A long time ago, I had a professor who walked into a classroom for the first time, threw down his book, and proffered one, simple question: “What is rhetoric?”
The phones in the classroom came out, and with them, came the Googled responses.
“The art of persuasion” answered someone from behind me.
“No.” he responded.
“The language of persuasion!” crowed another.
“Nope. Wrong again.”
The Googling continued, and the answers kept missing the mark. Finally, after a long pause, the instructor said:
“Look at the room. How is it arranged? What does that say to you?”
Dead silence. This was a thing… eh… “unGoogleable”.
“The room is rhetorically arranged to amplify the arrangement of power” he said, simply.
“All chairs are facing one table. That one table is facing you, and it’s larger than all the others. The clock is behind you, but facing me. The rhetoric of that arrangement demands that you look here…” he said, and then pointed to the clock, “...not there.”
From that moment on, my perspective of writing, and the context of that writing within the rhetoric of arrangement… made perfect sense.
Content that convinces, influences, and clinches the sale is only effective where it is seen, and at the time it’s intended to be seen. That was the lesson. And it’s one that carries well into the world of content creation that serves to bolster your online brand.
But when developing a website, app, or other online element, what works best? What guides those decisions? How does the user interact with those arrangements, and what does that interaction evoke? How do developers make those determinations?
In order to understand how the rhetoric of arrangement plays into your web design, it’s important to understand what your customers (or future customers) expect walking in. Meeting those expectations first is a bit of a trick in itself. When you “open up shop” online, you are not just calling out to your customers and inviting them into your space. These days, to be effective, you are actively chasing them down where they live, eat, and work. You are calling them into your digital space, which, like a living room with a low coffee table on a drunk-night, can bark their shins and piss them off if arranged incorrectly. Not exactly an experience that instills their confidence.
So the primary focus is going to ensure that your rhetorical arrangement meets the navigational expectations of your target demographic. What they find when they get there, and how smooth and user friendly the platform is… this focus is job one. The UX/UI (user experience/user interface) research that governs every good developer's approach is going to be attentive to that arrangement.
Graphics that are not overtly verbose. Clear, direct and targeted text. Carefully constructed SEO integrations that help customers find you through various search engines. All those transitions and all the development that goes into them are the result of careful, targeted research that knows your clients, and delivers what they are looking for. The immediate messaging, how and when it’s presented, and the specific syntactical, semantic, and overall written rhetorical approach determines whether or not they engage once they get to you.
The entire project, from start to finish–be it an app, website or other platform, is designed to lead the user into a “look here… not there” rhetoric.
So–without Googling the answer–we can assure you that effective rhetoric doesn’t simply involve well-written text. It also means the right message, presented the right way, at the right time in the user experience.
In today's digital age, creating a captivating online presence isn't merely about aesthetics or functionality in isolation; it's a harmonious blend of both. As a leading Michigan web design firm, we at Hierographx understand the nuances of this delicate balance. Our expertise stretches beyond creating content or designing interfaces. We craft bespoke digital experiences that resonate with your audience, ensuring that every touchpoint is a memorable one. With Hierographx by your side, you're not just building a website or an app; you're orchestrating a digital symphony that captivates, persuades, and converts. Let's shape the future of your digital journey together.