Comment on Ellen’s Post 2: “The Perception and Placement of Truth”

Ellen’s Post 2: “The Perception and Placement of Truth”

Ellen and I seem to be on the same page in our skepticism regarding Phil Renaud’s claim that changing fonts directly led to better grades. Errol Morris outlines some basic statistics behind Renaud’s claim; but, like Ellen, I need to see more studies that could replicate these results in order to determine if there is something to Renaud’s claim or if what happened was an anomaly. I’m most interested to see if people assign greater credibility to one font over another. Can font selection influence what someone perceives to be true simply because that information is communicated using that font? This question is certainly worth pursuing.

I further agree with Ellen that the subject of footnotes and endnotes on the Web  is a complicated one. Perhaps the best way to get around those pesky interruptions in reading flow that seem to distress so many people is to adopt the Marco Arment technique. Readers simply tap once for the popup note to appear and then tap again to make it disappear. But, as Ellen suggests, the presentation format for these notes is what matters. She is correct in highlighting Prof. Petrik’s cautionary discussion of getting the notes “right” on the Web because they, as Prof. Petrik rightly argues, represent that critical “breadcrumb trail” that lends power to our historical arguments. I intend to use notes on my Web site project for the class, and I want to be sure that I can do two things: (1) maintain the reading flow for all users and (2) carefully capture the sources and evidence behind my assertions so that my arguments are convincing. This effort could prove challenging, though.

Lastly, I think Ellen’s portfolio Web site looks great. Very impressive! I’m glad she shared it.

Steve Rusiecki

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