Rhetorical Awareness and UCD with Wikipedia

Wikipedia: Wikipedia is a great source of information, given it is the online encyclopedia. Wikipedia-logo-en-big.pngWhen I’m in search for some quick information on a subject, for example, the New York Giants, Wikipedia is a great place to find this information. Information on Wikipedia is easily organized, displayed, and conveyed to the reader. The reader can easily find what they are looking for without having to intensely search for it.

Rhetorical Awareness: Wikipedia does a good job in considering the rhetorical situation of its pages. The rhetorical situation includes the following four key concepts; purpose, audience, stakeholders, and context. Purpose is the goal of the document or writing. The purpose of Wikipedia’s writing is to easily and quickly inform the reader of information on a certain subject. Audience is who will be viewing or reading the document. Wikipedia knows who will be reading what documents, and it does a good job in writing for that specific audience.

Stakeholders are anyone affected by the document. Wikipedia’s stakeholders can include their investors and owners. Context is the background or situation in which the document is created. The context for Wikipedia is to inform and provide information to people. Wikipedia does a good job in addressing these four concepts in all their documents and pages. By doing this, all of Wikipedia’s pages are persuasive.

User Centered Design: When creating a document or piece of writing, you must always consider and think about your audience. Wikipedia does a great job in considering its audience. Wikipedia knows its audience’s expectations, characteristics, and goals. Also, Wikipedia considers the context of its audience very well. This means they know when and in what situation the reader needs certain information.

Document Design: The design of Wikipedia makes it the best place to find information. The design is easy to navigate. There is a clear table of contents, visible section headers and page numbers, informative headings, and a well-formatted index and bibliography. The white background and black text make it easy to read. The design of Wikipedia pages makes it easy to find and understand information.

Information Design: Wikipedia makes it easy to understand information by the way it lays out its information. The pages start with general information regarding the specific topic, and then move to more specific information. There are executive summaries about the specific topic on the tops of pages. The paragraphs also move from general to more specific. Overall, Wikipedia makes it easy for its information to be understood because of its design and layout.

Sentence Design: The sentence structure and design also makes it easy for the reader to understand. Wikipedia does not dumb down its sentence structure and wording, but rather communicates the audience’s needs precisely. When Wikipedia uses complex words or ideas, they will provide a glossary or link to allow the reader to better understand.

Audiences: Wikipedia’s audience is different for each of the different documents it has published. It can be argued that everyone is part of an audience for Wikipedia. Whether it is students or teachers in search for information for school, a business manager in search for information on a large corporation, or just someone in search for sports information, Wikipedia has it all.

Overall, Wikipedia does an excellent job in conveying information to its readers in an organized and easy to understand manner.

 

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7 thoughts on “Rhetorical Awareness and UCD with Wikipedia

  1. Tyler,

    I love using Wikipedia. While its not an “academic” source or anything that you’d want to base a research or academic paper off of, it’s a great resource when your beginning to dive into a top. The overall information that each Wikipedia page provides along with sources sited that were used to write the pages make it easy to get a overview of the topic and create a plan to begin more in depth research.

    1. I agree. Of course, I do not use Wikipedia as my main source for research. It is however, a great place to begin to get background information on a specific subject. What I use Wikipedia mostly for is when I am interested in some sort of information to settle an argument with friends or to find sports information, or historical information not related to school work.

  2. Tyler,
    I think that when considering the realm of academia, Wikipedia has a sort of taboo on it. Of course I wouldn’t use it as a source in my own academics, but it is still a perfect source for a fast and relatively thorough synopsis on essentially any topic. I visit this site all the time, it is my go to when I just need to quickly refresh on a topic or get a good idea on a new topic. It is perfect to get a good idea on a topic as well before doing more in depth research.

    1. I agree exactly. I never use it as a main source for academics. But it is pretty much my primary source for information when I need it quickly and efficiently. I also always use it in my leisure time to find any information I’m curious about.

  3. Hey Tyler,

    I too decided to write about Wikipedia because its use of user-centered design is great. Wikipedia knows their audience extremely well and bases their web pages off of the audience’s needs and desires. Wikipedia is a great spot to start research on a topic, and always leads you to more credible sites. The simplicity featured on all of Wikipedia’s pages makes it so easy to navigate and locate relevant information.

  4. Hey Tyler,

    As you said wikipedia does a great job of presenting its information in a way that is easy to understand for everybody, something that is extremely important seeing as they really have no specific audience, because lets face it..everybody uses wikipedia. I agree with you that what makes the site so great is how they present the information in a very organized manner with their table of contents that allows users to jump straight to the information they are looking for, which is what makes it unique..one doesn’t have to read the whole document to get to and grasp the information as in so many other sites that pop up in google searches.

  5. Hi Tyler,
    I think Wikipedia is a great site to learn new information on pretty much any topic you are interested in. The site provides a well-written analysis of summary and includes all the information you could hope for about a topic. They also outline it in a way that makes finding your subject very easy.
    Thanks,

    Cole Buller

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