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Rhetorical Awareness and User-Centered Design


This resource explains the two dominant ideas in professional writing that will help you produce persuasive, usable résumés, letters, memos, reports, white papers, etc. This section outlines the concepts of rhetorical awareness and user-centered design, provides examples of these ideas, and it contains a glossary of terms.

Contributors:Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2013-07-11 07:05:02

In the last twenty years, two important ideas have developed that help professionals compose effective workplace writing:

Rhetorical Awareness

The idea of rhetorical awareness for workplace writing includes the following concepts:

Through rhetorical awareness, professional communication has shifted from a genre-based approach, which focused on learning and reproducing forms or templates of documents, to thinking about the goals and situations surrounding the need to write. While professional writing still uses reports, white papers, etc., authors should approach these texts considering the rhetorical situation rather than considering documents as isolated work.

User-Centered Design


The idea of user-centered design includes the following concepts:

By adopting user-centered design, workplace writing focuses on the expectations, goals, situations, and needs of the readers. Closely related to user-centered design is participatory design, which aligns users with designers in a collaborative relationship.

See our Audience Analysis handout for more information on researching your readers.

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