Situating New Media Texts:

A Practical Approach to the Rhetorical Situation and Usability Testing

New media texts have broadened the types of discourse that technical communicators are able to create, but the use of these texts is sometimes overlooked. Conventional approaches to usability testing may also not directly respond to the nature of these complex representations of information. Rhetorical theories can help technical communicators deal with these issues, but, unfortunately, they are seldom presented in a pragmatic manner relevant to our contemporary contexts.

My defense will discuss how heuristic analysis based on the rhetorical situation can be used to identify rich contextual information that might otherwise be overlooked. This approach can supplement existing usability testing methods and provide technical communicators with a model that can also be useful during the documentation planning process. My research has shown that theory can be applied in practical ways if scholars are willing to develop models and example case studies that allow others to have a rhetorical advantage in their communication practices.

Master's Project Report

Defense Slides

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