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Kerr, "Instructional Text" (abstract)

  • Stephen T. Kerr. "Instructional Text: The Transition from Page to Screen." Visible Language 20 (1986): 368-92.

The difference in physical form between printed and electronic texts creates certain problems for users and creators of electronic texts. Kerr locates these problems in two areas: design of the surface and design of the interface. Surface design involves typography, layout, artwork, the quality of language, and users' responses to these aspects of a text. Interface design involves the structure of textual elements and includes the problem of "wayfinding," that is, how users navigate through a text. Kerr provides a detailed survey of similarities and differences in the surface design and interface design of printed and electronic texts, drawing broadly on current research in document design, human-factors engineering, and human-computer interaction. He concludes that the wayfinding problem merits further investigation, particularly research into the way users conduct searches, how users conceptualize the "shape" of a text, and how best to introduce new users to electronic text environments. (Sarah Wadsworth.)
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Michael Hancher

Department of English, University of Minnesota

URL: http://umn.edu/home/mh/ebibsw1.html

Comments to: mh@umn.edu

Created 29 April 1995

Last revised 17 September 1996