Design Idea File 1

Analyze an image of your choice according to Chapter 1 of your textbook by answering this question: how does the image elicit an emotional impression about the author (ethos) and the user’s feelings (pathos)?

“How to: Stop a Soda Can From Fizzing Over” by Saloni Dhawan, Instructional Illustrations.

This is an illustration by Saloni Dhawan called, “How to: Stop a Soda Can From Fizzing Over”. It is part of a larger collection of illustrations, all providing instructions on how to complete certain tasks. Most of the tasks are comical in nature, such as how to win an argument with a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors or how to make important life decisions by flipping a coin. However, I am impressed with the document design the author employed throughout all their illustrations, especially this one.

First and foremost, I find the drawn illustrations to be visually attractive and easily understood. None of the lines in the illustrations are muddled or overly decorative, so the process they convey seems unambiguous and attainable. In other words, I believe I could complete the task based on the illustrations even if the written instructions were removed.

I also find the entire image to be well-executed in its order of importance. The title and purpose are clearly presented, but do not take the main focus of the illustration. The instructional steps and images take up the majority of the image’s focus and are clear, concise, and usable. The supplementary information, “How It Works”, is included for users who may be interested but not placed in a location of priority, as to not obstruct users from accomplishing the task.

Eliciting Pathos

A user interested in opening a can of soda carefully is not looking for extensive instructions. This illustration caters well to the needs and feelings of the user by keeping the instructions short and the images clear and centered. The additional information as to why a soda can may overflow and why the method of prevention works is put off to the right, as this is less necessary to a user in the moment he or she needs help.

The main focus of the illustration is to cater to the user’s immediate needs by showing how to stop a can from fizzing over in simple, easy-to-follow images and instructions; this would be called pathos. The supplementary information is only there for those who might be curious after the fact.

Eliciting Ethos

I do believe that this set of instructions has strong ethos because as I read through the section on why soda cans tend to fizz over, I was impressed with the author’s thorough yet clear explanation. Not only is the explanation backed by scientific reasoning about nucleation and liquid displacement, it is written in plain language so that all audiences can understand why the carbonation in soda sometimes causes a drink to overflow.

The language doesn’t come off as demeaning or judgmental either, so a user doesn’t feel as if the author is there to “put down” the user for not knowing how to stop a soda can from fizzing over. The user can trust the author to have his or her best interest in mind. This would be another way this set of instructions appeals to the user’s feelings while also eliciting a positive emotional impression of the author, establishing both pathos and ethos.