Visual and written texts

One thing that you might have noticed when you were doing your web searches was the way in which web pages make use of a combination of visual and written material in order to present their message. This is obviously one important way in which web pages differ from more traditional published texts, which often rely rather heavily on the written word. When you come to write your assignments you may also find yourself using a combination of text and visual elements. Look back to the example of collaborative writing in the case study at the beginning of this chapter. The writers relied on photographs to do a lot of the work that one might normally expect writing to do. Because they used a picture of the square they did not need to use the written text to describe the scene in as much detail. The words and the photograph worked together to create the background for the collaborative assignment. When you use visuals you may be able to rely on the visual to do some of the work that writing would normally do, but you cannot necessarily assume that the visual will be immediately obvious to the reader any more than the writing. Verbal and visual elements always work together in a text to enhance understanding.

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