online writing mingles visual and verbal elements in its overall presentation. Which can be the aesthetic response in online writers and in audience.  For example, Boese does a ethnography and analysis of the fans and cult like dedication to the television program Xena the Warrior Princess. She describes the audience stance as the opening screen though music, images, text, and hypertext structures.

Boese creates ethos that is engaged insider, co-participant, and scholarly investigator, that assumes an engaged online audience of fans. She also refers to the audience fans as the ” co-authors”. Her visual strategies are also important to her argument used to motivate and engage in the online culture called the Xenoverse. Yet Boese interface design is not very transparent offering an unfamiliar multidimensional structure, which takes advantage of non-linear hypertexual form. Using multiple frames, linking strategies, and multiple media. Bouese uses several forms of navigation like a  picture of Gabriele ( who is one the main characters and sidekick to Xena) that leads to the narrative reading texts.

Hocks demonstrates she knows that she addressing a knowledgeable professional audience. She begins her article by addressing the recently scholarly emphasis on ” the central role of the visual rhetoric for writers”. She also takes into account recent scholarly work that tries to combine rhetoric with hypertext by authors like Gary h. and Patricia Sullivan.




Hocks, Mary E. ” Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments”. College composition and Communication 54.4 ( June 2013): 629-56. web. 5 March 2016.