Maybe I am just an old soul, but to be quite honest I was horrified when skimming over Writer/Designer for the first time this fall. I have always been one of those people who hasn’t cared much for lots of graphics or accessories to web pages or speeches, and knowing there would be no way around it this semester I was worried. But due to our readings I began to pay attention. I began to notice the different ways multimodality influenced my readings, my like, and my dislikes. What I came to realize was even in my dislikes of certain aspects of graphic design or website organization I was subconsciously keen on multimodality. What I realized moving into the final primary source analysis project, was multimodality and incorporating different visual strategies deserve just as much attention as strategies used in the writing itself.
The number one way I noticed this was in our discussion, hearing how different people were planning to layout their exhibit in different ways. During preparation for the final drafts we came to the conclusion each of our projects by nature needed to look differently. There was no way or reason for Zac writing on his Olympic Pen the same way Cody and I were going to write on the MMWR reports. Now I haven’t looked at all of the exhibits up to this point but of the ones I have looked at this has definitely shown. Looking at my and Cody’s reports on the MMWR the images we selected were “academic” to an extent whereas Cameron’s was flooded with pictures from the video to add to his report. I felt all three of our reports were exceptional and judging by their work I assume, like myself, they thought deeply about what strategies to use in laying out their project. In my case I knew I wanted to match the text driven focus of my original document so there are no images in the actual analysis portion, and the only ones present are of the disease itself on the cover page. The point is each of us needed to use multimodality, not just to get a good grade or meet that qualification on the rubric, but to create the best possible exhibit. Instead of searching for multimodality on a web page in the sense of, “Oh where are the pictures?! Oh where are the graphics?! Where is the Video?!” but to realize all documents, webpages, advertisements, or whatever else is multimodal and the real question is simply how well done it is.
The importance of analyzing the multimodal situation is just as important as analyzing the rhetorical situation. There is no way around the fact that in everything we see there is some kind of visual, audible, or other kind of multimodal device at work. This webpage, our textbook, road signs, an album cover, or even an instruction manual all have multimodal arguments at play. I am very thankful for this class not for teaching me some new thing called multimodality, but for opening my eyes to realizing how present it is in our day to day lives.