CDQ Issue 10-1 is now live!

We are happy to announce the latest issue of Communication Design Quarterly (Volume 10 Issue 1) is now live! Investigating Disembodied University Crisis Communications during COVID-19 by Erika Sparby and Courtney Cox Experience Report: Streamlining Complex Website Design Using a

Ethical Deception: Student Perceptions of Diversity in College Recruitment Materials

by Chris Dayley.
The use of images of students from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds in college recruitment materials presents a seemingly difficult dilemma. Should colleges and universities use diversity in recruitment materials to try and attract students from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds even if those images do not accurately represent the amount of diversity at the university? To discover student perceptions relating to this question, I used a mixed-methods approach in which I surveyed 117 students and then interviewed 10 survey participants. Survey and interview questions were based on utilitarian versus deontological ethics with an emphasis on whether exaggerating diversity in recruitment materials is ethl. The results of this exploratory study showed that most students believe using a disproportionate amount of diversity in recruitment materials is unethical. Student participants who identified as a person from an underrepresented racial/ethnic group indicated that it is unethical to exaggerate diversity in recruitment materials at a higher percentage than their white counterparts. This is likely because people from underrepresented backgrounds face a much higher risk of harm from misleading recruitment materials than their white peers.

Digital Humanities and Technical Communication Pedagogy: A Case and a Course for Cross-Program Opportunities

by Brian Ballentine
Technical communication instructors, especially those with expertise in visual rhetoric, information design, or multimedia writing are well-suited to teach an introductory Digital Humanities (DH) course. Offering a DH course provides an opportunity to reach extrafield audiences and work with students from a variety of humanities disciplines who may not have the option of taking such a course in their home department. The article advocates for a DH course that offers a methods-driven pedagogy that engages students with active learning by requiring them to research, dissect, and report on existing DH projects, as well as work with existing datasets and methods from prior student research projects or existing DH tools. The sample student project reviewed here uses the data visualization software ImagePlot, and discussion includes how the student used the tool to examine changes in brightness, hue, and color saturation, as well as calculate the total number of distinct shapes from 397 comic book covers. Ultimately, the students are tasked with developing a research question and moving to an articulated methods-driven approach for exploring the question. The student project along with the tools and sample datasets available with them are treated as a module that may be included in an introductory DH course syllabus or training session.

Experience Report: Streamlining Complex Website Design Using a Content Audit Selection Heuristic

by Amanda Altamirano and Sonia H. Stephens.
In this project experience report, we describe our experience working as researchers specializing in technical communication that informed the risk communication decisions for an interdisciplinary, grant-funded, risk communication website called HazardAware. We first discuss how content audits serve as a website design research method. Next, we provide our Content Audit Selection heuristic in a process flowchart format to enable communicators to understand how practical application of content audits serve as a formative tool to streamline the decision-making processes for complex website design content. Finally, we describe how we used the Content Audit Selection heuristic to inform the risk communication decisions for HazardAware.

Investigating Disembodied University Crisis Communications during COVID-19

by Erika Sparby and Courtney Cox.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us many weaknesses in crisis communication, especially at universities where campus communities are often rendered as disembodied monoliths. In this article, we select a case example from our own institution to show that when bodies are erased from university crisis communication, power imbalances are reinscribed that render campus community members powerless. Using a critical feminist methodology, we end with several suggestions for more inclusive embodied institutional crisis messaging.