This post is about texts and how we can understand their “messages” better if we consider more than just the words that are used.
You will find that there are lots of different types of text. When we look at written texts it is useful to look at the features and think about why those particular features have been used. The use of different features can make texts more fit for their purpose by affecting how we understand them.
The Prezi shown below on “Text features and purposes” is a reminder of some important text features and text purposes.
Here we are talking about written texts but visual texts, that we will look at in the next section, share features and purposes with written texts.
You will see lots of other descriptions that apply to texts the Wordle below includes some of them.
Visual texts are those that rely a lot on images to get their message across. This doesn’t mean they have no words! Some visual texts don’t have any words but many are a blend (mixture) of words and image – the Prezi you have just looked at is one of these. The words don’t have to be written – a video is an audio-visual text.
This Voki is a very simple audio-visual text.
Some texts may be wholly visual – these include symbols, icons and logos. However most visual texts are a mixture of text and images (graphics).
Visual texts have some special features that can help us understand their meaning (the message they are sending).
Layout – the position, size, colour and shape of both text and images on the page. Checkout this student project at LinkQuest for a look at colour and its effects on us.
Images – what sort of images are included: symbols, pictures, other graphics. What feelings do they give us.
Text – what font is used, where is the text placed, what do the words say, what feelings do the words give us.
When we look at a visual text we often have an instant “feeling” about the meaning, but we need to be able to put this into words so that we can describe the effect the text might have on other people.
The words used in any text and they way the text looks – including visuals is very important to understanding the text. Knowing some of the “tricks” that creators use in their texts helps YOU to understand what the creator is trying to say. It also helps YOU not to be “fooled” by the creator who is secretly trying to make us think the same way as they do.
Another useful thing about understanding how the words and look of a text make YOU feel is that this helps YOU to create your own texts that can make people feel how YOU want them to feel.